RedBeet Interactive’s “Raft”

A Survival Game Worthy of Sinking

Peaceful gaming describes my gaming style. Hence, the title “Peaceful Gamer.” Steam seemed to recognize this, and therefore recommended RedBeet Interactive’s “Raft.” I bit the bait. Hoping it had more relation to “My Time in Portia” than it first appeared to have, I bought the game and downloaded the content.

Three to four hours after starting and playing the game, I walked away upset, tense, and slightly seasick. And I had set the difficulty level on Peaceful, the second easiest level of six difficulty levels.

Top Three Reasons to Abandon the Raft

Before having purchased the game, I had checked on two different reviews. One spoke about how horribly tedious the game played, the gamer repeating certain activities every two to five minutes. The other reviewer wrote about finding enjoyment in the repetition. Knowing how much I enjoyed the repetition in farming games, I decided to give “Raft” a try. I regretted my decision for these three reasons:

  1. The hook, the most essential item in “Raft,” refused to draw in vital items at various points in the surrounding sea.
  2. The hunger and hydration meters run out too quickly.
  3. Motion sickness, moodiness, and frustration followed the game’s “relaxed” setting, the Peaceful Setting.

Please don’t assume my inexperience in the game world was the pure motivator behind my decision to drop the game! I admit to my inexperience having made the few hours of play more difficult. But I honestly believe RedBeet Interactive should have worked a lot more on the game before moving the “Raft” to the market, even as an Early Access game. Allow me to expand on the points made above:

Difficult Game Mechanics in “Raft”

Using a hook to draw in items was a very clever and unique idea. Stranded on a very small raft, the character used the hook to draw in plastic containers, boards, potatoes, ropes, palm leaves, and more. These items created essential tools for the character to survive out in the middle of the ocean. In playing my character, it seemed like a fun and easy concept. Up until….the items refused to draw in.

This I blame on the game mechanics. Can I tell my readers specifically what went wrong? No, sadly, I cannot. However, when the items reached a certain point in passing the gamer’s raft, the hook proved useless. This surprised me for the game being set on Peaceful, a simple level. So, I can only assume the game developers intentionally blocked me from some items, barrels and such that should have been within my reach.

I can appreciate the attempt to use gravitational and motion laws as found in the real world. But there comes a point where a game should have a greater founding in fantasy than in reality. Please, let me catch the barrel! These difficult game mechanics led to the second problem I had with the survival game.

When Incapacitation Sets In

Passing out from thirst and hunger only makes sense. But the speed in which the two elements run out in Peaceful mode – again, the second easiest mode – is ridiculously quick. Allow me to explain what had to progress in the game before the gamer reached the point where survival was less crucial….

The game starts, on Peaceful Mode, with the gamer’s character on a very small raft with nothing but a hook. With this hook, the character draws in any and every item within the hook’s reach. Using these items, the gamer opens the character’s inventory to craft his or her necessary survival tools and items, such as a water purifier, a cup, a fishing pole, and a grill.

Well, as the gamer does this, his or her character’s hunger and hydration meter goes down rapidly. By the second day, his or her health begins to also rapidly decline. For this particular Peaceful Gamer, I had just made my purifier, my grill, my fishing pole, and my cup when I fainted and became incapacitated. No other option existed, other than to “Surrender and Respawn.” I WAS FURIOUS.

Which leads my readers to the final reason to JUMP OFF THE RAFT.

Seasickness from Gaming REALLY EXISTS

The queasiness I experienced when I finally turned off the game seemed more a result from hypochondria than an actual upset stomach. However, “Raft” has a natural swaying motion that actually can induce motion sickness. Or, so I assumed, once I saw the motion sickness inhibitor button in the settings.

Eating my whole dinner became an impossibility due to the motion sickness I experienced after the game. Moodiness and frustration dominated the Peaceful setting. And the saddest part about my experience with the game? I had started four or five different games, all on Peaceful Mode, just so I could get the hang of the mechanics and have half a chance of surviving, not surrendering and respawning. In the end, it was a futile effort.

Final Thoughts on “Raft”

If you had read this article in the hope of learning about well-made game controls, then I’m sorry. The “Raft” swayed so much, doing simple tasks on the structure proved difficult. It seemed to have many of the same controls as “My Time in Portia,” with I as inventory, E as action, and WASD as movement. But even moving in the game was difficult, so I spent little time considering it.

Overall, I recommend my gaming readers to find a different game, especially those who like relaxing and simple games. If my reader likes a challenge, and actively participates in working with other game developers, then this game may interest you. It is another Early Access game, and can be found on the game launcher, Steam.

Otherwise, please, stay on dry land!