There is a certain mystery and dark fantasy about being stranded on an island. From Gilligan’s Island to Tomb Raider and Lost to Pirates of the Caribbean, we find ways to turn this situation into adventure, action and more. Explorers of the Cursed Islands for Nintendo Switch takes us on the same journey, combining farming, cooking, building and lots of exploration. Will he be stuck on this island in an exciting atmosphere or will he dry out after a few hours of playing in the sun?

After sailing with your father, you find yourself in rough seas trying to control the ship with the rest of the crew. One minute everything turns black, the next you’re stranded on an island. As you gather your thoughts, you will find that some of the crew has arrived with you, and then you will set up base camp early in the morning to try to survive and rescue other survivors.

By immersing yourself in the adventure, you begin to learn basic things like. B. Plant crops for food and cut down trees to make planks to build huts for the crew members you took to the main island. The game does a decent enough job of getting you hooked on recovery quest style mechanisms, but even after a few hours of playing, I was still making a version of each recovery quest. Unlike games like My Time at Portia or even the traditional Harvest Moon, which set higher goals allowing for free play and deflection, my time at Wandering Sails never brought me the same joy. For every objective I was given, the way to achieve it was pretty simple and accessible, and didn’t really offer any improvisational options.

Before I go any further, I should mention here that my playing time with this game was abruptly interrupted a few hours later. I was working on a quest that dropped the quest, but before I could get back to it, I quit the game. After I went back and reloaded my Switch, the quest was gone, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get it back, and the game didn’t progress. I had to start the game over and over again, so I fully admit that I didn’t manage to go all the way through this title.

Now, as with the other farm adventures I’ve talked about, there are a couple of key mechanisms that come into play here. They have an endurance meter that shows how much you can do in a given day. Walking, running, planting, paddling, etc. – all require endurance, and I personally felt like I was going at an aggressive pace. Often I could barely dig a few holes before having to run back to the remains of the ship and sleep. However, gambling constantly encourages you to counteract this problem by bringing a large amount of food, which makes us… The kitchen!

In Wandering Sails, the kitchen plays a crucial role, even in the beginning. You harvest and then head to the kettle to cook a few ingredients to replenish your energy while you spend a day out or exploring the surrounding islands. Cooking, however, is a real challenge if you haven’t found a recipe yet. When collecting ingredients, question marks appear in the kitchen menu indicating that a new recipe can be found. However, this mini-discovery game is completely mind-numbing and frankly quite annoying. For each undiscovered recipe, you must place the ingredients in the empty boxes. If the game allowed me to just dip them and if I had the right ingredients, knew what the new recipe was, then this system would be somewhat acceptable. However, this game complicates things even more by forcing you to place the ingredient in the right place. Using a few icons (which I had to look for in the help menu) it tries to point you in the right direction, but I swear I’ve seen more errors here, as ingredients that were supposed to work suddenly seem unnecessary when I change something to do other experiments. Again, it was just an exciting experience for me, but the game relies heavily on it, so you need to unlock these recipes to better build your food resistance.

In addition, you must also become the sole leader of your entire team! This means trying to find ingredients that are similar and throwing them into a giant pot for everyone to share. If you do it right, you will get a very strong increase in endurance that will definitely help you on some of the long rides you will have to do.

If you can explore the islands on your own with provisions, there is not much to see if you are not actively looking. Unlike Stardew Valley, there are only random boxes or barrels here with excessive interaction. This is another incentive to stick to the exact research you need to work on.

There is usually very good dialogue, relationships and intrigue in this genre because of the way these games are constructed. Stranded Sails does have a history and relational specifics, but I found the writing style rather awkward, which may be due to the English localization? A perfect example of how you and your father (the captain of the ship) talk. He will call you My Child explicitly and more often than is appropriate, in that He calls you that at the beginning of almost every sentence. You, on the other hand, address him by his first name in the dialogue. Interaction with the rest of the cast gives way to equally awkward and superficial conversations, with some characters trying to elevate personality a little more than others, but overall the dialogue and overall plot are flat compared to almost every other farm simulator I’ve played.

While the dialogue can be a bit clunky, the game is visually appealing and aesthetically pleasing. I experienced no performance issues in portable mode, and the medium/low polygon count style with bright colors was relaxing and definitely fun to watch stuck in an archipelago.

I had mixed feelings too. While the inventory management and quick selection system was quite proficient and for the most part worked well, I found some persistent annoyances that kept it from being perfect. For example, I want my hotkey to stay on the last item I called, which in most cases was a card. I found that I often had to rely on the map because for some reason the game didn’t have a compass on the user interface, but often the quests would tell you to go east of the shipwreck or something. This led me to sail blindly in my rowboat, often stopping and looking at the chart to see if I was headed in the right direction even on the open sea.

Since I’ve been working with flat sail, these kinds of problems and deviations from the formula of the farming simulator that generally worked well in other games have left me with a general lack of experience. One of the main key elements of this type is self-knowledge and personal responsibility. The game fell flat on this front as well, instead of relying on quests to get me from point A to point B. The theme is certainly there, and the idea of expanding and growing the community on a desert island is great, but the execution just seems shiatty. You might be better off buying one of the other games mentioned in this magazine.

Sailing – Discovery of the Cursed Islands Overview
  • Charts – 6.5/10
  • Sound – 5/10
  • Gameplay – 4.5/10
  • Late complaint – 4/10

5/10

Final thoughts : MEDIOCR

A simulator of agricultural adventures in a desert archipelago is certainly of great interest. The environment is conducive to exploration, discovery and intelligent mechanics. However, almost every department does not have the smallest sail. Heavy overuse of the intricate firing mechanisms and other problems prevented the game from achieving the quality of immersion that such games require.

Alex has been involved in the gaming industry since the release of Nintendo. He’s turned his hobby into a career, spending just over a decade developing games and now serving as creative director of the studio.

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