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Game of the Week: Why does Saltsea Chronicles feel so much like actual travel?

Sing out for new stars.

A title card from Saltsea Chronicles. Against a shifting sky, the text reads: The crew takes a minute to gather themselves.
Image credit: Die Gute Fabrik/Eurogamer

Our Game of the Week is Saltsea Chronicles, a beautiful seafaring adventure filled with choices and different islands to visit. There are people to meet, radios to listen to, dreams to sail and cultures to explore. I thought it was wonderful, and I hope anyone playing it over the weekend has a really magical time.

And now I'm finished, I've become intrigued by a simple question: why does this game that's largely filled with conversations and dialogue choices feel so much, not just like an adventure, but actual travel?

I think there are probably endless answers to this question, and the biggest one - which I want to touch on the least, because I want people to uncover it for themselves - comes down to the fact that each island you visit is so different to the last one. Each island in the Saltsea has its own culture, its own way of being in the world. It feels like travel because you're moving between really distinct, hand-made places.

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