A few days ago, I installed Don’t Sink, an indie pirate game from Studio Eris on my Xbox One. The screenshots looked interesting, and I adored the pixelated graphics. As the game started, I created Captain Vulture and started her quest to become a pirate legend. Like every pirate, she started from the bottom and worked her way to the top. The journey commenced by getting on a small ship and taking over a deserted island called Crampton. Next, Captain Vulture needed to begin building establishments, governing the settlement, and expanding my crew.
- A story of the seven seas
Captain Vulture started with simple delivery jobs found at the general store before doing quests for random people. The high seas can be a dangerous place, but with a solid crew, anything is possible. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse. Other ships started to attack me, the ship took damage, and the crew’s morale was low. To combat these predicaments, she needed to buy food, water, and rum to improve their well-being and morale. The general store also carried wood planks to repair the ship, cloth to patch the sails, and cannonballs to attack opposing crews. Captain Vulture took money earned from jobs and pillaged from crews, and continued her journey.
She then proceeded to go to the taverns to purchase people to become part of the crew. The next goal was to take over other islands on the map. Doing this meant that some good men and women would not make it back, a risk she was willing to take. Life on the seas means sacrifices must be made, but the crew knew this from the beginning. Island after island, Vulture’s crew continued to make their presence know through all the land. Sometimes, things didn’t go as planned. The ship took damage, the crew became fatigued, and other times, more prominent pirates posed massive threats. After a while, Captain Vulture realized that a bigger ship and crew were needed to survive.
The journey was tough but after many quests, buried treasure found on islands, and successful attacks on other crews, Captain Vulture had enough money for another vessel. It helped the pirate take over more islands, and instill fear in the hearts of the other captains. The increasingly robust Captain Vulture ventured to the edge of the map, looking to visit every island imaginable. Even when battles became tough, the crew’s morale was low, and money seemed challenging to come by, Captain Vulture always tried to persevere. She was never above menial jobs to make a living. After all, success doesn’t come overnight. Regardless, after weeks on the seas, Captain Vulture continued to try and conquer every island she visited. While she struggled, every time the crew left a port, an adventure was always a wave away.
- The best pirate game this year
I was so excited for Sea of Theives since I played it at E3 a few years ago, but the final release left me underwhelmed. Don’t Sink is a game that came out of nowhere, I knew nothing about, and in the end, it surprised me. Clocking in at around 2 and a half hours, Don’t Sink charmed its way into my heart. I grew attached to my customized pirate and enjoyed taking her on an adventure to become a legend.
The gameplay is simple but also features enough depth. You cannot simply press random buttons to survive. You need to manage money and resources to ensure the safety of the crew. You could buy bigger ships early on, or save money for an even larger vessel. Buying immediately yields short-term rewards but can require grinding later on. Regarding a story, Don’t Sink doesn’t really feature a narrative outside of a few sidequests that NPCs have to offer. There are no characters that are memorable, and most don’t even have names. Honestly, that didn’t even bother me because the game was so fun to play.
When sailing, you’ll see meters that represent hunger, thirst, morale, ship health, and sail durability. With simple button prompts, you can rebuild the ship as well as give your crew food and water. When it comes to combat, you’ll find your boat floating across an enemy vessel. You can attack, rebuild or escape during battle. If an enemy ship is much larger, run away immediately. My battle plan was to attack first and start building if I took too much damage. If the situation seemed dire, escape was an immediate solution. Combat was never difficult, but it always kept me involved.
After 150 minutes, I completed 100% of the quests and unlocked every achievement in the game. My time with Don’t Sink was over, but the entire experience was full of joy, charm, and most importantly, fun. It’s a $10 game that I would recommend to people who want to have fun for a few hours. There is a permadeath mode that could add a more significant challenge for those wishing to undertake the task, but I just wanted to enjoy the experience.
Studio Eris developed a surprisingly fun game that I feel will be overlooked by the Xbox community. If you’re willing to give a random game a chance, Don’t Sink is well worth your time. If you’re itching for a different kind of pirate adventure, here’s a game for you to try. I had a blast with Don’t Sink. Despite its shortcomings (lack of difficulty, no narrative, and occasional grinding), Don’t Sink is a game I’m glad I got to play before all the high profile games start launching later this month.