The game was initially about playing as a customizable character who gets shipwrecked on an remote island. It can be played alone or in multiplayer, and either in a pure survival mode, the creative mode that removes the survival mechanics and unlocks all of the tools at once, or an editor mode that allows full control over anything on the island.
Eventually, however, the developer's focus drifted towards the creative mode features for multiplayer servers, with the game turning into something closer to a paid equivalent of Roblox. This shift concluded with the game's core throughout the Early Access period, the desert island mode, turning into a paid "Exploration" DLC for anyone who bought the game after it hit the Free-to-Play version 1.0
Tropes present in Ylands:
- Allegedly Free Game: The game was sold commercially during the Early Access period but can now be downloaded freely. However, while the commercial EA version automatically started off on the island archipelago, that entire mode is now an "Exploration" DLC, as the developers felt it wouldn't be fair for EA backers if the people who waited for full release got all the content for free.
- Black Bead Eyes: Every character is drawn with these.
- Discovering Your Own Dead Body: In the survival mode, every character who dies on the island stays dead. You then create another character who is meant to be another person who shipwrecked on the island, and they can discover the dead body of their predecessor, along with all the items they had on them at this point.
- Gender Is No Object: The main character's gender affects nothing besides their physical appearance.
- Fictional Currency: The so-called Coyns, which function much like Robux.
- Hollywood Darkness: Averted. The night is genuinely dark and requires a light source in order to see properly.
- Item Crafting: As with any other survival sandbox game, crafting items (up to and including vehicles) is a crucial part of the experience.
- No Plot? No Problem!: Other than the player(s) getting shipwrecked at the start, the game is essentially plotless.
- Wizard Needs Food Badly: As expected, the survival mode requires the player to eat regularly.