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Despite the implications of the name “tinyBuild”, the publisher’s upcoming action/adventure sailing sim for the PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Switch looks to be anything but small. The indie firm has quite the repertoire on the publishing front, providing the platform for hits like Mr. Shifty, Hello Neighbor, and Streets of Rogue.
Along with developer FluckyMachine, the publisher is set to market a fun, chaotic twist on the sim genre — with the unique concept of tending to a small, junky raft. This interesting hodgepodge of gameplay styles is decorated with an equally charming and unique hand-drawn art style.
Based on the short reveal teaser alone, Trash Sailors showcases loads of fun action and interesting mechanics — from steering and onboard repairs to staving off sea creatures and blasting enemy boats pirate-style. Additional footage highlights various hostile weather conditions and obstacles like tidal waves, trees, and floating debris. These treacherous hazards must be traversed and maneuvered around to keep your makeshift raft sailing smoothly.
On a visual level, the game takes on the vibe of ’90s Nicktoons or indie animated shorts by way of sketched assets and colorful, multi-layered cells. It’s a delightful, whimsical storybook feel that adds to the fantastical nature of this sea-faring journey.
The gameplay largely hinges on the goal of fishing the deep blue seas — but not for fish. Instead, sailors will be scouring the waters for, you guessed it — floating trash. Fittingly, Trash Sailors seems to embrace the notion that “one pirate’s trash is another’s treasure.”
These salvageable scraps are collected throughout your sailing expedition to be used as a sort of universal fuel source or currency. Not only can these scraps be used to power and repair the ship, but they also double as ammunition for undesirables that threaten the voyage. These threats can be blasted away with onboard cannons, provided they don’t get destroyed first.
Trash collectors are tasked with targeting specific pieces, such as old chairs, water bottles, and blenders, which are prompted via on-screen visual cues. Feeding the correct scraps into the ship’s generator will build up resources that will allow you and your crew to live to fight another day.
As has been touched on, Trash Sailors draws from a sea of multiple genres and concepts for its fun, diverse gameplay. It partly borrows elements from survival romps, combat-laden roguelikes, and even fishing games.
Mainly, though, the game channels the fun, hectic feel of a multitasking co-op akin to Overcooked. Of course, Trash Sailors doesn’t adhere to the appetizing theme of that indie hit, but rather, the general gameplay and mechanics. In a similar fashion, up to four pirates can simultaneously man a single raft while taking on unique, improvised duties, either locally or online.
While the Overcooked parallels are fairly obvious, the experience somewhat departs from that more lighthearted game with an even tougher difficulty level and swift, frantic pacing overall.
The random, crazy nature of the game will often force the juggling of tasks and swapping from one job to another on the fly. The shifting conditions of the treacherous seas will demand the focus on different areas at different times. In one moment, violent storms or towering icicles may require sharp navigation and steady steering. The next moment, enemy ships or killer spiders could emerge from the waters, demanding more focus on firepower and combat.
Not only this, but players will often have to work with a small palette of available resources, as only certain sea junk will be accessible in a given time. Add this to the frequent curveballs mentioned before and you’ll likely be in for a bumpy ride.
Still, it’s this sort of tough, adrenaline-fueled romp that often makes for the best time, especially when braving the seas with a friend or three.
tinyBuild is offering a taste of that pirate rafting life with a brief but entertaining demo on Steam. The early build offers a handful of distinct trials, including an icy tundra and croc-infested marsh. Playing through a couple of stages gets the imagination churning as to what other sorts of crazy voyages, colorful baddies, and tough challenges could be lurking on the horizon in the final release.
If this thrilling demo is any indication, Trash Sailors should make for an exhilarating romp when it releases later this Spring.