You are lost. Trapped and alone on a deserted island. You wake up to find you are ship wrecked and find yourself in the eye of the storm. You look to the sky to find fish swirling above your head due to the intense winds. What do you do? The only thing you can… Make Sail!
Make Sail is the latest game release for Boston based video game studio Popcannibal. Make Sail is the product of a two man team up effort between Ziba Scott and Luigi Guatieri.
Make Sail was recently released on March 30th on Steam for $19.99 as an early access game. The Popcannibal team partnered with Fig, a community funding and publishing platform, late in 2016 to raise over $60,000.00 to create Make Sail.
Make Sail is first and foremost a building and simulation game. A large chunk of your play time will be dedicated to creating, improving, and even destroying the boats you make. As a result, you will get out of Make sail what you are willing to put into it.
You start off on a small island and you see a curious light in the distance. The only thing between you and the mysterious light is the ocean, winds, and creatures that have been swept up into the violent winds. In order to reach the pillar of light you must build your first boat.
Once the boat is built and you have navigated your way to the light, you find out that in order to push back the storm you will need to find and loot chimes. These chimes are found on smaller islands, all of which are procedurally generated, that you will need to sail to. The biggest challenge is navigating through the storm with the limitations of your initial sail boat.
As you launch your quest for chimes, you also begin your quest to improve your vessel or tear it down to build from scratch. Smaller islands littered throughout the eye of the storm also may house pieces which can be used to enhance or rebuild your ship. Finding all the pieces of a blueprint will award you with that blueprint, which are useful for learning how to build and sail. Power ups can also be found that will consume energy upon use.
Once you have found enough pieces to custom build your own craft, you will find yourself doing just that for hours on end. Experimentation is a big part of the game in addition to the obvious need for exploration. Density, buoyancy, drag, lift, and drafting are terms you will become familiar with quickly.
Early on in the game it makes sense to utilize the blueprints available in order to find ship parts. In fact, the game is designed to let you limp from island to island with the minimum resources you have. Once you have built a solid bench of parts, the experimentation can begin. The game can be frustratingly accurate when it comes to your ability to actually create something that can stay afloat without help. Thankfully, Make Sail gives you a few tips and tricks on how to build your boat which you can then use to craft something that stays above water for more than 5 seconds.
However, even after digesting those tips and putting them into practice, at times the actual building process can get a little frustrating. The crafting interface has a snap feature that is intended to make the building process a little easier by assuming where you want to place a barrel or board. The problem is that the UI assumes the wrong placement all too frequently, which means you can spend minutes at times trying to place one piece. I encountered this when trying to place a barrel under my ship and the snap feature kept wanting to place it on the top or side of the ship despite my camera angle placement being directly beneath the ship.
The good news here is that this is exactly what the early access tag is for. The game is not finished and the developers have been incredibly responsive to community feedback. Despite that slight irritation, the rest of the crafting UI is very well thought out and intuitive. The fact that Popcannibal managed to create a game that allows a player to craft a boat using realistic physics is a major achievement. Especially considering a majority of the player base likely doesn’t know the first thing about sailing.
Make Sail is an astonishingly beautiful game and the ambiance is greatly enhanced thanks to a well done soundtrack. In order to properly review Make Sail, we must ensure we do so in context.
Make Sail is a building game and as such you will be building and testing your crafts a majority of time. This enables the second major feature of the game which is exploration and the discovery of new ship components and chimes to allow for bigger and better builds.
- Blueprints available for those who need help building
- Early blueprint ships help to teach principles of sailing
- Wonderful soundtrack that pairs well with game play
- Solid crafting interface
- Procedurally generated islands encouraging multiple play throughs
- Exploration leads to a more enjoyable experience by finding parts and power-ups
- ‘Smart Snap’ feature when building can be a little clunky and frustrating
- No true tutorial to help ease players who do not traditionally play building simulator games or understand the physics of sailing
Make Sail opens up a world of creativity through exploration and crafting. It is a beautiful game with tremendous potential as it continues to be developed. Experimentation is encouraged as you try to perfect your craft and Redonkulous Gaming gives Make Sail a score of 7.9/10 as it sits in Early Access with incredible upside.
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