Raft is a serene yet challenging cooperative survival-crafting game that casts you adrift at sea on a small raft menaced by an unrelenting great white Shark. It can be played single player but the real magic is joining a group of friends to work together on transforming your raft from rickety planks into a floating paradise.
Resources are found drifting through the sea or from islands that you pass on your journey. There’s an impressive array of both technological advancements and decorative options that can be used to create the vessel of your dreams. It is not a particularly realistic simulation but this grants the freedom to be as creative as you like in your construction. Designs ranging from cruise liners to sprawling villages to replica spaceships are all possible. Though my personal go-to always seems to be the “unplanned shanty town”.
As you master your environment and upgrade the machinery on your raft, you are able to start unravelling the story behind your characters and the flooded world. The narrative is told through notes discovered through exploration and puzzle-solving. These reveal coordinates for new destinations and give a sense of direction and progress through the procedural ocean world.
Raft has become a game that I’ve returned to regularly throughout the pandemic. The sense of a shared “home” that I was able to create with distant friends was different from any other survival game I’ve played. The raft remains a central hub where you all are continually interacting to cook food, purify water, tend to animals or gardens, and marvel at the wildlife passing by. I’m eagerly awaiting the “Third Chapter” update this summer to see how Redbeet Interactive continues to deepen the beautiful world they have created.