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Raft Early Access 2021 Review

Build your ultimate raft

With nearly 80 plus hours into Raft. I can say that it holds its own to many survival crafting games out there today. Developed by Redbeat Interactive and published by Axolot Games. Raft is a water-world like game where you have to build up your raft, explore small islands, gather food, and survive the dangerous animals. You can do it all alone or with a small group of friends! 

So far I have played the game up to their Second Chapter update. Which brought in 2 more huge islands to discover, all with their own hazards and rewards. While adding more components to the main game that make your survival more attainable. 

Let’s start with what’s great about Raft! First is the art style, with it’s very simple but bright colors that makes every little island pop. While drifting along the sea and looking over the horizon, you see that lush green island and suddenly it brings a little hope to your day. The crafting system is simple but requires a little time to learn it. You have to gather items drifting on the ocean, scavenging on islands, or salvage the reefs, the more you gather the better equipment you can make. The better the equipment, the better the items you’ll be able to salvage and so forth and so on. To build your raft up, you’ll need to travel to documented islands, which have blueprints that help you learn to build more advanced items for your raft. Things like engines, steering wheels, and more are there to help build your ultimate survival raft. Once you have your ultimate raft, the feeling of accomplishment is second to none, as now that you can freely do what you want to while leaving behind your struggling first hours of the game. This gives you more reason to want to travel to the new major islands that Redbeat has developed for the game. 

Screenshot from Playthrough

The cons to Raft are more nuisance really than a challenge. Let’s start with the shark, right as you spawn into your raft, you learn the basics all while an annoying shark tries to eat you and your raft piece by piece. The rate at which this happens can actually halt or delays your progress. While working on crafting more parts for your raft the shark will randomly come and attack your raft and if you’re not fast enough to attack back, it will take a piece of your raft. Second is the hunger and thirst of your character. While dealing with a raft destroying shark, you must also manage your hunger and thirst meters. In the beginning of the game, you can’t just drink the sea water so you have to craft a grill and water purifier. At first they are very basic until you develop the more advanced ones. However even with the advanced grill and water purifier, it still seems like a heavy burden to maintain hunger and thirst. Needing to eat and drink so often to ensure you don’t die can take you out of the immersion. Once you surrender and die, you also lose everything you had on you. So if you went on a run in one of the major islands and didn’t pack enough food and water….well you’re in for a run of bad luck. Getting lost on an island with a good haul of items and losing it because the water you packed wasn’t enough for one in-game day. One of the worst feelings, but a standard in these survival craft games.   

With all this, Raft is a fun survival craft game with a unique seascape. With some minor annoyances and still in early access. With its easy crafting system, unique islands with new items to discover and new chapters being developed. Raft is a great game to fill that survival craft urge you have in its own unique way.      

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