The 13 Best Sailing Games Ever Made

These are the best games that let players sail around the open seas. Sailing is an exciting way to travel that isn’t often featured in games.

Getting to your goal by boat has always been more exciting than walking, driving, or racing. This is true both in real life and in video games. As the old fishermen say, you have to pay more attention to the sea because it changes its mind so often. Thankfully, this character has been caught by video games whose main gameplay is sailing.

On the whole, open worlds on the high seas are more fun than those on land, where players are mostly left alone. Because of this, the seas are the setting for many games. The best ones use sailing as the main exercise to help you learn more about the sport. People who want to play these games should get ready for the open water.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Metascore: 87

The Adrestia Is The Players Ship In Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Assassin’s Creed has always been great at letting you explore and fight in rich, almost historical settings, and Odyssey may be the best example of all of these great traits. The game puts players in the middle of beautiful, hilly Greece in 431 BC. They take control of a Spartan soldier and train them to be an unbeatable fighting machine made of metal and muscle. The game is an exciting mix of stealth, exploring, and satisfying action role-playing games. Sailing, the game’s most fun mode of transportation, makes it even better.

Even though it’s not as popular as, say, Black Flag, this is an even better and more fun place to go sailing. Because there are so many Greek islands spread out across the vast landscapes, players will be doing this action a lot. Still, there’s never a slow moment because there are so many sailing tasks and rewards, different kinds of fights, and great ways to customize your ship.


Steam User Score: 76%

Salt ship gameplay of first person player holding sword on shoreline with shining water and ship

This relaxing adventure from Lavaboots Studios plays on our innate need to explore and steal in a simple but effective way. Salt, which came out in 2018, has a beautiful desert with sparkling seas and intriguing islands that players can explore. The game has a calm pace and a lot of interesting gaming. There isn’t a lot of action in Salt, but the slow but high growth makes it worth it.

Adventurers have to build a raft from scratch using only the things they have on hand. They start by putting together a small raft and end up with a big ship and lots of money. There are more than 50 quests in this randomly created world, hundreds of things to find and trade with friends, and different pirates, traders, and priests to talk to.

Sea Dogs

Metascore: 71

Sea Dogs gameplay of ship sailing near boulders

Even though it’s old, Akella’s Sea Dogs shines as a deep and exciting role-playing adventure. If sailors really want to leave no stone (or rock) left, the whole thing takes more than 100 hours. As players try to take control of different islands, they sail the world as a bold new captain who wants to make their mark on the blocky, rectangular world.

Even though the graphics were a bit out of date, Sea Dogs was ahead of its time in many ways, including the size of it and the way the story could go in many different directions. Players can fight or completely take over the many forts that are spread out, either by themselves or with other players’ aid. They can choose to join one of three groups, or they can go against the rules and make their own way.

Sid Meier’s Pirates!

Metascore: 88

Dutch trading post by two ships in Sid Meier's Pirates!

There are still people who play Sid Meier’s Pirates! even though it’s almost 20 years old. It was one of the most big and complicated pirate games of the 2000s, so you could even say it was ahead of its time. Players take on the part of a handsome young man whose family was being held as slaves. He had to become a pirate to free them, or he could just be a scum of the high seas.

As you might expect from a 2004 game, the sailing is pretty basic, but it was a big part of how the players moved and will be what they do for the most part. Gamers need to think about the direction of the wind and other things because if they sail around randomly for too long, they will not make any progress. Time is also an important part of the game because the main character will get older. That kind of unique feature isn’t found in many games these days, but this one shows people who might want to make one how it’s done.


Metascore: 61

windward gameplay of sea battle overhead view near forest

For players who want an easier sailing view with a bigger view, Windward is great. The view is from above, and the player controls their ship and guides it through a world that is created by a computer program. Just because of that, the game world can be played over and over again.

To get people to explore more, their ships were made more flexible so that they could be improved and changed to better fight bigger leviathans. They can even change the landscape to their liking by bombing pieces of land, and their image is important in the game world.


Steam User Score: 91%

sailwind gameplay of large ship sailing through sea

Even though it’s been two years, this new sailing trip by Raw Lion Workshop is still in early access and looks good. As part of the strategy game Sailwind, players take control of a small ship and sail around a beautiful, realistic ocean.

Survival parts are also in the game, so players will have to feed their figures food and plan their moves. Of course, it’s not as exciting as those long-awaited pirate tales like Skull and Bones, but games like Sailwind can be helpful for stress relief.

Maelstrom (2019)

Steam User Score: 91%

Maelstrom monster on the shoreline

Most of the time, marine fights are slow and stressful games of chance, but Maelstrom doesn’t agree. Since it’s a fantasy warship action game, it has a lot of reasons to not follow the usual ship physics rules. Since sailing moves more quickly and isn’t just about who has the biggest guns and the meanest crew, it plays a larger role in the battle.

Customizing your ship is also a big part of this game, and it will keep players going as they try to get further. Of course, we can’t forget about the game’s lovely and colorful magical images. Each player can pick a clan or style for their boats, such as Orc, Dwarf, Human, or Undead.

The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Metascore: 96

link sailing on the king of red lions boat

Many gamers were drawn to this GameCube game set in a flooded Hyrule. Even though it is thought to be one of the least popular Zelda games because of its cute and stylized graphics. Wind Waker takes place hundreds of years after the famous Ocarina of Time. Players take on the part of young Link as he travels the huge, cell-shaded seas and islands in order to become a hero and face Ganondorf.

Along with pirate captain Tetra and a magic staff known as the Wind Waker. Link sets out on a nearly 30-hour trip to answer his calling and finish his task. Even though it looked easy, this 2002 comedy was bold and deep for its time. It kept gamers interested with its challenging fighting and sailing controls that were both relaxing and thrilling. It did a good job of capturing the magical Zelda spirit while also making its own way that not many games have followed since.

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

Metascore: 88

Edward Kenway in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag diving into pool near ship

In the Ubisoft series, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag is one of the most popular games. And it’s easy to see why. The game is really just a pirate game that looks like Assassin’s Creeds. It’s true that players have to go back to killing and converting sometimes. But the map is mostly water, and there’s a lot of focus on customizing ships.

It can also be played by one person at a time, and the killer questline can be put off so that the player can focus on sailing and pirates. Even more importantly, Black Flag sparked interest in a bigger project like Skull and Bones. Sadly, it looks like the ship has sailed for that one already.


Metascore: 85

dredge pale reach ice monster

The game Dredge from Black Salt Games is one of a kind because it combines fishing simulator and Lovecraftian horror. On paper, that might sound like a crazy idea that would lead to a campaign with a lot of emotional whiplash. But the way it’s done works because the whole thing has a constant air of danger.

In this dark fantasy world, Happy Wheels players spend their time exploring the waters to catch fish. They have to be careful not to stay out too long, though. Because the darkness brings a lot of scary challenges. When the sun goes down, the monsters come out to play. They look like they came from a bad dream and will scare you. The physics of sailing aren’t very complicated or deep, but they’re good enough to keep things interesting throughout the story. There are also a lot of interesting NPCs in the towns.


Steam User Score: 93%

Raft Grills on the side of ship

Raft is a survival game at its core, but what makes it unique is that it takes place on the water and players take control of a shaky raft. Then, they have to get supplies from nearby islands and landmasses and turn their raft into a floating castle.

And, of course, taking care of the raft isn’t like taking a stroll or a swim in the pool. For some reason, these sharks are smart and hungry, and they will bite at the raft every once in a while. Due to the nature of the game, players will enjoy it more if they bring their friends to help with the work (or the pain).

Sea of Thieves

Metascore: 69

Emissary Ships Sea of Thieves

When it comes to sailing games right now, Sea of Thieves is the king. It’s a funny and lighthearted online game about pirates and sea battle. The game is known for having the most beautiful water graphics. Because most of it takes place in the ocean (with a few island breaks).

Even better, players can just relax and enjoy the turquoise treat and salty blue while their friends are being shot at on the deck (though that’s not a good way to play). In any case, Sea of Thieves will keep players busy chasing treasure and singing their own Caribbean shanties. It’s a more engaging journey than other games.

Sunless Sea

Metascore: 89 (iOS)

sunless sea ship with top down gameplay

If we’re talking about realism, here’s a survival/RPG boat game with a lot of Lovecraftian horror. One of the most unique sailing games out there right now is Sunless Sea. It lets players go out into the unknown and explore, steal, and scrape by in a pointless life while they try to stay sane amidst all the fears of the deep and the dark.

If things get really bad, don’t worry—some team members are ready to give up an arm or a leg to make sure everyone stays fed. Most likely. It’s likely. They agreed to do it anyway. True, it’s not as peaceful as some sailing games. But the story and setting will make any Lovecraftian horror fan crazy with joy or just plain crazy.

mark harper

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