Genre: Survival / Sandbox / Open World
Developer: Behemia Interactive
Gamemode: Singleplayer / Multiplayer / Coop
The beautified Minecraft game with smoothened block graphics is a building and exploration game that generates a different world each time you start a game. You will start out to choose your game mode and if you choose explore you'll be a castaway on an island and have to build up everything from scratch. There is plenty of food on every island but you should not leave your little survivor long alone without giving him anything to eat. Cooking seems to improve the effect of the food a lot. Later on when you go exploring by ship you should also prepare for it with a lot of food, because finding islands is a matter of immense luck.
Crafting benches and other useful things might not pop up at the crafting menu till you are carrying the materials to craft them. After dropping any item like for example a wall for house building you can remove this items for a minute or two and get all materials back or the complete item by just picking it back up. Seems that everything ingame is destructible except to your ship, or at least it is pretty hard to destroy it. With a shovel you can flatten the terrain, with a pickaxe you can remove stone and with an axe you can chop trees down. To start crafting at any oven or furnace you'll need to hold the fuel in your hands to add it to the oven and then lighten it with a lighter. The lighter can be crafted by flint. Clay, flint and metal can be found everywhere as small different colored patches on the ground. A torch will not only provide light, but also warmth.
You will need fur armor to go exploring the arctic areas. If you build a ship you can drop a bed and shelter on your ship so that you can skip the night and bad weather. Build a paper press and craft a map before you go exploring with your ship. The boat goes on by itself as long as you brought the sails up. The islands do not only offer you different plants and some rare loot, they also got some caves that will have even gold ore. Be careful and prepare well before you head into the caves, because the cave systems are huge and mostly dark. Secrets can be hidden under water or in caves or just in some random places around the islands, but some chests will be locked. Collect sand to create glass at the kiln and coal to fuel your furnace. Saltpeter is used for gunpowder. Sulfur you'll need to create cars. Some items can only be placed by activating the free placement mode by pressing E and holding it in your hand.
You can also tame a horse in this game by feeding them with grass. It first turns friendly and then you get offered to name it. Whistling will bring it back to you when it went off. But be careful, horses can also throw you off. With an alchemy table workbench you can brew potions by mixing magic blossoms with plants like the Snapdragon or Echinacea or Desert Sage plant, berries, fruit, spinach, mushrooms, corals, bone dust or grain. Seems dirt is pretty useless in this game so you might want to just destroy it. Plants will give you seeds if you break them down in your inventory or collect them with an axe. Be careful with sand in water, if you destroy sand you might get some ugly holes in the water surface, they won't fill up with water.
The performance is not bad, but still not perfect in this game. We may not forget about the early access status of the game. But the performance should be fine as long as you aren't on water or did build too much, then you might have some short jittering sometimes. The few bugs you'll discover get fixed fast and are not really effecting the game play a lot. The music is totally relaxing and the graphics are colorful. There are different biomes to explore. The game is pretty much everything that Stranded Deep promised and should have been since years, it even got a multiplayer, just that it got a totally different graphic of course.
We recommend: If you like sandbox building games, buy it!