You begin the game by creating your own captain. Everything from your captain’s gender to their hair, clothes, and skin tone are customizable. Want an eye patch and a peg-leg? You got it! Fancy a female captain who looks like Tom Hanks in Castaway? No problem. The choice is yours.
Right from the start, the game never slows you down with extended tutorials or long, drawn out conversations. It simply gives you a set of tools and let’s you jump right into living out those Jack Sparrow fantasies how ever you see fit.
Along the way, you’ll battle other pirates at sea, visit exotic islands with colorful characters, and maybe even discover abandoned treasure.
Exploring the Archipelago
In Don’t Sink you explore a large map, filled with unique islands that include different landscapes. You’ll discuss local rumors and discover the origin of each island by talking to the people that live there. Sailing back and forth between the islands is necessary in order to expand your control over the world and to increase your reputation.
And other pirates aren’t the only thing to be concerned about… Events you are totally unprepared for may occur. Things like a food-born illness breaking out among your crew or a flock of seagulls may come along and damage your sails. You’ll need to make sure you have the right supplies, to keep your ship afloat and your crew alive.
Paying close attention to the morale, hunger, and thirst of your crew will require you to maintain a balanced supply of food & water. You’ll have to consider whether or not rationing food is required to survive long journeys. Having a supply of wood and cloth is probably a good idea, as well, if you expect your ship to stay afloat. Remember, it’s called Don’t Sink! Historical vessels such as the Galleon and the Man of War are a few of the ships available to purchase as you fight your way across the map.
Land Lubbers & Scallywags
While at sea, encounters with other pirates occur randomly. Whenever you’re engaged in combat, a selection wheel appears with four options to choose from. You can fire your cannons, board your enemy’s vessel, flee from the battle, or repair your ship. Each of these actions takes a little time to perform, so you have to make your mind up pretty quickly if you expect to emerge victorious.
Governing islands you’ve conquered isn’t an easy task either, as you’ll need to solve economic issues before they get out of hand and try to keep the natives happy.
Having to care for your crew, maintain your ship, and expand your empire, means you’re constantly having to find ways to make more money and manage your spending. Some of the ways to do this include taking on delivery jobs, embarking on side-quests, and winning battles at sea.
We’re Heading off Course, Captain
The game’s RPG elements are thin and, I’m sad to say, the simulation and strategy suffer from the same problem. Don’t Sink failed to live up to the initial promise and it ultimately lacks depth.
Capturing an island is as simple as having enough crew on board to do so. There are no battles to take part in. You simply pick the island you want to take over and sail there. Once you arrive, the battle is settled for you. A screen will show how many lives were lost and then the island is yours. Once you take control of an island you can increase it’s population and spend money on new buildings. Soon, all of the islands started to feel the same. Despite having different environments, characters to help and secrets to discover, I wound up feeling bored. It all started feeling too similar.
The one thing that added to the island management, is that you’ll receive occasional messages that someone else has taken over one of your islands. There are no stat details of the battle, just a simple message that the island is no longer yours. At that point you can ignore it and let them keep it, or sail back and sacrifice more crew members to seize it back. This grew old as well.
Sights and Sounds of the Ocean
The graphics in Don’t Sink fit perfectly within the world that’s been created. There’s a nice variety in the background of the islands. You’ll visit scenic places with palm trees that cover the landscape all the way to lands with frozen backdrops. The same can be said for your sea-faring journeys. You’ll notice small details like a pod of dolphins swimming around your ship and birds flying above.
The music also fits in with the game’s atmosphere and never became overbearing or monotonous. Both the art and audio did their job in bringing the game’s pirate atmosphere to life.
Don’t Sink is a great title if what you’re looking for is a casual pirate simulator. Meeting new people, exploring and upgrading the islands, and sinking ships all starts out fun and satisfying, but it doesn’t last. If you’re looking for a deep adventure or a memorable story, you won’t find it here. Don’t Sink is visually pleasing and has a ton of potential. Its lack of depth and replayability keep it from being anything more than a game that’s fun in short bursts.
6/10 – An Average Pirate RPG
- Nice Art and Atmosphere
- Random Events
- Shallow and Repetitive
- Lacks Challenge
- Boring Combat
- Low Replayability