Robinson Crusoe: Shipwrecked

It's not often that you find an admitted slave trade collaborator still being celebrated in the 21st century, yet Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and the tales of his shipwrecked adventures with 'Man Friday' still have some currency in today's thankfully multicultural society.

It's the man's sense of adventure rather than his politics that continue to fuel interest, and Exkee's 'RPG-lite' sets about introducing a guide to surviving on a deserted island, step by step. It gradually teaches you in the calmest way possible just how to go about feeding yourself and making your way in what initially appears to be a dank and hostile world.

Well, to be fair, finding yourself with nothing but nature for company in a strange new land is never exactly going to be welcoming. In Exkee's Robinson Crusoe: Shipwrecked, Mr Crusoe is cast onto a foreign island, with his ship - the Amber Queen - smashed to pieces. Some of these pieces prove quite useful.

In fact, RC:S is all about making use of what's right at your feet and what's hanging above your head. With nothing but a knife and a flag at your disposal, your job is to scavenge everything you find and, more importantly, use everything you gather to create the tools you need for sustained life.

Viewed from the top down, this generally involves wandering around the map, picking up any items you find and combining them to form more useful objects.

But, as in real life, there are limits to your durability in this spiky setting. Sleep deprivation, hunger and thirst all have their parts to play, and each step you take has an effect on all three, meaning regular snacks have to be incorporated to stop Robinson dying of exhaustion.

The need for sleep effectively limits the length of your activity. Recovery can only be achieved by taking a quick nap mid-game, or by saving and quitting entirely, making play a question of short, sharp bursts rather than hour long marathons.

In truth, RC: S doesn't really lend itself to long play time, instead offering nuggets of escapism. It's a methodical game where each goal you meet is followed up by another. Your actions are restricted to set areas, such as looking at anything you come across, picking it up to put in your arsenal, or making use of it.

Everything you can make comes with a list of ingredients, as it were, with what you've already picked up set off against what's still on your shopping list. For example, making an axe - pretty much a necessity as soon as you arrive - is a question of collecting a stone, a couple of branches and a vine.

Mini-games also make the line-up - taking down fruit from the trees is an early test of angles - but on the whole, Robinson Crusoe: Shipwrecked's bulk comes from exploration and experimentation.

The game actually has much in common with recent iPhone star Return to Mysterious Island, with both games aiming to immerse you in a typical adventure yarn - although Robinson's tale is slightly less focused on riddles.

Robinson Crusoe: Shipwrecked is unlikely to break any boundaries or impact too heavily on your life, but it has a subtle charm that will keep those who like indulging in point-and-click style adventures shipwrecked for much longer than those who thirst for action on a grander scale.

Robinson Crusoe: Shipwrecked

Slow but solid, Robinson's shipwrecked yarn is a typical case of piecing together puzzle after puzzle to move forward. Just don't expect anything earth-shattering
Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.