First Impressions: Raft

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| March 3, 2021

Have you ever wanted to feel like being stranded in the middle of the ocean? Better yet, do want to feel like you’re in the movie Waterworld? Well, my Kevin Costner enthusiasts, do I have a game for you!

Welcome to Raft: a game that sets you in the middle of the ocean with only a small raft and nothing but a hook to catch resources (or, as I like to call it, Earth’s pollution). The resources that you try to acquire are plastic, leaves, wood, and barrels that hold extra resources for you. You also monitor your health bar at the bottom left of your screen which has your food and water meter. If you get thirsty or hungry, you will lose all energy, and your health bar will start to deteriorate if you don’t find food and water quickly.

Pollution for the win?

In order to survive, you must expand your raft and find ways to get or make drinkable water and food. When I first played, I had no idea what I was doing. It soon dawned on me that in order to keep my health up I would need to become a broke-ass engineer with the resources I collected and actually build water purifiers, plastic cups, and an actual grill to cook fish. When I was able to figure out my food and water problems and get over the “I am the smartest person alive” feeling, I quickly realized that I had another problem on my hands.

The shark. 

The shark was the bane of my existence. The Yoko Ono to my Beatles, the Matt Patricia to my Detroit Lions, and the Nemesis to my Jill Valentine. It is an entity that is CONSTANT in this game and will make you ask, “God WHY?” Gathering my wits, I decided to make a spear from the wood I was able to collect from the ocean. When playing, I noticed that the shark can destroy one square from your raft, and the only way to prevent it from taking out that square is to attack it with the spear.

After my successful fight with “Jaws,” I continued building and adding more to my raft. Making storage bins and crafting a fishing rod for catching food, I was getting the hang of living out in the ocean.

Then I saw it. An ISLAND! 

So much room for activities on that island!

Quickly making a paddle, I was able to make my way onto land with “Jaws” in tow. I discovered that you can collect a selection of watermelons, mangoes, and coconuts as well as collecting their seeds. If there are trees on the island, you can craft yourself a makeshift hatchet and collect wood and, if you’re lucky, more fruits.

After exploring the small island, I noticed that you can collect more resources from the reefs. For example, I found a muffler near the reef and was able to get metal out of it along with clay near rocks.

Of course, it was difficult to get those resources with “Jaws” attacking me constantly, so I had to dip in and dip out of the water.

After scouring through the reefs and dodging a hungry shark like the idiot savant that I am, I was able to collect enough resources and leave the island. Soon after leaving, I figured out that I can craft a blueprint table to make better equipment, like a metal hatchet, a bigger grill to cook larger fish on, or even a makeshift radar to find nearby islands and ships.

“Jaws,” a.k.a. the annoyingly big fish.

Now, I knew from playing this game solo that it wasn’t really all that fun for me unless I wanna bring my stress down for the day. Thankfully, I was able to get Dan (StarkEvilVash) and Brandy (watery_tart19) to join me, and we were able to combine all three of our brains into one functioning adult! (Look out world!)

The co-op aspect of Raft was surprisingly fun! You can load up your world and invite your friends into that world, and they can help you on your adventure as well as progressing in the story.

With the three of us trying to survive, we were able to get the hang of getting food and water instead of fighting over scraps of sustenance. For all of this, had to build more purifiers and grills. One thing that I found out about the “down and out” status is that whenever you’re down, you’re considered “incapacitated,” and your friends can grab your body and place you on a bed in order for you to wake up. Even better, you don’t die and lose EVERYTHING!

I still keep getting drawn back into playing this game.

Once I got a sail up and a flag to figure out which direction the wind was taking us, I would casually try to take us to other islands that we saw on the distant horizon. Like a navy ship with budget cuts, we would drop anchor, explore the islands, collect what resources we can and dip out before “Jaws” made its grand entrance again.

Another mechanic I noticed in this game is that you can build all sorts of shelters on your own raft. You can even build a second deck with stairs and all!

My ship after the budget cuts.

To conclude this conclusion, I’ll conclude that Raft is a lot of fun to play, especially with friends because the game can be a little unforgiving when you are playing alone. When you die, you lose everything you have in your inventory and have to start again collecting resources and crafting tools. 

Speaking of death and mayhem in this game, there’s a glitch that can occur that happened to me while I was on an island and had to log off. When I logged back in the next day, my character was in the drink and drowned! I was forced to start over again because my saved file put me back to where I died. I had to carry on knowing I lost everything.

However, I still enjoyed playing this game and will continue to play it, so I’d say that the replay value of this game is pretty high up there. I still keep getting drawn back into playing this game. I don’t want to give this game a rating yet since it’s still in early access, but I would recommend giving this game a look-see if you’re into survival games!

Have you tried Raft yet? What survival games have you enjoyed? Share your experiences in the comments!


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