Stranded Deep

  Let’s face it, with everything going on in todays world, you are probably getting sick and tired of being stuck at home because of the shelter in place orders.  Wouldn’t it be great to just escape the walls of your house and spend your time on a tropical island.  Well your in luck, video games have you covered.  Beam Team has released Stranded Deep, a 1st person survival game that pits you against the environment.

  You are flying in your private plane when there is a catastrophic accident causing the plane to crash.  Within the first few moments you will have to escape the submerged wreckage and find a life raft.  Once you secure a raft, you must make your way to a nearby island.  Your raft contains enough rations for 3 days, but if you are going to survive past that, you will have to learn to survive.

  The game offers a brief tutorial in the basics of island life, and there are some hints when you load into the game.  Within a few minutes you will learn how to get food, make a fire, and build a shelter.  From there you will have to figure out how to build a home, more efficient ways to hunt and fish, and how to construct a raft that will allow you to safely travel from one island to another to gather the materials to get home.

  Your main enemy in the game is your basic needs.  You will have to make sure that you are fed and well hydrated if you want to survive.  A lot of your time will be spent devising ways to meet these needs.  Once you have that secured, you will have to battle nature.  Islands are surrounded by waters that are filled with poisoned eels, sharks, and many other deadly creatures.  But the waters are also filled with riches.  Sunken and beached ships hold some of the best items in the game.  You just must be willing to risk your life as you dive through the wrecks to get the good stuff.

  When you start out playing you can customize your game as you want.  Make sharks passive all the way to aggressive.  You can also play on a custom designed seed to tweak the types of islands appear in your game.  Permadeath is even an option for those that want a real challenge.  No matter how you set up your game, you will always start out with the tutorial.  But within 5 minutes you will be off and running on your quest to survive, thrive, and ultimately escape the string of islands and get back home.

  The graphics in the game are good, but there is frequent staggering of colors, especially when you are diving in the water.  There are also clipping issues.  On several islands I have noticed palm trees growing through mountains.  I was able to find the bases, on the edge of the rock, chop down the tree, but not get all of the resources.  There was another occasion when I was hunting a wild pig and when I hit it with the final spear, instead of falling over, it started spinning like a gyroscope and took off flying around me.  After it hit me and did some damage it swirled off into space taking my spears and its life giving meat with it.

  Gameplay is fun and the controls are pretty much on point.  The only thing that can be frustrating is trying to control your boat when rowing or sailing.  Despite being fun to play, there are still some issues with the game.  While it is easy to learn the crafting system, several of the items are more difficult to use than others.  You can craft a tool belt to hold tools and assign them to directions on the D-pad, but there is no explanation as how to assign them.  The Hobo Stove, an oil barrel grill, is just broken.  You can build it, but not actually use it.  I built a raft that I was unable to complete because it spawned upside down.  Hopefully these issues will be addressed in a patch and result in a smoother game.

  Stranded Deep is a solid entry into the 1st person survival genre.  It is not flawless, but a with a few tweaks, it can rise to a whole new level.  If you have never played a survival game, this can be a good introduction with the scalable difficulty levels.  With a price tag of $20, it won’t break the bank, and you will get hours of play from the title.  I easily have 20+ hours into the game and have only been to about 5 islands and haven’t fought any of the beasts of the deep.