What would you do if you were suddenly stranded on a desert island? Make a campfire? Find food? Well, the 2015 game Stranded Deep sought to answer these questions and has now arrived on Nintendo Switch. Stranded Deep is a survival game developed by Australian team Beam Team Games, and sees the main character survive a plane crash but become stranded on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean. To survive various tropical terrors, you must craft various items/weapons, as well as explore other islands, in order to figure out your plan for a deadly escape.
The transfer over to the Nintendo Switch is wonderful. Visually, it looks vibrant during the daytime segments, with the initial island resembling a stereotypical tropical paradise: palm trees with coconuts fence the mainland, crabs wander across the white sandy beaches and fish aplenty can be found underneath the picturesque blue ocean. Night-time is dark to the point where it becomes pitch black, forcing the player to sleep/save in their island-made shelter. This particular mechanic was a simple one yet effective: as the days pass, night-time would occur, so I liked that the night-time is when the game encourages the player to save. Saves are sparse and need to be used effectively, as sleeping is the only way to guarantee your progress is maintained. Planning out foraging routes and being unable to sleep in time is particularly thrilling as the main quest unfolds.
Oftentimes, survival games can be subject to clunky menus and offputting U.I. Stranded Deep does get this right with a compact, easy-to-navigate inventory system. Some tasks require the player to chop down trees or hunt fish for food, and these sometimes must be done quickly so the controls complement these actions perfectly. Stranded Deep revels in crafting and creativity, and it fantastically teaches the basic mechanics in an easy-to-understand way. After that, it’s up to the player on how they want to approach their days in this new and strange land. The crafting map has a lot of options to pick from, but the way in which each item must be crafted is always present when the option is picked.
Stranded Deep is a little repetitive, especially after a few days/cycles in-game, due to its premise. On that same coin, it has to be repetitive to help the player level up their skills and eventually be able to explore the other islands. Personally, I found myself losing interest due to the amount of time that needs to be invested in leveling up and unlocking new crafting skills. I did also encounter a few bugs within the first hour of the game, including crabs glitching through the sand and rocks, and a particularly interesting one where an error message appeared, saying I had to be connected to the internet to save.
Six years after its initial release, Stranded Deep has rafted its way into portable gaming, and it’s a nice, slow-paced game. The visuals are beautiful and vibrant, and the controls are extremely responsive. Furthermore, the main aspect of gameplay, the crafting, is easy to understand despite seeming overwhelming at first. But the gameplay is also repetitive at times, so this won’t appeal to everyone. If you’re wanting a slow-paced survival game on the go, then Beam Team Games have covered your next adventure.