Stranded Deep — Real Castaway Survival Game?

By | January 5, 2015

The Forest is a solid castaway game. But it’s not a real survival game. True survival is hardcore man-against-nature. Even in war, the real battle is feeding your stomach and keeping your feet dry and your body hydrated. Man-eating natives aside, how difficult is the Forest? It’s about trial and error MacGyver stuff. A beach is covered with washed-up luggage to scavenge from.

And there’s food. Tons of it. The Forest is infested with food. Edible mushrooms in the forest. Slow-moving deer and tons of turtles and raccoons and seagulls you can kill with a tomahawk. Still fun open-world stuff, but not really Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, or Tom Hanks’ castaway survival action.

So then there’s Stranded Deep, out this month on Steam. Like The Forest, there’s a plane crash and an island. But the game’s got real man-vs-nature to be had. You need to keep your health up and watch your hunger factor. There’s some lame dodge-a-shark antics, but the first-person game’s more about meeting your basic needs like building shelter and finding food. Check out the trailer. You have to hunt crab with a spear. And the island is tiny and so you have to face your nemesis, the shark, to get what you need from the ocean. That’s hard-core.

The world is also procedurally-generated, which seems more like a marketing gimmick than a bona-fide factor for replayability. Different islands should offer up different resources and opportunities, but a tropical deserted island can’t be all that different from one another even if the shape is a bit different.

One thing missing is your mental-health meter. Not going crazy has to be a top survival challenge. Still, Stranded Deep seems to be the closest castaway simulation. Worth checking out.

The shark will reduce your life decades.

The shark will reduce your life expectancy…by decades.

Your new home.

Your new home.

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