Game review of “Raft”


A WHOLE NEW WORLD: Raft encourages players to mess around with their friends as they develop their raft on an open sea.

William Baik, Staff Writer

Fulfilling the fantasy of what it would be like to be adrift on the endless ocean, developer Redbeet Interactive delivers a solid survival game in “Raft,” wherein the player discovers new islands and collects resources to survive on a flooded Earth. Though it does lack in complexity, “Raft” is an enjoyable social experience with simplistic mechanics that encourages playing with friends.

“Raft” lacks a real story. Right from the start, the player is dropped onto a single wooden plank in the middle of nowhere, with no cutscene—just the empty ocean. They will eventually be told to go to different locations in the game once they unlock certain items, with each location containing a code that sends the player to the final destination of the game. Much of the notes and journal entries scattered across the islands contribute more to world-building rather than providing an explanation for events throughout the game. It is difficult to judge the story since the game isn’t finished yet, but it is possible that the developer purposefully shrouded the story in mystery in preparation for the full release, so this criticism should be taken lightly. 

This lack of storytelling, however, makes “Raft” a game that depends heavily on the social experience. The amount of downtime and lack of intriguing sonic elements and mechanics—especially in gathering materials—makes it a very lonely and tedious game to play by oneself, and so working with a friend or two to build the raft and travel to the islands makes it exponentially better. Gathering materials can be deathly boring without proper foresight, and though it technically adds to the realistic struggle of being stranded out on sea, it is an annoying obstacle that repeats far too often. 

“Raft” is not a mindblowing game, but it is fun for what it is worth. Being early access and having an unfinished story will deter some potential consumers, but “Raft” is not a game that heavily relies on its story in the first place. Rather, it is a collaborative experience built off of the people you play with, and so as long as you and your friends are willing to dish out the $20 price tag, “Raft” is a worthy game to try out.