Oh, how beautiful the beach looks, with islands off in the distance as I wander out of my driftwood hut. It’s at that point my watch beeps alerting me that I am rather hungry, so I gather my tinder and build me a morning fire to cook the last two crabs I have set aside from the day before. All I need now is a volleyball and it would complete the feeling that I’m Tom Hanks in Castaway as I continue playing Stranded Deep (SPOILER: You can locate Wilson on one of the islands).

This isn’t my first bout with the game as I played it back in its beta on PC several years ago. Stranded Deep is an open-world survival game set after your plane crashes in the ocean leaving you with nothing but the rescue dingy and your wits to survive. The typical survival elements are here as you have to manage your character’s hunger, thirst, sleep,  as well as your character’s heat. You can get sunburnt with prolonged exposure to the sun making you forage for aloe and craft your own sunscreen. Games like The Forest or Ark pit you against not only the elements but cannibals and dinosaurs.

In Stranded Deep your enemy is more realistic, having to fend off hungry sharks, squid, and venomous snakes. The islands are small but full of life with everything from crabs on the beach and seagulls in the rocks to clownfish swimming and wild hogs roaming about the island all ripe for the harvest. There’s also shipwrecks scattered about the many beaches holding powerful tools and components you may need to escape the islands. Inventory management is key since your backpack only carries so much.

You can craft blueprints from items you have laying on the ground, so stack components near the location you want to build to make life easier. The build catalog is pretty large, giving you the ability to make homes as you see fit as well as vehicles for your potential escape. The biggest downside to Stranded Deep is the lack of multiplayer. Don’t get me wrong, roaming islands alone is fun but if you had a few friends with you it would be much better as gathering materials can be tedious by yourself.

In the end, Stranded Deep is a beautiful survival game that adds new elements to an ever-expanding genre. I look forward to seeing what the small team over at Beam Team Games brings to the table in future patches.

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