Adrift with Raft

In our ongoing search for the next group game Potshot found the game Raft on Steam and thought it looked interesting.  Ever willing to go along for a ride… look how well that raft worked out in Valheim… I grabbed a copy as well and we went sailing.

Raft was chosen because it was another co-op survival title and because we’re clearly done with Valheim again for now and Minecraft… it just isn’t grabbing us.  So it seemed like it might be time to set sail with Raft.

Fooling around on something like a boat…

True to the title of the game, you start out on a raft.  You have a 2×2 raft and a plastic hook.

The Hook

You’re just out there in the middle of open water without much in the way of instructions.  Not that instructions were really necessary off the bat.  You got that hook and there is a bunch of trash floating in the ocean for you to grab.  You throw the hook out and reel stuff in.  That gives you resources to craft other things… like another hook when yours breaks, which it is almost sure to do the moment you see something special floating past you want to grab.

Also, you can repair your raft… because there might be issues to deal with on that front.

He’s eating my raft

There are, of course, sharks in the water, so you want to avoid falling in.

So you float along grabbing wood, plastic, palm fronds, and the occasional bounty that is a barrel or chest.  One of the key bottlenecks for my initially was rope, which I only ever saw in the occasionally barrel.

The lack of rope kept me from crafting a paddle along with a few other essentials.  I found enough to craft a hammer, which let me repair and expand the raft a bit.  Otherwise I kept on drifting, watching the occasional island float past.

There goes one now

It wasn’t until I had been at it for a while that I found the recipe for rope in the crafting menu.  It turned out that palm fronds become rope, which quickly loosened up that constriction.

I also found the intro… most of which I had figured out before I stumbled upon it.

Welcome to the raft

By that time Potshot had joined me, the whole point of the exercise being to play this as a co-op title.

He has a hook too

So together we gathered trash from the ocean and built up our supplies and collection of tools, even managing to get to an island now and then… though that went comically bad at one point as we had not yet crafted an anchor, a one-use item that will hold your raft in place while you root about ashore.

So Potshot went drifting off while I was stuck on the island, though I was eventually able to rejoin him through the medium of death.  In addition to collecting sea trash, you have to keep your health up, which means finding food and drinkable water.  The health bars begin to loom.

Everything is find now, but wait a bit…

As you health diminished the world grows dim and, eventually you fall over.

Now you’ve done it

Once you cast off this mortal coil we call life, you respawn back on the raft… which is how I got back together again with Potshot after he sailed off.

Unfortunately, one of our mistakes was kicking off the game in “normal” mode rather than one of the easier settings, because when you die you lose a bunch of your collected trash.

Talk about a death tax

It doesn’t seem to go after your tools, but it can knock down your ocean plastic supply pretty quickly.  So our focus became that of staying alive… well that and not getting eaten by the shark and keeping the raft in decent repair.

There he is again

We slowly built up our infrastructure.  To avoid too much loss due to death, a chest was crafted to hold some supplies.  It didn’t hold much, but it was better than nothing.

I had crafted a plastic cup early on, but never found any fresh water to put in it.  But Potshot managed to put together a small desalinizer in order to create some fresh water on the raft.

Just add fire and some salt water

That kept us alive somewhat longer and allowed us to bicker over who forgot to refill the thing with sea water after having drank all of the available fresh water.

Meanwhile we mostly drifted, stopping at the occasional island to find some food, and collecting trash from the ocean.

We’re never going to clean this all up

At one point we spotted another raft, a much better looking one than ours, and paddled towards it, then jumped overboard and swam to it.  But it sank when we climbed aboard and we ended up having to scramble back to our raft as the shark went after us again.

I did eventually realize that  our raft was the only thing moving on the ocean, drifting ceaselessly forward, which everything else was pretty much still in the water… except for that shark.

Things might have gone more smoothly if, as I mentioned above, we had chosen the easy setting.  We eventually hit a state of semi-equilibrium, where we could stay alive if we just didn’t do anything dumb.  But we never seemed to be making any headway towards raising our standard of living of setting ourselves up like the Professor on Gilligan’s Island.

It doesn’t seem like a bad game, and I am sure we haven’t explored it enough to give any sort of definitive judgement.  But it also didn’t really grab us.  Or at least it didn’t grab me.  I wasn’t thinking about when I could get back in and play some more.

And, of course, it lacks that persistent world aspect that Valheim and Minecraft allow.  You can join your Steam friends when they are playing, but if they leave the world goes away.

4 thoughts on “Adrift with Raft

  1. Rumpshakah

    I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Markiplier play raft with his friends but I do not think I would enjoy playing the game myself. Seems awful tedious and of little value for my time.

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  2. Azuriel

    Yeah, Raft is an odd one. I played it a few years ago in beta or whatever, and then reinstalled recently once I heard they had finally added the last bit of story.

    While I enjoyed the gameplay loop for a while, the intentional lack of hand-holding does the game a big disservice, IMO. I played the second time for about 10 hours, flabbergasted that in all that time I seen not one whiff of a plot or notes or any indication the game had progressed in any way since the beta. Apparently nothing starts until you build the radio, at which point you can locate the “story islands” … but who is going to wait that long? I had been exploring big islands, clad in iron gear, killing big game animals and finding the junk traders (which you cannot interact with) and basically hitting the top of the tech tree, with nothing else to really show for it. The islands I landed on had ruins with chests full of random goodies, so would it have killed them to have messages in bottles or whatever in there?

    That picture of the journal you shared? That’s still exactly what mine looks like after 10+ hours.

    The shark as a mechanic is also very asinine. While I understand the need for it to exist for gameplay purposes, it becomes a total joke after a while. Any time I reached an island and wanted to go underwater to collect resources, I would throw out shark bait and then stab the shark until it died, at which point you are shark-free for approximately 2 minutes. It’s just another thing you do, like making sure you refill your water distiller.

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  3. Aywren Sojourner

    I dunno. I have fun with Raft, especially when I start getting further into the story and figuring out the world. I actually just wrote a post earlier this week about our return to Raft after not having played it since 2020. A LOT has changed!

    And the first time you kill Bruce (the shark), that’s quite a good feeling! Sadly, he returns quicker than I’d like. But he makes great meals, so I don’t complain too much. You have no idea how many shark steaks we’ve had in our current game. We are Bruce hunters! :)

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