Raft – Beginner’s Guide: How to Play

Raft is a captivating survival game set in a post-apocalyptic world where players must navigate the endless ocean on a stranded raft.

Despite the final chapter being released 2 years ago and garnering over 250,000 positive reviews, Raft continues to draw in a dedicated player base enamored with the survival genre.

What Is the Goal of Raft?

In Raft, you assume the role of a scout tasked with discovering habitable land for humanity.

Embark on a journey through 8 different story islands, aiding individuals along the way, to uncover the narrative behind Raft and free Utopia from the tyranny of Olof.

Utopia represents the ultimate destination, serving as a promised sanctuary for displaced people worldwide. By vanquishing Olof in Utopia, you effectively achieve the game’s primary objective.

Nevertheless, as explored in our previous piece on post-Utopia activities, the goals in Raft can vary depending on personal preferences and playstyles.

While some players aim to complete the storyline, others may pursue goals like surviving on the raft for a year, constructing a towering edifice in the ocean, gathering rare items, or other endeavors.

The game affords players the freedom to shape their own objectives within its immersive world.

How to Play the Game

Upon commencing a new world and stepping onto the raft, players are equipped solely with a Plastic Hook and devoid of instructions.

As items begin drifting towards the raft, utilize the starter Hook by holding and releasing the left mouse button to ensnare floating objects in the ocean.

With a stockpile of resources, erect various structures essential for survival and strive to maintain optimal levels of hunger, thirst, and health.

As your odyssey unfolds, encounter diverse islands that offer opportunities for exploration and the acquisition of resources not found within the ocean.

Upon acquiring the blueprint for the Receiver and Antenna, embark on Raft’s tale by adhering to provided coordinates leading to the initial story island – Radio Tower.

A cyclical gameplay pattern ensues:

  • Resource collection and survival efforts
  • Exploration of non-story islands for additional resources
  • Raft and structure enhancements
  • Story island visits to uncover coordinates for subsequent narrative progression

The game concludes upon achieving Utopia or fulfilling personal aspirations.

First Things You Should Do

Commence your Raft journey by amassing as many floating oceanic items as possible.

Stockpile Planks and Plastics to expand your raft and fashion essentials such as:

  • Water Purifier for potable water
  • Grill for cooking sustenance and fish
  • Storage containers for item organization

As the durability of your starter Hook diminishes with each use, it is prudent to reserve a Plank and 2 Plastic to craft a backup Hook.

Give precedence to Barrels and Metal Safes for they yield copious items, including Scraps vital for numerous recipes.

Note: Ropes can be concocted from Palm Leaves in the Resources tab, whereas Scraps are exclusively obtainable from Metal Safes or on the oceanic floor near islands.

Solve Hunger and Thirst Problems

Combat early-game hunger by fabricating a Simple Grill using 6 Planks, 1 Scrap, and 3 Ropes.

Position the grill aboard your raft, add fuel in the form of Planks, and cook various sustenance for future consumption.

While consuming raw food remains a viable option, cooked fare replenishes more hunger points compared to its raw counterpart.

Opt for raw Beets and Potatoes in the nascent phases and sow surplus crops in Crop Plots to secure a sustainable nourishment reservoir.

In circumstances where fresh greens are scarce, craft a Wooden Fishing Rod using 6 Planks and 8 Ropes to catch small fish.

Cooked fish abates hunger significantly more than vegetables, albeit crafting a Fishing Rod is relatively costly in the early stages.

Purifying seawater for consumption is a simpler task, as scooping water directly from the ocean allows for limitless purification.

For detailed insights, peruse our guide on obtaining water in Raft.

The Shark

Foremost among concerns alongside hunger and thirst is the shark’s looming threat, prone to savaging a random foundation on your raft, potentially dismantling all erected structures.

In standard difficulty settings, the shark strikes every 5 minutes, necessitating a minimum infliction of 15 damage to repel it. Failure to do so results in the shark persisting in damaging the foundation until its annihilation.

In early stages, your sole weapon against this voracious predator is the Wooden Spear, forged from 8 Planks and 3 Ropes.

Dealing 5 damage per strike, deterring the shark entails landing 3 hits to ensure preservation of the foundation.

Upon successful deterrence, initiate the repair of the afflicted foundation to fortify defenses against future assaults.

Research Table and New Recipes

Erect a Research Table to unlock a myriad of new recipes and augment crafting capabilities.

For an in-depth guide on Raft’s research mechanics, delve into our comprehensive breakdown.

Prioritize the acquisition of pivotal recipes such as:

  • Smelter
  • Advanced Purifier/Grill
  • Empty Bottle
  • Simple Collection Net
  • Metal Tools and Weapons (Scrap Hook and Metal Spear)

The Smelter is pivotal for game progression, while other tools and structures substantially enhance the quality of gameplay.

Explore Islands

Islands materialize sporadically surrounding your raft. Anchoring your raft using a Throwable Anchor (early-game), Stationary Anchor (mid-game), or Advanced Stationary Anchor (late-game) enables island exploration.

These islands host specialized resources unattainable within the ocean like:

  • Sand
  • Clay

Initial exploration entails retrieving at least 14 Sand and 14 Clay from the ocean floor, fabricating 7 Wet Bricks, and drying them on your raft.

Resulting Dry Bricks are instrumental for Research Table endeavors, while residual Bricks contribute to Smelter construction.

The Smelter unlocks diverse smelting possibilities, enriching the repository of customizable items for creative crafting pursuits.

Foremost among smelting products is the coveted Metal Ingot, indispensable for crafting advanced toolsets and armaments that safeguard against relentless shark assaults.

Use the Receiver to Start The Story

Blueprints for the Receiver and Antenna are conferred after approximately 20 minutes of gameplay.

To operationalize the Receiver, placement on the upper floor juxtaposed with 3 Antennas is requisite.

Guidelines on Receiver utilization in Raft are expounded in our comprehensive tutorial.

Harness the Receiver to actively navigate to desired islands (green dots) or initiate storyline progression in Raft (blue dots).

Green dots denote expansive non-story islands harboring assorted flora and fauna ripe for domestication and resource harvesting.

These islands also host the Trading Post, a commerce hub facilitating acquisition of cosmetics, blueprints, and resources.

Acquisition of Trash Cubes and Trade Coins enable transactions at the Trading Post.

Trash Cubes are byproducts of the Recycler situated in the Radio Tower, while Trade Coins can be garnered vendoring rare fish acquired via Fishing Bait to the Trading Post.

Story islands (blue dots) furnish resources and loot, albeit modest compared to regular islands, chiefly functioning to divulge Raft’s chronicle and service novel recipes and coordinates for onward journey.

Balboa Island stands as the lone exception, featuring bountiful Bee populations ripe for Beehive and Honey production.

Mid to Late Game Content

Gameplay transpires in a cyclic cadence, encompassing resource collection from the ocean and non-story islands to craft essentials, followed by voyages to story islands for upgraded tools and quest completion.

Each story island traversal culminates in substantial raft enhancements through introduction of transformative structures.

Vasagatan bestows the Steering Wheel and Engine blueprints, affording seamless raft pivoting and heightened locomotive velocity.

Caravan Town introduces the blueprint for a Metal Detector, pivotal for Titanium acquisition.

This narrative-rich island further unveils the Zipline Tool and Battery Charger blueprints, facilitating island exploration and Battery recharging.

Every story island unveils at least 2 novel blueprints, promising elevated gameplay quality. Discover these enhancements firsthand to savor the thrill of progression.

Tips & Tricks for New Players

Enhance your Raft journey with these valuable tips and tricks.

1. The Craving System

Optimal consumption timing in Raft revolves around the craving system. Consume food and water when hunger and thirst bars dip below 1/3 for maximum effectiveness