Sail Forth review for Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox, PlayStation

Platform: Switch
Also on: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5
Publisher: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Developer: Festive Vector
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Even though I jumped at the chance to review Sail Forth, I have to admit that it was entirely a case of loving its artwork and ignoring the fact that none of its component parts sounded all that appealing to me. I mean, it?s a procedurally generated sailing game that puts a heavy emphasis on naval battles and that features only the vaguest of plots. Given I like my games to be linear and story-focused and I hate water levels, I was a little worried I was letting myself be carried away by the cute-looking graphics.

Turns out that I love Sail Forth. It?s nice to be wrong sometimes.

What?s more, I love it not despite the elements I thought I?d dislike, but because of them. Take the procedurally generated world, for example: for the most part, it?s an absolute joy to simply sail around the map, seeing what new islands you?ll stumble (er, sail?) across. The game makes it very easy to drift across the high seas, letting the wind take you and your small fleet wherever it may. What?s more, it?s absolutely gorgeous, with a nautical world that?s a riot of colours that change with the different times of day and weather.

It also helps that the world has just enough things to do to keep you engaged, but not so much that you?ll feel like you?re on a never-ending series of fetch quests. You?ll come across pirates with whom you?ll engage in sea battles, spots for fishing, seafolk who just want to chat, other ships to race against, and a variety of other activities that make Sail Forth?s world seem alive.

The thing that may surprise me most, though, is that I love the game even though it has some obvious flaws. While there?s nothing more fun than having your ship fly across the waves at top speed, the wind in its sails, it?s a lot less fun when you?re trying to sail into a headwind, and you just kind of list along slowly, trying to turn your sails in a way that makes you move at all. Similarly, even though the ships are small, turning them takes a fair amount of effort, which means that when you?re in those naval battles, if someone gets on a side of you that isn?t well-armed, it?ll take a few moments to get your ship turned to safety.

But even with that minor annoyance, I still loved playing Sail Forth. It?s a gorgeous, relaxing game that changes every time you play it, and it?s got a world that?s easy to get immersed in.

The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild provided us with a Sail Forth Mansion Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-