Game Review #093: Don't Sink (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Frankie W.
Developer: Studio Eris
Category: Adventure, Role-Playing
Release Date: 01.03.2019
Price (at time of review): $9.99
Buy Don't Sink from the Nintendo eShop here.
Get ready to tame the high seas and become a swashbuckling pirate of justice in this awesome indie game, Don’t Sink, made by Studio Eris and published by the very awesome Hitcents! In this game, you play a pirate that you design yourself in the simple character creator, featuring graphics akin to early PC gaming for characters, with a little bit nicer backgrounds and ships. Your pirate player character doesn’t want to be your average swashbuckler taking advantage of the downtrodden for personal gain, this pirate wishes to help people and build towns in order to give people a place to be happy! In order to do that, your character is going to have to sail all over the islands of their world, making connections, solving people’s problems, delivering goods, and of course, defending himself from attacking pirates! Let’s get more into the pirate life, with Don’t Sink.
Your game starts with a create-a-character, so you can make your ideal swashbuckler, with the obvious pirate style questions, like whether you have an eye patch or not, or maybe a peg leg is more your style—just don’t forget your hook hand! Once you have created your ideal pirate, you start out in Black Shore, where you will grab some initial supplies for your adventure. Advice provided by the general store will have you getting some cannonballs, wooden planks, food, and water. Once you stock up with your initial funds, you will sail to Cramton, which, after a very short jaunt across the sea, you find unoccupied.
Finding the island empty, you proudly declare that it is yours from today forward, and thus you unlock your ability to govern an island and collect profits from its resources garnered. You will be recruiting crew members for your ship, and you can also recruit population for your island. As your population increases, the amount of money your island generates increases as well! As you govern your island and build facilities for your island, you will be able to adjust how much effort and manpower is being devoted to various parts of your economy and defense, which will be important to ensure that your island is not a prime target for enemy pirates!
A Pirate’s Work Is Never Done
When you travel between islands, you will have to manage your food and hunger for your crew, in addition to dealing with the random events that occur when you are in transit. From your crew getting sick, seagulls hitting and damaging your sails, all the way to shipwrecking or finding a hidden treasure! The main thing you will encounter, however, is other pirates! The ship battle mechanic is fun. You have 4 options at the most basic level: you can fire your cannons, you can move to board the other ship, you can repair your ship, or you can flee the encounter. Firing cannons generally comes down to who has the most firepower, as you just stand there floating while firing cannonballs at one another, but in the early game at least, I saw a lot more success with attempting to board the other ship!
As you move in on the other ship, dodging their cannonballs, you will enter a ship battle with the other ship, which is an encounter between ship captains on a board between the captains. You have to attack him with high, low, and mid attacks, while defending against theirs with your quick reflexes! When you beat them, you will gain money, resources, and even crew members, so it is a very advantageous way to resolve a conflict if you are good at the boarding battles.
The basic game-flow is traveling between the islands required to complete the quests you have taken on, while you deal with the events that take place and keep your ship and crew in good health and repair, and finally getting a nice big chunk of cash when you finish a quest so you can continue to improve your ship and town. You can get different kinds of cannonballs and bigger ships, in order to become more effective in combat and keep building your pirate empire as you go along!
Don’t Sink is a fun game with good writing as well, and I found that a lot of the quest dialogue and random events had some funny moments and a distinct style. I had a good time with this game, but ended up feeling like it was a little repetitive once you get it set up with the main things you need, and it's a slow grind up against getting decent RNG with your random events. I got lucky and was able to make a good big random event that let me get a big ship, which made the whole game scale to me having a HUGE ship with a massive crew, compared to what I had before. This had ultimately led to making the game pretty tough for me to move forward. Don’t Sink is a fun little RPG/Pirate Simulator game that started to wear on me after a few hours, but I still enjoyed my time with it. And, for $9.99, it will give you enough time to make that worth it—and I know some people will fall in love with it! I give Don’t Sink a 6.5 out of 10 for, an above-average pirate-adventure that will give you some good times!
Final Score: 6.5/10
Buy Don't Sink from the Nintendo eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Hitcents