Not too long ago I talked about Make Sail and how it was crowdfunded via Fig. However today, I got a real close look at just what is going on with Make Sail, what it is, and how the building works, with the developer, Ziba Scott. What is Make Sail? You start off an Island with a fistful of legos basically, to build a small boat. Your goal is to explore far-off islands, acquire Storm Keys which will push the massive storm wall back so you can explore more. Getting to these islands will reward you with the Storm Keys as well as new pieces to add to your boats. One of the big questions I had was, “What if my boat sinks? What if a piece breaks off?” Fortunately, when you get to a build station, all your boat pieces come back and the boat is rebuilt right there, so you don’t lose anything, even if you go rocketing into a rocky outcropping that explodes your dinghy into pieces!
One of the cool things about it to me, is how much attention to physics they pay. Scott was kind enough to show me exactly how the forces act on each other, from drag, to the direction of the wind, the water, and much more during one of the trips to an Island. That doesn’t mean you have to be a master of sailing, architecture, design, or physics to enjoy it. Ideally they’ll help you with that as you go, and it could be also used as an interesting teaching tool. I also appreciate that they’re looking for reasons to motivate you to building a better boat, other than “Hey, I want a cool boat”. I mostly saw pretty primitive pieces of boat, like wood, horns, cloth sails. But they did sneak preview some of the higher end materials you could get. My favorite so far was probably the Energy Sail, where you draw three points and it creates a sail made of… well, energy, that you power via Energy [a finite resource, so you can’t just go wild].
I also want to point out that this game is absolutely gorgeous. The pastel look, the humongous differences between day and night, the visuals for the storm wall, everything down to the tiniest detail is just beautiful. That’s what grabbed my attention at first, but I stayed for the creation. And that’s the name of the game, creation. Pushing the limits of the physics, discovering what works, what doesn’t work. If a boat fails, that’s okay because you can return to the creation station and get your parts back and try again. They aren’t trying to punish you for failing at building a great boat. The idea is that if it fails, it will probably fail in a spectacular fashion, give you a good laugh, and then you can learn from your mistake and try again. I already have a few ideas for boats I’d like to build. Massive, humongous vessels that cannot be capsized by any creature of the sea; no wind or wave will stop them. Now that’s my kind of boat. Why worry about speed when I can just crush the water beneath my weight? Anyway, that’s what I saw in Make Sail. It’s definitely, 100% worth keeping an eye on. And that’s coming from me: Pictures of boats make me seasick and I still want to play it.