Posted in Gaming

Steam Gaming: Raft

I know I haven’t been posting much here lately – some of that has to do with the amount of work IRL that’s been ramping up. But much of it is simply I’m in a pretty standard holding pattern in FFXIV right now. I do my daily stuff, help a few folks out with their stuff, and that’s really not much to write about.

However, I have been starting to poke my head into other Steam games lately. And I’d like to get back to writing about the games I’ve been trying out. So let me start by talking about Raft.

Yesterday, I wasn’t really in the mood to MMO. I was looking for a game that Syn and I could co-op, but was more of a casual vein. While I love a good survival/building game, neither of us were in the mood for something that would be a huge investment with a high difficulty hurdle.

After I spent quite a while searching through games on Steam, we decided upon one that we’d never heard of before called Raft.

The concept was interesting.

Trapped on a small raft with nothing but a hook made of old plastic, players awake on a vast, blue ocean totally alone and with no land in sight! With a dry throat and an empty stomach, survival will not be easy!
Raft throws you and your friends into an epic adventure out on the big open sea, with the objective to stay alive, gather resources and build yourself a floating home worthy of survival.

-Raft Steam Page

So, basically, you’re gathering resources — both on the sea and from procedurally generated islands you run across — and building a base on your raft. Now, the catch is — there’s always a shark lurking nearby (apparently the community has named him Bruce). And from time to time, Bruce will take a chunk out of your raft… and out of you if you venture off the raft for too long.

There are ways to fend off the shark and eventually make your raft shark-proof. But that requires time and learning. Just like with any survival game, you have to figure out how to use the resources you’re given to progress.

In this case, you have to learn how to obtain food and purify sea water. Eventually, you can grow your own food – but that brings the danger of sea gulls who swoop in to eat what you’ve planted. So you have to figure that out, too!

Syn and I put in about three and a half hours yesterday, going into the game pretty blind. Thankfully, the game has several difficulty options — we decided to go on the Easy mode where you didn’t drop items on death and food/water didn’t deteriorate as badly. I think we made a good choice (and I was super happy for the options!) because there was a lot to learn and take in at the beginning.

I’m trying to stay away from too many spoilers, but I know from some of the things I’ve glanced at that we’ve hardly scratched the tip of what this game has to offer. There’s a storyline to follow, apparently lots of huge islands out there to explore, dangerous wild creatures to fight…

Additionally, the game is not a huge download – it only took about 10 mins on my machine. And multiplayer worked flawlessly through the Steam friends list. No fighting to get a server up for people to join — if you start a game on your machine and indicate friends can hop in, then they can see your game. You can also set a password if needed.

Unlike more process-devouring games (ARK, 7D2D), my computer hosted the game without any issues, and I could save the world at any time. It seems that you can create several worlds, too, if you want to play solo game or if you want to have separate games for different friend groups.

The graphics aren’t anything super realistic or revolutionary, but they have a pleasing aesthetic. Overall, despite Bruce the shark, Syn and I both found the game to be pretty relaxing. I’m sure on a higher difficulty level, that might not be the case. But for now, we’re just cruising along building our raft and discovering new things as we go.

For a $20 blind-purchase, I think we really picked a gem. I’m surprised I’ve never heard of this game before!