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Early Access Raft: Is it Worth the Effort?

Last Updated on September 21, 2019 by Michael Brockbank

I’m a fan of survival games that center around gathering and building. During the Steam Summer Sale of 2018, I stumbled across a new title in the form of an early access Raft. Because it was on sale, I decided to give it a shot. And it’s something I don’t regret buying.

I usually stay clear of early access titles until they have a proven track record of development. However, the early access Raft was one that piqued my interest thanks to a few videos on YouTube.

I just hope developers put in more effort to develop the game than Bohemia did with DayZ…lots of resentment there.[template id=”145″]

What is Early Access Raft?

Raft is a game that places you in the middle of a vast ocean on a few small blocks of wood and plastic. Armed with a basic hook and rope, you collect debris that floats past you to build what you need to survive.

I suppose in that regard, you can also view it as a game about recycling.

Your hope, as with other survival games, is to be rescued. However, you can also simply bypass this purpose and simply keep building up your raft to support an entire town worth of people.

In that sense, it’s Waterworld without the firepower or speed boats.

As you brave the weather, fish for food and keep yourself hydrated, you defend your raft from a shark that chases you until the end of time. Periodically, the big fish will eat sections of your raft causing you to repair or replace the areas it bites into.

Even if you manage to kill it, more sharks arrive to take vengeance on you for killing their brethren.

Why Would You Want to Play Early Access Raft?

One of the reasons why I try to avoid early access games is because some of them are incredibly buggy. I don’t have the money to waste on a project that is riddled with faults and is frustrating to play.

However, I found early access Raft to be quite a pleasant surprise.

Simple Mechanics

Building your equipment isn’t all that difficult in Raft. While the controls take a moment to get used to, the learning curve isn’t all that wide. That is, unless you accidentally drink salt water by clicking your mouse instead of hitting, “E.”

As a whole, movement and actions are relatively simple to manage making it an easy game to play for people of all ages.

Learning New Recipes

One element I love about survival games is learning new crafts. It’s one of the things that draws me to Minecraft and Subnautica. In early access Raft, you unlock new things to build after creating a crafting station.

Eventually, you begin to create bigger and better things to help you survive and defend your raft from that malicious shark hell-bound and determined to eat you.

Discovering Islands and Other Rafts

As you float along, you come across islands and other unmanned rafts you can loot. However, you may need an anchor to keep your raft from floating away while you explore.

That is, unless the damn shark eats the block of the raft you had your anchor attached to.

Multiplayer Mode

One thing I love about early access Raft is the ability to create private servers. You can invite everyone on a LAN to play a private game or open it up online with password protection.

I haven’t gone too in-depth with multiplayer mode as of yet, so I’m not sure how that works online. However, I am eager to buy early access Raft for my daughters so we can all play together in the house.[template id=”505″]

Nice Renderings

I’m not a fan of the “Fortnite-esque” cartoon graphics. However, Raft does have some amazing skylines and attractive rendering of water and waves. And the actual constructs themselves are not bad-looking either.

Perhaps my favorite visuals in the game is the occasional storm. As rain pelts and the waves get exceptionally choppy, you get a decent sense of what it may be like floating in the South-Pacific.

It’s a game that I don’t mind having my 11-year old play and I can see how it is engaging for a younger audience.

Bugs and Issues I’ve Noticed

Like all early access games I’ve come across, Raft isn’t without a few bugs and glitches here and there. However, I haven’t found any of them to be damning to the point of not being able to play. In fact, I’ve yet to come across anything that made me regret buying it.

Screen Size at Startup

When first starting the game, early access Raft expanded to sizes far beyond my monitor. I suppose this is because I use dual-monitors on my computer and the game figured it can use its largest setting.

The result was about 25% of the game bleeding off into the second monitor.

However, I was able to change the resolution to fit my primary screen from the option menu. After which, I had no problem playing Raft on a single monitor at full screen.

Only One Character Model

Currently in early access Raft, you only have one male and female character model. So everyone looks the same if you play with more than two people on a raft. It can be confusing to tell who is who aside from reading names above the characters.

I’m sure this will be addressed in future versions of the game, though. At least, I hope.

H1Z1: Just Survive has had the same models of characters for more than three years.

Unable to Pause the Game

I know it’s not feasible to pause a multiplayer game. But it would be nice to do this while in single player mode. There’s been a few times I had to exit the game just so I can answer the phone or talk to my children.

This really isn’t all that big of an issue, though. I still enjoy the game even without pausing it.

Where Can You Get Early Access Raft?

Like I said earlier, I bought mine on Steam during the summer sale. Even though I bought it on discount, it’s playable enough that I probably would have bought it anyway.

Which is quite impressive considering it came out three months ago.

Currently, it’s $19.99.

Is Early Access Raft Worth the Hype?

The game still has some polishing to undergo. However, it’s a solid platform that has delivered quite a bit more than I expected from an early access title. Coming from a player who loves building and surviving, Raft is definitely one of my current favorites.

I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping the developer stays on course and continues to work on the game.[template id=”543″]

Michael Brockbank
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Michael Brockbank

Michael developed ColoradoPlays to help various charities through his favorite pastime. Since then, the blog and Twitch channels have donated several hundred dollars to Extra Life, Geeks of Grandeur and Operation Supply Drop, to name a few.

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