Just because you're shipwrecked on a deserted island with no rescue in sight, that's no reason not to take in the sights and do a little homesteading at the same time. At least, that's the idea behind the island farming adventure, Stranded Sails: Explorers of the Cursed Islands. Despite the dire circumstances that players are dropped into, being shipwrecked on a mysterious island with your father bedridden due to injuries and your crew scattered about, the game is surprisingly light-hearted. The island's bright and colorful, and the character designs are cute and happy. It feels less like a test of survival and more like a cheerful vacation. Unfortunately, there are some frustrating gameplay issues that keep the waters choppy in this seafaring adventure, making a player's sailing anything but smooth.
While the simplified gameplay is meant to be one of Stranded Sails' biggest draws for younger players, it's also the proverbial albatross around the game's neck. Exploration's little more than running long, winding paths back and forth, not leaving much room for actual exploration. While running out of energy doesn't have any permanent repercussions, it's irritating to collapse from exhaustion and have to start a long trek all over again just because you took a left turn instead of a right. Cooking's another exercise in frustration as recipes require specific ingredients to be used in a specific order, but without any real direction. As recipes get more complex with more ingredients, so do the number of possible combinations to fail. As for the farming, it quickly becomes a monotonous routine that just passes the time. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's also just going through the motions. In spite of this, Stranded Sails: Explorers of the Cursed Islands still has plenty of fun moments that can deliver a good sense of accomplishment, particularly for younger gamers.