Trash Sailors is a level based approach to a game like Raft. Instead of drifting in a vast open ocean, you navigate smaller, individual levels.
The game is pretty similar to Raft on a smaller scale but it actually feels like the frantic, anxiety induced game play one would find in Overcooked. Your raft in Trash Sailors moves forward automatically. You have to steer the raft to avoid obstacles otherwise your raft will get damaged and lose pieces. You also have to keep the engine fueled, the spotlight lit (for the nighttime levels), and keep hooking in trash to feed the grinder.
All tasks can be done by using scrap produced from the grinder. You can get bonus scrap by collecting only the pieces of garbage shown by the grinder. For example, it may want two chairs and one telephone. If you collect and feed the grinder only those pieces of garbage, you will get extra scrap.
The game play is simplified thanks to everything using scrap but it’s still very frantic. Steering the raft is not easy and having to grab enough garbage to feed the grinder, refuel your motor, repair your raft, and keep the lights on is very, very hectic. The game is definitely meant to be played with other people.
For solo players, you do get a robot partner. You can place the robot at the steering wheel to let you steer the raft by pressing Q or E or you can place the robot near the front to let it automatically grab garbage every once in a while.
You may think this makes the game much easier but that is far from the case. The game keeps throwing obstacles at you in every level, keeping you on your toes and guessing as to what may come next. One level had a torrent of waves that would sweep you and your companions off the raft. Before that you had to navigate in complete darkness and giant spiders would come attack you if you had your lights off.
The game felt pretty fun to play. I was a little disappointed because I personally love the game Raft and I wanted a more open world game centered around exploration and crafting but this turned out to be pretty fun once I got the hang of it. It definitely feels like something much closer to Overcooked, where you have to complete many time sensitive tasks with other people with the game constantly throwing obstacles in your way.
Overall, Trash Sailors is a pretty fun co-op game. It’s frantic, frustrating, but completely rewarding when you successfully finish a level. The game also has a decent sense of progression where you earn bolts for completing levels and you can use them to unlock permanent upgrades to make the game easier or cosmetic items for your player character. It’s definitely not what I was expecting but it turned out to be fun in a different way.