Island is a roleplay and strategy game where you play as a castaway in the eighteenth century. Inspired by Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" and Jules Verne's "L'île mystérieuse" (Mysterious Island) style and setting, and carefully crafted by a tabletop GM, the rules of the game are designed so you, the player, can quickly pick up the game, and are then quickly offered a punishing challenge.
Carefully explore a procedurally generated island. Scout areas for resources and dangers, and plan your trip with caution. Each island will offer a different challenge in matters such as accessible resources, events, means of escape, and other elements. The game's action happens in the short and long range views spontaneously, each side of the screen allowing you to plan your next action with a short or long range skill, depending on what you deem the most urgent need to fulfill.
Each action, be it searching for resources or just exploring, costs time and energy, and the night draws near. Will you reach your shelter in time or build another one in a hurry with whatever you can find ?
Deep in each area, face danger, hunger, sunburn, and fever, to collect scarce resources. Each type of terrain will offer specific resources and challenges, and depending on the island generated for you, you'll have to adapt to the situation.
You'll be able to walk, swim, and paddle your way through various unwelcoming terrains.
A side of the island with mostly mountainous terrain will probably offer caves for protection, while another flatter side of the island, made up of mostly beaches, will provide ease of access for fishing. Jungles, on the other hand, will give access to plenty of wood and foliage to build strong shelters. Always keep an eye out for resources on the map like fruit trees, or on areas of specific interest.
Next, discover a quick insight on how to play Island. To restart the image sequence, just click on it :
Focus your search for resources on construction elements, like branches or foliage, or more urgent necessities, like food and water. Each area will offer specific resources and dangers, and you will have to plan your collection depending on your needs.
Water is certainly the most crucial of the resources you will need. Keep an eye out for sources, or rivers. If none is in sight, find a pond or a swamp, but make sure that it's clean enough to drink. Always keep in mind as you journey not to stray away too far from hydration sources, or come up with a way to bring the precious fluid with you, and save it to the last drop.
When you accomplish actions or just explore around, time passes, and conditions of survival will be radically different once you reach the night, if you haven't built a sufficient enough shelter.
Meteorologic effects like night or rain and symptoms like fatigue, or hallucinations, will alter perception and other attributes of your character, rendering each situation trickier and each decision taken more sensitive.
Everything around you is dangerous if you're not sufficiently prepared. Entering a deep jungle can cause a rolling effect in the map, and hinder your perception of the area. Do it before the night, and you may be lost for good. This good shelter you built yourself on the beach and the provisions you've stored there for later won't do you any good in the dark, if you can't find your way back to this beach. The night, the rain, the heat... Weather can be punishing in many ways.
You'll notice that in some screenshots, the ocean sometimes changes in aspect. In fact, sometimes the tides and the current rise, depending on wind, speed, and weather. Be aware of strong currents in that case, when swimming or rowing to another island. It would be a shame to get lost again.
The weather is one of the greatest sources of danger : You get cold fast under the rain, and larger storms limit your range of view. You can't see much at night, or during sandstorms. On the other hand, sunny days can be very hot and while you'll get thirsty much faster, you'll have a better view of your surroundings.
Establish multiple shelters of various durabilities and sturdiness along your path, with the resources you have been collecting.
Some places, because they may for example offer more food sources than usual, or a stronger protection, may be the ideal spot to build a stronger base camp. The more you work and invest materials on your shelter, the sturdier it will be, and the longer it will last. You may focus on a specific need when reinforcing your shelter, making it more durable, stronger against cold, or more waterproof, as you suspect an upcoming storm.
Keep an eye on the weather, as nights in tropical areas can harbor storms with icy winds of horrendous strength, against you and your shelter : Reinforce it accordingly.
In the next image sequence, discover how dangerous nights can be. Click on the image to re-start it :
During exploration, while you may bring food and smaller objects with you. The larger resources that you will use for construction, like branches or rocks, can't be transported. And as shelters must be built in the vicinity, resource collection must be planned accordingly.
The island is much bigger than what you can walk in a day, and maintaining a solid base camp with good protection isn't enough: you'll need other shelters, strategically placed along your favorite routes.
See : today you were so busy with exploring that corner of beach where you found an unusual quantity of clams that you didn't notice the day almost ending, and there isn't a single piece of wood, or rock, or anything, to shelter yourself or even light a fire with. Worse, you are near a marsh, infested with mosquitoes the size of a fist. Or so it feels, with the numerous stings during a short night where you'll severely regret an error you will probably not commit twice.
Let's talk about another important point. Each day, you'll have many ways of finding sufficient sustenance. While scavenging only requires for you to have a good eye and common sense, you'll quickly have to teach yourself a specialized set of skills.
At first, your most basic skills should include fishing, and making traps, but along with gaining dexterity and cleverness, the bolder and hungrier among you should learn to craft the appropriate weapons in order to do primitive hunting.
While there are numerous ways to find meat, from scavenging, traps, fishing, or looting remains of wrecked crafts, hunting is the most rewarding yet risky one.
Many factors weight in : the weapon you choose, approaching the animal downwind in order to avoid your scent being picked, the weather, and the current condition you and the animal are in.
Hunting is a very risky process for you as well as for the animal. It is a battle for survival after all, on both sides. You should always measure the risk, and know when to retreat.
During the hunt, like in many other situations, you can increase chances of the outcome being in your favor with a little tinkering and cleverness. The appropriate set of relics can reverse a situation entirely, and may even allow you to avoid getting hurt.
Let's talk a little bit more about hunger now.
You can't survive for long on just one food group : Vary regularly between meats, sea foods, and fruits, or risk various symptoms or diseases from deficiencies. Also animal products, while richer in proteins, can decay quickly in a tropical weather. You should quickly learn to salt or smoke these for later use.
Each food has unique properties that can be used to your advantage, but beware as a few of them may bear negative properties as well. In the end, it's all about how hungry you are, and how negative the impact may be.
Each type of food have a specific "disgust" score. A fruit is easier to keep down than say, worms, or some piece of rotten meat found on a carcass. Strongly revulsive meals will have proportionate negative effects. One of the skills you will be able to train will allow you to mitigate or even suppress these adverse effects, letting you gulp down almost anything.
During your explorations, hundreds of events could change your situation for better or for worse. Avoid predators, build, explore, find clear water sources, fish, or find remains from your or other shipwrecks, with a chance to find unique relics which will possibly increase your chance of survival, if you use them well.
Getting tired or ill can cause a rolling effect in the map and make you trying to figure out where you are a nightmare. Don't trust your own body, especially your feet : injuries mean being slowed down, where your capacity to reach the next resourceful or safe point is vital. Inspired by board games and tabletop roleplaying games, the multitude of possible events and available strategies will test your limits and offer you many hours of feverish play.
Depending on various factors including luck, patience, a set of skills for animal communication and a certain amount of fruity bribery, you may sometimes tame yourself one of the wild animals of the island. Friendship is your greatest ally against loneliness, and in addition to that, each tamable animal has unique capabilities that can help you greatly when played well.
And remember your most important skill in your every day near death situation : Think. Your situation will rarely be good, but to avoid catastrophy, you'll have to make the right decision at the right time. Remember where the most important places are, because you can't see far at night.
This place is tropical : a blue sky for breakfast can hide a punishing storm for supper. That is, if you eat today. As they say, a man can survive two days without water, and a month without food. And 6 hours in a pitch-black stormy night unsheltered, with an unsplinted broken leg.
Staying alive is hard. Keep an eye on health, thirst, and fever, and beware of crippling loneliness instigating madness day after day. Mend broken bones, craft balms for your aches & burns from plants, cover yourself with mud to reduce or avoid mosquito attacks, and don't forget to learn and apply new skills to adapt. Choose carefully what skill to learn every day to help you.
Choose with the upmost care which skill you wish to learn next:
"Quirks" teach you vital hands-on techniques to apply immediately, while "Resistances" will partially shield you against various misfortunes. "Tinker" lets you assemble crucial items for your most basic needs.
Just learning a skill isn't just enough, alas. Learning to use this skill properly takes time and you must consider the learning curve in your strategy. Enhance a particular skill's efficiency by practising it at the cost of time and resources, or invest your rare and precious skill points, earned with each day of survival.
Teach yourself to build the ideal tool for the ideal situation. Start by weaving nets to fish, or making clay recipients to conserve water or salted goods. Later, you could even build a canoe, to explore other islands in the vicinity. Don't just explore or collect resources : use your hard learned and trained skills and tools to do primitive farming, or even raise animals, if you succeed in catching a few of them.
When your short term survival is assured, try to escape the island by any means necessary. While there are many ways to escape the island, none are simple to achieve and some may not be available at all depending on your particular generated island. The means of escape are separated into 3 categories :
- Luck & endurance based : Ships may pass in the vicinity of the island a once a year. You can craft a signal fire, but it will require you to be around when the ship passes by.
- Skill based : There is a type of craft that can be built and allows you to take the high seas. It requires high skill specialization, and a large quantity of materials.
- Exploration based : By far the most interesting means of escape. When exploring around, you may discover the various remains of unfortunate explorers or natives. Those finds are rare, and their condition randomized. It is up to you to judge if it's worth it : Leave it hoping for a better solution, collect raw materials, or repair the structure and hope for the best.
We'll dive into one particular example. After roaming the coasts for a few weeks, the character finds the remains of an old fishing boat :
Remember that there will be miles of desert coasts, thick jungles, and endless swamps to cross before finding one of those means. And many more, if you choose to abandon a less than ideal situation.
When facing adversity, you must have courage and determination. Storms, hunger, and pain will erode your strength, piece by piece. Hold it together, as your will to survive may sometimes be the last thing keeping you alive.
Unfortunately, not all of you will make it. The automatic save system will add an excruciating weight to each of the decisions you make, and those of you lacking practice, or are simply on a stroke of bad decisions, will be sanctioned by a punishing inevitability.
Island has a unique and peculiar way of dealing with the character's stats, as well as of dealing with pain, and ultimately, death. Rather than having "hit points" that mean death once it reach 0, your survival is defined by a series of stats, each as vital as the rest.
This next infogram is for those of you wanting a deeper insight of the game's inner workings. Don't forget to click on the picture sequence to restart it in a new window if necessary.
The idea being : Don't get used to anything. Versatility and cleverness are some of the keys to survival. The available means of escaping will differ from a generated island to another, so it will be up to you, in each particular situation, to gauge what is the best decision. Keep an iron will and never give up hope of escape.
Rather than most survival games that are real time, Island lets you experience trying to survive for months on a desert island. Because it's rather about strategy than, say, collecting branches one by one, the action pauses when you need to think about the next step, and each day for our castaway usually takes a few minutes for you, letting you focus on the real, long term survival experience.
I would like to thank all of our early supporters as well as all game review websites having featured Island. Some of you are here from almost the beginning of our adventure, and it's definitively a big plus to have you by our side.
Island has been featured by Matt Doyle, Indie Watch, Razor's Edge Games, Safari Games (IT), GameLeaks, BulamacMedia (TUR), Elle May, The New Odyssey, Anjim Plays Blog, Vox Odyssey, ReviewFix, FullSync, Navi Games(ES), NintendoKid, Zocker Omi(DEU), and Game It (ES).
Latest articles : Dysentry may be inevitable... by FanboyTalks.
Everything You Need to Know About: Island by ReaperInteractive.
Kickstarter: Island (2018) by Retro Magazine.
Island – Survival-Pixelart-Game ist jetzt bei Kickstarter by Gamer's Palace (DEU).
Island, un jeu de survie sans demi-mesure (FRE) on Indiemag.
Island, un projet Kickstarter qui a le vent en poupe (FRE) on Best of Switch.
This article on IndieToaster.
Also check this early preview video by NintendoKid, on Youtube.
Here are the stretch goals for the game's kickstarter campaign :
We are a core team of 2 individuals, building Island with passion and perseverance, working relentlessly to bring you the best possible experience.
We also receive the help of a varied asset team of 4 other people from all corners of the globe, combining talent from Latvia, Kazakhstan, U.S.A., Mexico, and France (that's us). Our assets makers are creating visual and musical assets for Island.
While us, the concept team, work on this project out of our funds, we published this kickstarter to be able to properly pay our contractors and asset makers. Here is our asset team :
- Nauris Amanieks, pixel artist & animator
- Macs Suleimanov, background digital artist
- Todd Waites, narrator & inner voice of our unfortunate character
- David Vasquez, box and dialogue illustrator
Furthermore, a number of individuals have given occasional help for the project and are credited in-game.
While the original standard game mode is aiming to emulate the scenario of a lone individual struggling on a tropical island, we will include other alternate modes, distincts from this original setting, including :
- in "My island", configure the island with specific areas & challenges. While the standard game mode is about the classic tropical island and castaway scenario, in this mode you'll be able to stray from this expectation and craft the survival experience of your choosing. Size of the island(s), starting conditions, and also many exciting options including an endless mode, for those of you who want to play scenarios where you don't have to escape the island but instead, settle on it.
If you choose to stay, survive endlessly like a hermit, away from the civilization, and become the true master of the island.
- "Scenarios" : A set of alternate challenge scenarios, intended to be much harder scenarios, and centered around a specific theme. For example in "No running water" , you'll have to build water collectors to supply your fluid intake, while in "malaria infested marches", you'll deal with a punishing survival session, journeying amongst tens of thousands of mosquitoes, fist sized insects, and poisonous snakes in a nauseating valley where a place with a hard ground to rest on is a luxury.
- Also, expect more types of terrains for more scenarios. Stray from the original "tropical" fantasy in the challenge with tweaked scenarios. Cross frozen tundras and icy lakes. Wander around deserts in the excruciating heat. From flourishing jungles, to salt plains, to dried lava fields, and more. Each area will offer an assorted set of punishing challenges.
While Island was primarily meant as a solo game, we received a significant number of requests for a multiplayer mode. We received a lot of amazing ideas, and decided to add multiplayer as a stretch goal !
Opinions are shared between a collaborative multiplayer mode (PvE) where 2 to 8 players will play in collaboration, pool resources together, and apply various group strategies, and a savage mode (PvP), where players should be able to hide and hunt each others, and steal from each other's camp, all while surviving. While it's too early to show visuals about those multiplayer modes, we prepared a very raw mockup situation about player collaboration :
In the game's twitter community, we received a lot of requests for Island to be ported to consoles, with the most requests being aimed at the Nintendo Switch and 3DS consoles. We aim a release of both the PC and the console versions at once. Also, during the pre-launch period right before the kickstarter, as we received as significant number of requests for other target platforms, we decided to include a port to PS4, and a port to Xbox One as stretch goals.
For the first rewards, you'll find a digital preorder of the game on the platform of your choice (PC, 3DS, or switch), and depending on the selected package, you'll be receive the digital soundtrack as well as the pdf artbook.
For the "advanced" reward packs however, we wanted to give passionate backers the opportunity to choose and edit some of the most crucial elements of the game, as well as of course help us make the game a reality.
The next picture will give you details about each reward.
Together, we'll make sure that your idea fits harmoniously into the setting and rules of Island. The backers that select this type of reward will be sent a more detailed description of settings to help him or her make the best possible choice.
We also would like to offer the possibility to some of our kickstarter backers (no matter the pledge) to be selected for various beta testing phases. If you are interested in this particular part, please contact us through the appropriate sections below.
Questions, suggestions, ideas : Contact us directly through the kickstarter page, or on our Twitter page ! Click the previous banner.
Opinions about the game, comments, and ideas, are always welcome.
Please tell your friends about the game if you like it !
Risks and challenges
We are absolutely dedicated to bring this game to the world. Being behind the original concept and handling the development part of the job, we already invested months of work as well as personal funds to carefully craft the best possible experience.
About the core game & assets:
Currently, at pre-kickstarter phase, we are around at 30% progress for the PC version. We conceived Island in a way that it can be built with minimal funds, and its quality can be increased with the help of our asset makers. This kickstarter has multiple purposes: We first want to share the love with this amazing game concept, then use theses funds to pay our asset makers, thus scaling its quality. Island being our dream project, on our part we'll work relentlessly to deliver the best possible version. Without minimal funding, the creation of this game wouldn't be possible.
About the console versions:
Nintendo made the conversion process particularly accessible and friendly for independent developers. The new Nintendo consoles (Switch and 3DS) harbor neighboring technologies with the ones Island is being built with. Also on an emotional point of view, it would be really awesome for us to port this on the Nintendo machines. We planned for a little over a year as we included in our process the production of an interface that adapts harmoniously to PC as well as Switch and 3DS.
About the "tweaking" process:
To us, the most sensitive element of Island's conception will be the post-beta phase:
During the development process, to maximize the player's quality of experience, we'll cycle between testing the game on a preselected test group and going back to the development process in order to tune the game for the right amount of tension.
The responsiveness and availability of the test groups are absolutely crucial, and this is by far the most sensitive step of the game's production.
- (33 days)