Don't Sink Review

Screenshot from Don't Sink
You'll need to visit ports in Don't Sink to recruit new crew and purchase supplies

  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Studio Eris
  • Publisher: Studio Eris
  • Release Date: 14 Apr 2018
  • Time played: 2.7 hours (INCOMPLETE)

What is it

Studio Eris is a small, indie development studio that consists of Sebastian Nigro, Chris Anselmo and Daniel Marques. There doesn't appear to be much information about the studio and it seems that Don't Sink is the only game developed by the team so far.

Don't Sink is described as a "Sandbox-Adventure-Pirate-RPG" where you have to manage a crew, battle other pirate ships and govern islands.

The game doesn't currently have a Metascore rating and on Steam it currently holds a "Positive" rating due to 77% of the 103 user reviews being marked as positive.

How I got it

I acquired Don't Sink through a Humble Bundle called the Humble Great GameMaker Games Bundle which means the game is developed using GameMaker Studio, the same engine behind classic games like Undertale, Hotline Miami, Risk of Rain and Cook, Serve, Delicious!.

I always have a soft spot for games set during the Golden Age of Piracy and it couldn't hurt that indicates this game only takes just over 3 hours to complete. Consequently, I decided to give it a go.

Screenshot from Don't Sink
Side quests are often humourous and a welcome addition

What I like:

Chaotic Good

Unlike many games nowadays which features anti-heroes or grey morality, it's refreshing to play a game where it encourages you to act as a proper hero and help the inhabitants of the islands you visit (so a pirate with a Chaotic Good alignment perhaps)? It might get a bit preachy at times but the game often manages to defuse the seriousness with well-timed humour.

Catchy music

Chris "Topher" Anselmo does a great job with the soundtrack by incorporating different variations of a common theme depending on which islands you visit. The theme is a very catchy one and I often found myself whistling the tune long after I finished playing.

It's Sid Meier's Pirates! Lite

There are quite a few similarities between this game and Sid Meier's Pirates! (arguably my favourite PC game set in the Golden Age of Piracy, besides The Secret of Monkey Island of course) such as boarding ships which results in a swordfighting mini-game complete with health bars based on the number of remaining crew. The game also bears some similarities to Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag such as developing your own Pirate Haven and sailing between islands to do random side quests.

Plenty of side quests

Speaking of side quests, considering the game is rather short (more on that later), I was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of side quests to do which helps keep things interesting as core gameplay can get stale after a short while.

Steam Achievements, Trading Cards and Leaderboards

The game has 15 Steam Achievements you can work towards and 7 Steam Trading Cards to collect. The game is also integrated with Steam Leaderboards so you can compare how you're doing against your friends and the Steam population at large.

Screenshot from Don't Sink
While there's nothing particular bad about the ship combat mini-game, it can tiresome after a while.

What I dislike:

No ending

This could be perceived as a pro not a con, but unlike games like Sid Meier's Pirates! and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag there's no gameplay mechanic that encourages you to retire (e.g. ageing of your captain in Sid Meier's Pirates!) nor is there a storyline campaign that you can complete (such as the one in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag).

Consequently, the game is finished whenever you feel like you've had enough, which is fine for some but not as satisfying for those that feel they need closure :).


As mentioned, the game is pretty short. Yes, I also mentioned that there's no end (so you could technically keep playing forever) but I've achieved every single Steam Achievement except for one and it took me under 3 hours to reach this point.

Not much to it

The game is simple to learn, which is a good thing but there's not really much to it besides sailing your ship between islands, fighting other pirates during random encounters and then restocking with crew and supplies whenever you visit an island: rinse and repeat. I mean to be fair, Sid Meier's Pirates! is also similar but they had way more mini-games than this and the world felt a bit more alive as you saw ports change hands between different European powers throughout the course of the game.

Slight lack of polish

I did encounter a minor visual bug where my pirate customisation changed in one instance for no apparent reason. There are also some minor spelling and grammatical errors too.

Score – 7/10 (Not Bad)

Don't Sink is like a "lite", retro, pixelart version of Sid Meier's Pirates! and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and that's not necessarily a bad thing but it also means the few hours you invest in this will at first seem like fun but eventually feel like a chore, and once you feel you're done with it, there's very little reason to return.

Is the game worth $14.50 AUD?: No, it's really only a couple of hours worth of entertainment and then it's all over. Definitely worth a go if it's on sale though and you can usually find it for half-price nowadays.

If you like this game, you might like…
[ LINK: Yoyo Games: Don't Sink ]