Written by Gaming Australia member Adam Smith
Raft is an oceanic survival game developed by Swedish studio Redbeet Interactive and published by Axolot Games. Raft is a survival game set in the perilous ocean, where you start on a small raft with only 4 squares of wood and a hook rope in your hand. From there, you and your friends will gather resources find floating along and collect it in order to use and craft other objects with.
With a dry throat and an empty stomach, survival will not be easy. Apart from gathering ocean debris, you are also able to gather items from small and large islands, as well as scour the underwater reefs for materials. Whilst doing so, you will also have to deal with the never-ending threat of sharks, and other animals that want to kill you such as poisonous fish, bears and warthogs. Not all animals are dangerous though, and you also have the option of bringing on board some domesticated animals such as the Llama, Goats and Chickens.
When I first saw this game a couple of years ago during a free Steam weekend, I was thoroughly impressed as it was unique among the survival games. As you watch the hunger and thirst bars trickly down so quickly, you realise that as cute and cartoony this game looks, it will put you on your toes very quickly and you will be scrambling to find valuable items and start putting together some basic survival tools such as a grill and a water purifier. Soon you will be expanding the size of your raft using the wood and plastic that you find floating around, giving you more real estate to put more items such as crop plots for growing food, grass plots for feeding animals, and storage boxes to hold all of your inventory.
One of the best things about this game is being able to play with your friends on the same raft. If you are happy to play single player, you do have the option of pausing the game, which gives you time to stop the hunger and thirst meters and let you do some out of game research such as working out how to kill certain enemies or build certain tools. In multiplayer though, you won’t have this luxury, so keep this in mind when starting up a multiplayer game.
Even the developers of this indie game did not expect to see the success that it did. After featuring on some big Youtubers’ channels, the game has sold surprisingly well, and in May 2018 it launched in Steam early access with nearly 19,000 concurrent players! Although the number has dropped, it has consistently had a healthy player base and currently sports around 4,500 average concurrent players according to Steamcharts. The studio has since added more staff, expanding on its initial start from a group of University friends. The future of the game looks bright too, as they have recently started adding expansions called Chapters, which bring something extra to the table. The chapters are basically story based campaign missions, which introduce some to the players some lore, new items, new animals, and of course new challenges, such as parkour-based platform game elements.
If you enjoy survival games that you the options of crafting, building, fighting and exploration, you will very likely enjoy this game, and considering it is mostly spent out in the ocean it is also unique among the others, it definitely does bring a unique setting to the table.