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Flotsam is a beautiful sim where you salvage your own floating island

Debris, or not to be.

It's EGX 2019 weekend! Over the next few days we'll be bringing you quickfire impressions of some of the highlights from the show floor here at London's ExCel centre. You'll find them all here - and if there's anything out there you want to bring to our attention let us know!

I want to scoop every piece of rubbish from Flotsam's debris-filled ocean. I can't do much about the very real Great Pacific Garbage Patch (other than keep telling people no, crisp packets are not foil and not recyclable) but I can mark out floating reefs of virtual scrap for my team of collectors to swim out and gather up.

There's another reason to nab Flotsam's ocean salvage, of course, beyond the environmental. Like any other settlement simulation, your floating home needs resources - and these come from the waters around you, be it floating plastic or schools of fish. There are hints to Flotsom's ocean landscape being a kind of Waterworld view of a very wet future, but its visual style and brilliant azure sea bring its feel much closer to Wind Waker.

The fact Flotsam takes place on water is the most remarkable thing about it - not because the rest is formulaic, per se, but because of how well the aquatic setting fits a settlement builder. You have inhabitants, named drifters, who will work to collect scrap to dry out and turn into various resources, though you'll need to balance your population with the ability to feed and house them all.

Craft driftwood and plastic into planks, rope and netting. Scuppered vessels on nearby islands can be stripped of their parts. About 20 minutes in I gained the ability to sail my settlement elsewhere, unlocking new parts of the ocean and a collection of quests to explore further, and help out other settlers nearby.

Amongst the hubbub of the EGX showfloor, Flotsam was a refreshing world to soak myself in - and there's something undeniably pleasing to making order from the ocean's floating debris. There's a feeling the worst has already been done to this world. Quite literally, you are now helping pick up the pieces.

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Tom Phillips avatar

Tom Phillips


Tom is Eurogamer's Editor-in-Chief. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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