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Video Game / Flotsam

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Flotsam is a cheery Survival Sandbox Space-Management Game set in a post-apocalyptic, flooded world. The starting point is one functional boat manned by three drifters and the goal is to build a functional, mobile town around with all the trash society left behind when it came to an end. Flotsam is being developed by Pajama Llama Games as the company's first long-term project. It entered Steam Early Access on 26 Sept, 2019.

As of June 25, 2020, the challenge of the game is limited to managing hunger, thirst, and tiredness of the crew, further challenged by disease and increasing stat penalties for each day needs aren't met. Each drifter comes with a randomly selected pre-flood and post-flood skill presented as their backstory that determines their stat perks, which aren't affected by the aforementioned penalties. Also recruitable are seagulls, which scavenge the sea's surface for plastic and wood, thereby freeing up time for the drifters.

Flotsam provides examples of:

  • After the End: Presumably due to global warming, the world got flooded in phases some decades ago. Most pre-flood skills indicate adulthood before the floods, while a few, like Wiz-Squid, mention a post-flood upbringing. There's only remnants left from what society was before and some of the sea life isn't looking like it used to either.
  • Anime Hair: One haircut drifters can have is a ponytail shaped like a fishtail. A female-only haircut involves the hair being wrapped around a bottle.
  • Black Comedy: The pre-flood skill Renowned Captain, in reference to the fate of the RMS Titanic, notes that the drifter sailed the world's largest cruise ship into the very last remaining iceberg. It's described as "the most embarrassing boating accident ever recorded."
  • But What About the Astronauts?: The pre-flood skill Astronaut notes that the drifter crash-landed a year after the floods and still isn't quite sure what happened while they were gone.
  • Cel Shading: Flotsam employs a mid-deformed style framed in thick black lines to add a touch of grit. Colors are bright, but muted towards blue.
  • Character Portrait: Not so much for the drifters, which files have the models in a frame to serve as the portrait. But the seagulls do have drawn portraits. There's a selection of seven available, which are assigned to the seagulls at random.
  • City on the Water: A successful settlement eventually becomes a very ramshackle version of this, as salvaged wood, plastic and metal are used to create a network of floating walkways, homes, workshops and storage areas centered around the starting boat.
  • Cool Boat: The townheart is a large, oil-fueled boat with a decent storage capacity (and outright superior water storage capacity). It becomes the center of the town and is the sole means by which the town can be moved across the sea.
  • E = MC Hammer: Within the Research Station stands a large chalkboard that serves as a progress bar. When research is being done, the drifter fills it with diagrams, calculations and notes. When the board's full, the research is completed and a new building gets unlocked.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: The game can be played at the default pace, 2x as fast, and 3x as fast. Cute as the default pace is, it's too slow to make gameplay efficient and so you'll be using 3x most of the time.
  • Flooded Future World: The Earth was flooded over and covered by ocean by an unknown cataclysm in the recent past. The survivors either live in small fishing villages clinging to the few emerged rocks left or go around in nomadic boat cities collecting scrap floating in the oceans and picking over the few ruins that still stand above the waves.
  • Fun with Homophones: One post-flood skill carries the title of Master Baiter.
  • Mobile City: The player starts out with a single boat, but over the course of the game adds platforms and structures to it to transform it into a full, floating settlement that roams around the oceans of the world.
  • Ocean Punk: The whole world is flooded, your town is literally garbage meticulously arranged around a single boat, and seagulls are man's best friend.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Traffic Jam: The Viaduct is an island that's actually an elevated road. There's still some abandoned cars left atop of it, which is great for salvaging metal scrap.
  • Refining Resources: Advanced resources can be found on the remaining islands — some former mountains, others the tops of flooded structures — but not in the quantities you'll be needing. Neither fish nor seaweed can be eaten without preparation. The building material dry wood has to be obtained from drying the otherwise useless wet wood. From dry wood, firewood can be made, which is a fuel needed to power many other facilities (until they're upgraded to the electrical grid), including those producing drinkable water. Plastic is a primarily a building material, but nearly useless as plastic waste, which has to be converted to floaters to get the most out of it.
  • Salt Solution: The post-flood skill Ghostship Hunter notes that a little salt in one's pocket keeps the ghosts away. A lot of salt in one's pocket has the opposite effect (and is overall just unpleasant).
  • Scavenger World: The premise of the game is to make the most of trash, since it's close to all that there is left on resources from before the apocalypse. Some things, like wood and plastic, can be found drifting around, while heavy materials like metal and fragile materials like books can only be found on the few remaining islands.
  • Space-Management Game: You build in a circle around a boat, making it the townheart. You can not build outside of the limits of that circle, although structures can protrude a little beyond. Mooring points in particular are wise to put on the outskirts as far as possible because only the post needs to be within the circle. The huge amount of space reserved for the boats' movement can be placed outside circle's limits.
  • Suicidal Sadistic Choice: Drifters must eat to live and can only forego food for three days, during which their efficiency increasingly dwindles. However, most dishes that can be prepared are polluted and will gradually cause the drifter to become sick. Once they hit the tipping point, they return to bed for about two-thirds of the day to sleep it off. Especially early on, the loss of manpower is big and may affect the ability to gather food for the next day. If food is available, it can't be prevented from being eaten, but one can plan ahead to prevent food being available at a certain point to guarantee the manpower will be available the next day.
  • Sunken City: The water is just transparent enough that you can see the seafloor. There's remnants of cities here and there.
  • Swallowed Whole: The post-flood skill Whalebelly Survivor indicates that the drifter resided in a whale for months, gathering scrap until they could fix up their ship and sail right back out.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Food, water, building materials (wood, plastic, metal), and energy are the primary resources looked for. A game starts with a decent amount of food, water, and energy, setting the stage for a race against the clock to get the means to generate more food and water and improve energy supply and storage as the ship gets heavier with more resources and needs more energy to be moved. Drifters and seagulls to increase the town population are rare but necessary finds.