Forsaken Isle is a wilderness survival game focused around crafting with RPG elements. You play as a pirate, marooned on a desert isle and must gather resources, craft items and survive.
A new entry into the popular crafting and survival genre, Forsaken Isle takes the player to a beautifully pixelated world of pirates, skeletons, and coconuts! Craft tools, mine ore, and build a settlement as you hunt and farm your way around your own little tropical island. Watch out for the natives though, they don’t take kindly to your presence.
The game drops you onto a randomly generated island and from there you’re on your own. There is currently no tutorial in place, but given the early access status it’s understandable that some features aren’t in the game yet. You travel the island on the surface with vines leading down to the caves below. You’ll find forests, lakes, native ruins and abandoned mines on this Forsaken Isle, and you’ll need to arm yourself quick before an angry bat makes a feast of your blood. Sometimes you’ll luck out and find what the last marooned pirate left behind in scattered crates to help you get a head start, but other times you’ll have to fend for yourself with a wooden sword until you can craft a multitude of weapons including my favourite, the flaming arrows. There’s something about setting a cute little pixel pig on fire that makes me chuckle.
You have three bars along the side of your screen representing your health, your hunger, and your energy. Energy doesn’t play much of a part in the game at this stage, but hunger and health are crucial to your survival. Hunger will tick down at a steady rate, making food your number one priority. Luckily you were abandoned on a luscious green island, as there are plenty of pineapples, wild pigs, and fish to eat. Health will drop when you’re attacked, requiring you to craft bandages to stop bleeding and heal your wounds. Some food even fills up both bars. Farming provides enough food to survive happily in your house, but exploring can prove to be troublesome if you forget to pack a lunch.
The game is simple to play with a tight control system. Most objects are interacted with by holding down the mouse button. Once you gather the appropriate amount of resources you can build rudimentary tools to harvest more advanced resources and over time build complex crafting stations and your own little house to live in. There is currently no end-game so after time you will do everything the game has to offer, but playing at least a dozen hours in I’m still enjoying the hunting and gathering aspect. Combat is currently one of the game’s weaker points, with some bugs allowing you to kill any enemy without being hit yourself. But the dev has mentioned implementing a mini-boss system which may prove to be a nice challenge.
Forsaken Isle is what people like to call a ‘wiki game‘. These types of games rely heavily on the wiki created by the community, as with most crafting games it’s extremely hard to know how to make that crucial complex item for the first time without looking it up. Wiki Games can be a blessing and a curse, as a strong community makes the game more enjoyable, but a game with a poorly maintained wiki will send curious minds back confused and annoyed. Luckily Forsaken Isle falls into the former category. While I’d rather have the game explain resources to me a bit more I was happy to find that everything I needed to know was waiting for me on the community site. The crafting can be tricky at times, with around a dozen different crafting stations you can eventually build, you may be confused on what one you need to make a certain recipe. You’ll find yourself experimenting a lot with trial and error in this game if you’re not looking at the wiki every two minutes. While I enjoy the different crafting stations I’d like it if you didn’t need to click each one to use them separately, at times you’ll find yourself opening and closing the inventory window too much.
This game borrows a lot from popular games such as Don’t Starve, Minecraft, and Terraria. It mixes exploration with crafting and combat to make a really enjoyable experience, but unlike the games that influence Forsaken Isle there doesn’t seem to be the crucial ticking clock that is night time survival. The world does cycle between day and night, and if you don’t have a torch or a firepit you’re stuck in the dark. But there is no pressing urgency to survive that pitch black nothingness. Minecraft and Terraria both have zombies and other denizens of twilight banging on your door to eat your sweetmeats, and Don’t Starve has the more supernatural Burton-esque chaotic demise of your character, but Forsaken Isle just has darkness. If you’re near a baddie in the dark it might pose a as a challenge, but most of the time you can just stand still and be confident you’ll survive. I hope some tough features may be added in the future to put some fear into players and make the game a little more deadly.
The game looks amazing, it’s a colourful living world of handcrafted pixel beauty, it definitely brings some character to this title. The music is minimal at the moment, as stated on the game’s page, with some annoying walking noises drowning out everything else. I expect the audio to be improved during the course of the early access development cycle. But the art doesn’t need to change at all, awesome SNES style pixels. I love it!
Forsaken Isle has some issues but it’s plenty of fun in its present state. The developer is constantly updating the game with frequent twitter updates if you want to follow them. This is definitely the type of indie title you’ll find yourself sinking at least a hundred hours into, playing to the early hours of the morning. Get to your island and start crafting!