Stranded Sails – Explorers of the Cursed Islands – Review
Follow Genre: Indie, Adventure, Simulation, Casual
Developer: LemonBomb Entertainment
Publisher: Merge Games
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One, iOS
Tested on: PS4

Stranded Sails – Explorers of the Cursed Islands – Review

Site Score
Good: Relaxing gameplay
Bad: A lot of running around and minor glitches
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Casual games such as Farming Simulator and Truck Driving Simulator are quite popular since it helps get people away from the stress that life brings. It seems this was the kind of game the developers from Stranded Sails – Explorers of the Cursed Islands were going for. In the game, you’ll try to survive on a deserted island and take care of the crew. You’ll farm, explore, discover mysteries and just enjoy the tropical lands. Stranded Sails – Explorers of the Cursed Islands was developed by LemonBomb Entertainment and published by Merge Games and we got a chance to review the game.


It is your first time going on a trip with your father and his crew. After you wake up, you’ll pack your backpack and then help your father gather some of the last supplies for his ship. Once you depart, your father gives you the task to talk with every crew member and introduce yourself, even though most of the crew already knows you as you are the captain’s child. Everything seems to be going smoothly and the trip to the cold mountains of the north is no dangerous trip. That is until a storm ruined it all. Everything goes black for you and you wake up again on an island you don’t recognize. The island is tropical and certainly not cold like the land the ship was traveling to.

The game’s story gets told while you are playing it, even though the story isn’t as extensive as some story games. You’ll have conversations where you will be given tasks disguised under a call for help. Mostly the conversations don’t go too deep and are pretty short. Even though the story is definitely there, it feels more casual to give you a purpose on why you should do the tasks.


Stranded Sails has a low poly style with characters that are a bit more detailed. The more detailed characters nicely stick out against the smooth low poly background. There does seem to be a problem with the shadows glitching sometimes when you walk past some bigger rocks. This issue is however pretty rare and doesn’t happen in every bigger area. The style of the game surely fits with the casual gameplay.  Even though you are stranded on an island you don’t feel stressed at all. The only creepy spot in the game is the sea, with its unpredictable waves just like in real life.


The music in Stranded Sails is nice and calming, although it stays more in the background to break the silence. Even without the background music, it wouldn’t be too silent as there are many nature sounds the island presents you with. The nature sounds do make it feel like you are on a tropical island which makes it quite relaxing. However, the happy birds whistling, and calm waves stop if you go on the wild sea between islands. You’ll for sure go to the edge of your seat and start to hope you make it to the next island in your little rowboat.


Stranded Sails – Explorers of the Cursed Islands is a casual adventure simulation game where you help your crew to survive after wrecking your ship and getting stranded on a deserted island. As you start the game you can choose your gender and name so you could end up the captain’s son or daughter. You get a little tutorial before you board the ship as to how to pick things up, but the real extensive tutorial starts after the shipwreck. You will learn how to use tools and how to build from blueprints. The game uses a circular tool selection where you can either switch between circles in the open tool menu or by using the shortcuts by selecting with the joystick. Selecting with the joystick is often the fastest but sometimes with being fast, you do skip past the object you wanted or even switch to the next circle by accident. You’ll also learn about your energy meter, which if it runs out, you collapse. Getting more energy can be done by napping/sleeping or by eating food.

The game is mostly about making your crew and yourself as comfortable as possible. There is no bigger objective, just you taking care of the crew. Since your dad is hurt and unable to walk it becomes your job to find the missing crew members and build a shelter in your camp. A weird thing about the plot is that you take on every role in the camp as the only way the crew helps is by giving you blueprints or some helpful items. It is a little bit odd when you are a little kid, providing for grown adults who have their specialties. The only who helps a little bit is the carpenter who builds foundations for the next thing you need to build. It is, however, you who provides food, actually builds buildings, fishes and gathers supplies. Even though there is a cook, a blacksmith, a carpenter, and a seamstress, it might have been nice if they were able to do little jobs to help you out. For example, if you gather supplies and ingredients, the cook could cook something up.

Four main big islands are surrounding the island you have your base camp on. At first, you’ll search for your crew members on the big main island and the surrounding sandbanks. However, then you’ll start to explore the other surrounding islands. The sea is actually quite dangerous, and you can get exhausted on the sea easily or overtaken by the waves. You don’t die in Stranded Sails, you just collapse and wake up next to your bed. Even though the three islands in the south to the west are semi-safe to travel to, there is a technique to not collapse. You have to bring food, which you can get from planting seeds and using the produce to create dishes. Each dish gives a different amount of energy. Dishes including spices and fish will often give more energy. Sadly, you can’t eat actual produce, so if you find a carrot on one of the islands you can’t eat it until you use it in a dish.

There is also no way to make dishes anywhere except for at the camp. Luckily you can travel back to camp with your fast travel function. However, this only works for going back to camp, so if you weren’t done exploring, you’ll have to travel all the way back. Once you have enough food, you can use your rowboat to travel to the islands. You can use the map to put down a marker, so you know where you are going. The map shows either an entire island or the entire region with all the islands. You can’t zoom in and there is no mini-map that you can keep on the screen while playing. If you want to check the map, you’ll have to get the map out and look at it. The real trick starts when you travel between islands on the sea, you can’t exactly just go straight from one island to the next. If you do this, chances are you won’t be able to beat the waves.  Since you only have a small rowboat, you’ll have to try to stay close to the islands and only go in the deeper sea between the closest points of the islands.

On the different islands, you’ll find supplies and also, of course, missing crew members. It is a bit annoying to have to run for supplies to the islands, certainly if you want to build something but have only one piece of for example hardwood short. These kinds of supplies can only be found in crates spread around the islands. Wood is also something you’ll always need and it seems that the developers chose to just let the trees regrow in the same spot. Saplings would have been a nice addition so you could choose to plant trees closer instead of having to return to the forest area. In Stranded Sails you’ll for sure do a lot of running and rowing around.  Both take energy, rowing takes more than running but sprinting takes an enormous amount of energy making it somewhat redundant.

Once you discover new ingredients, you’ll unlock mystery recipes. You can try to discover these recipes by putting different ingredients in the pot and using trial and error to discover the right ingredients. You’ll get a checkmark if an ingredient is in the right place, a switch symbol if there is a right ingredient in the wrong place and an x if there is an ingredient that doesn’t belong in the recipe. These symbols, however, don’t appear in the order of ingredients, they are first the checkmark then the switch marks and then the x’s. This means that you’ll have to continue testing which ingredient belongs where to properly get to the bottom of the recipe. You can also cook for the entire crew, by using the paper next to the big pot. This will show you a circle with every crew member having a spot for one ingredient. Each member has a favorite ingredient and once you figure this out, you’ll fill the love meter faster. Once the love meter is filled, you’ll get a present from one of the people whose favorite ingredient you have found.


Stranded Sails – Explorers of the Cursed Islands is a very fun casual game. It is just focused on you and your crew, there is no higher calling or meaning to the game, just you; taking care of your friends. The game is calming and a nice way to get away from the stress of everyday life. If you don’t like farming or playing a casual game where you don’t have a higher purpose, then this isn’t the game for you. Are you a fan of casual games where you can just get away from everything without having to stress? Then this might be the game for you.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Stranded Sails – Explorers of the Cursed Islands - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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