Trash Sailors is a hand-drawn sailing simulator that can incorporate single player and up 4 player co-op via online multiplayer. The game recommends the use of game pads However, controls with just the keyboard work well enough. The version that I played for this preview is the Steam demo. The game’s initial release date is on the 30th of August, 2021.
At its core, the game itself is about maintaining a raft and making it through a stage with the sailors you have on board. There are 4 sailors to choose from – Baron, Herman, Francis, and Mary. Each has a certain unique look about them, made better by the hand-drawn style. Each character can do all the jobs necessary to maintain the raft. And none of them seem to do the job better than the others. What sets them apart from one another are their special attacks. Baron lunges at enemies with dual oars on both hands. Herman can do an AOE butt slam that’s so powerful, it damages the raft. Francis can land heavy blows with a metal pipe, but it takes a while to wind it up. And lastly, there’s Mary. She can use her harpoon gun to shoot at enemies from a distance.
Feeding trash to your personal grinder is top priority. But before you start hooking all sorts of junk from the sea, know that the grinder is a picky eater of sorts. At the bottom of the screen, there are 3 pictures of items that the grinder would want to convert. Getting any 1 of them before the timer runs out will net the player 2 blocks of resources. Feeding all 3 will reward the player with 8 stacks of resources, instead of the normal 6 that 3 pieces of trash would be converted from. The blocks can be used to repair the raft. Later on, blocks can used to power up your raft’s cannons. (Yes, the raft has cannons.)
In single player, the player can choose 2 sailors from the roster of 4 available sailors. The game runs on a deliberately slow pace when it comes to introducing players to new concepts… and for good reason, I believe. I say this because shifting controls between 2 characters can become very hectic. You can find yourself dealing with multiple unexpected problems at once, something that shouldn’t be much of an issue with friends around.
I do like the game’s approach when it comes to steering the ship. Having one sailor on the wheel gives the player the ability to steer the ship. In single player, that translate to you pressing Q and E, and using WASD with the other sailor. If you want to make hairpin turns, you’re going to need both sailors on the wheel. That’s how you can increase the responsiveness of the raft. For other instances, the others can jump on the sides of the ramp, potentially tilting the raft and away from danger.
At later stages of the demo, the game introduces cannons and enemies. That’s where your multitasking skills are put to the test. Imagine steering the raft, while aiming cannons at pirates, and FIXING broken chunks of the raft. I may be painting a very stressful image, but it’s really not that bad. At least after a few ill-fated runs. It just takes a while to get used to the controls. But once you’ve got your controls and priorities down pat, it is actually rather fun. Mostly from the satisfaction of keeping at pace with numerous crises.
Trash Sailors is shaping up to be some great chaotic fun. The fact that it’s not an endless floating simulator gives me hope for this title. Players don’t have to think about survival stuff like food and water. As far as the players are concerned, it’s about reaching the end of the stage with as little damage to the raft as possible.
My roughly 3 hours of playing the game had very few issues when it came to bugs. Which is pretty impressive for a demo. I do have concerns for the future though. For starters, I like that the levels aren’t too long that they don’t overstay their welcome. But how many levels will the game have at launch? And will they be enough to hold our attention for long? Then again, I can imagine most of the fun lies in the chaotic mess you and your friends could potentially find yourselves in. So, the game has that going for it. Especially if it’s going to be a pick-and-play kind of thing.
In any case, we’ll probably get more information about Trash Sailors ahead of its August 30th release.