I’ve spent a good number of hours in Breakwaters, and I’m sure there are innumerable hours still to come. Although I am no expert in all things Breakwaters, I do feel like I have enough of a grasp on the basics — and have experienced enough consequences for my early mistakes — that I can provide a few tips to any newcomers to the game that should make their initial experience more streamlined.

Note: I spent a lot of time with a pre-release build of Breakwaters, provided by the publisher. It’s possible that some of the things I talk about will change with patches as the game grows over time.

So without any further fanfare, ado, or delays, let’s jump right into my tips and tricks for getting started in Breakwaters.

Follow the main quest


If you’re like me, the moment you’re let loose in a sandbox or open-world game, you immediately stray from the main quest and get bogged down by foreign systems while juggling items that you may or may not need.

So it’s in your best interest to stick to the early main quest, which will get you acquainted with Breakwaters‘ crafting and water interaction systems. It should also get you started on the path to upgrading your inventory, which is frustratingly limited in the early part of the game. Once you leave the starting area, you will be able to upgrade your inventory to something a bit more robust, which will save you a lot of juggling and sacrificial items you might regret not having later.

Also, keep in mind that the mission structure is a bit rudimentary. As such, after talking to the quest giver to turn in a completed quest, you will need to then engage in conversation with them before they will dole out the next quest — the quests don’t just flow from one to another (though this might get updated at some point).

Don’t set up shop on the intro island


Seriously, don’t fall too in love with the first island. You will need to build a crafting table in order to progress through the main quest and subsequently leave the starting area. But unless you are perfectly content staying on this small island for as long as the limited resources will allow, there is no need building anything other than the items required to advance the main quest line.

Once you get to the next island, you will have far more resources, some of which don’t even exist in the opening area. At this point, you can now build to your heart’s content.

Stock up on coconuts and yellow crystal shards on the first island


You don’t need to go nuts… but there aren’t as many coconuts or crystal deposits along the shoreline of the second island as you might expect. Since coconuts are your primary source of non-distilled water, you are going to want to have a good stock of them so you don’t run out and find yourself a might bit thirsty.

The crystals will come in handy too, since they serve as the currency to purchase bottles of drinking water, but the price per bottle is a little steep, and crystal deposits are not overly abundant.

Also, it’s the smaller crystal shards that you’ll want more so than the larger ones, because although the larger ones are used in crafting, it’s the smaller ones that serve as a currency.

Don’t fear the Reaper


As far as I can tell, the only penalty for death is a black screen that slowly fades back in to reveal your character in the exact spot they died, with all of their unequipped items now strewn about. I didn’t notice an item penalty — a loss of X amount of Y, for example — which seems a little odd for a survival game. Mostly, it’s just a mild inconvenience, having to collect all of your stuff again before going about you post-death business.

If my findings are accurate, this might be something that gets patched or balanced in a future update, as there currently isn’t much of a reason to pay attention to your thirst and hunger meters. You can just play a quick game of pick-up once you die, since you respawn with full meters. Plus, if you happen to die offshore, you seemingly simply wake back up on land with all of your items scattered around you instead of lying in the depths below where you died, thankfully.

Set up camp on high ground, as close to a decent source of water as possible

Breakwaters - Low Tide

When putting down roots in Breakwaters, you will want to make sure your camp isn’t in an area prone to flooding, as this makes for a bit of an annoyance. But it also makes sense to be as close to the shoreline as possible.

So what do you do? Scout out a decent rock formation and watch to see if the tides — either early in the day or at night — overtake the formation at all. If it seems to remain high and dry, that’s where you’ll want to set up your base of operations, because…

Being close to water will help you with crafting

Breakwaters - Distant Colossus

Being close to the shoreline, and thus water, will come in handy once you start travelling via boat. Your dock will have a crafting station of its own, so having all of the resources you’ve gathered close by will come in handy.

But also, your individual crafting stations can be hooked up to a water network using bamboo pipes, and once they have access to water, this will allow you to craft larger quantities of items instead of making them one at a time. And when you have to make your dock, this will save you a ton of button-clicking.

I find it’s best to build the crafting station first, then run the pipes down to the water where you can hook them up to the pump. You will then need to run piping out the back of the pump and into a source of water. Be mindful of the ebbing tide so that your intact pipeline is deep enough that you still have access to that liquid gold, even when the tide is low.

Also, make sure you turn the pump on by interacting with it in close proximity. There are three settings: pump water into the pipeline toward your crafting station, pump it out if you are actively trying to drain some water, or turn it off.

Craft like your life depends on it… because it does


Seriously, once you start drilling into the crafting options on offer, you’ll want to start crafting as much as you can.

In most cases, you will need to craft the first tier of a multitier tree before you can access later tiers. So even if you don’t want a specific item, but you see a use for a later-tier item, it’s best to just knock out the earlier tiers to get to the stuff you want.

Now, in most cases, every lower-tiered item will be useful either by itself or in conjunction with the higher-tiered items, so theoretically you aren’t wasting resources or time. But if you only need a higher-tiered item out in the wild, away from your base, it’s better to have it available and ready instead of having to craft the items preceding it, which might prove detrimental in a pinch.

You don’t need to collect every single item you come across


Early on in Breakwaters, it doesn’t take but eight items before your inventory will be full. Thankfully, you are able to hold an extra item as your active item, which removes it from the main inventory. Your active item can be swapped between other items in your inventory, sort of like playing musical chairs.

Although it is tempting to want to collect everything you come across (because you don’t yet know when or where you might need it), that will prove to be a fool’s errand. You really only need to have a slot for a food item and one for a drink item — although even that, at least now, doesn’t appear to really be all that important if you don’t mind dying and collecting your items from time to time.

You will only need a few items for crafting, mostly tree branches, yellow crystals, and red sea plants — and even those you will only need a few of in order to meet the quest requirements to craft yourself out of the starting area. Once I crafted the flare needed to signal to the ferry that I was ready to venture forth to the next island, I stocked up on coconuts and crystals, along with the requisite titan stone, and I was off.

Unless you plan on actively seeking the treasures found on treasure maps, they are pretty much just worthless trinkets.

And with that in mind…

Upgrade your inventory as soon as possible

Breakwaters - inventory

When you first start out, you will have a measly eight slots in your inventory (as I mentioned in the previous point). Believe me, this will fill up fast — long before you leave the opening island.

There are a few ways to go about upgrading this quickly though. If you have enough yellow shards — and if the ferryman has one on offer, you can grab a bag through the ferryman’s shop feature. The bag will add an additional ten slots to your inventory. If the ferryman isn’t selling one, or if you don’t have enough shards, there is a shopkeeper on the second island that for sure is selling one. It costs 24 yellow crystal shards, which is a pittance, especially if you can refine larger crystals down to shards using the refinery station.

If you want to go the old-fashioned route and craft a bag yourself, you will first need to craft a net bag, which requires:

  • 15 seagrass
  • 4 sticks

Then you can craft the bag itself, which requires:

  • 60 seagrass
  • 20 sticks
  • 3 crab shells

Ultimately, you will want to craft the backpack, which will offer you the most slots but requires:

  • 1 net bag
  • 18 sticks
  • 12 ingots of Unobtanium

Now, Unobtanium is either really hard to source, or else it’s just unavailable in the beta build that I’ve been playing.

But the whole point of this tip is to stress that upgrading your storage — which is fairly easy, depending on which route you take — should be a priority, unless you like micromanaging those starting eight slots.

You can harvest palm logs from shipwrecks

Breakwaters - Palm Logs

It’s not immediately obvious that you can hack away at — and ultimately dismantle — the wrecked vessels that litter the various islands in Breakwaters. But you can, and in doing so, you will have a source of palm logs at the ready. This is extremely valuable on islands that are only populated by pine trees, thus rich in pine logs instead of palm logs.

Keep the carcasses of smaller animals

Breakwaters - Dead Rat

Rats are in many ways the scourge of Breakwaters. They are seemingly hidden in damn near every bush, and they will routinely lunge at you after you’ve hacked a bush to bits while gathering sticks. Rats are always hostile (but even more so at night when their eyes glow red), so even if you aren’t in the market for their uncooked meat, you will invariably end up having to do battle with them. They just can’t mind their own business.

However, if you do harvest them for their meat, and you have the extra inventory slot, you might as well collect their carcass as well. The same goes for chickens, I might add.

Unfortunately, this isn’t so that you can craft a cool chicken- or rat-themed costume — you can’t (although you can make a bone cuirass using the huge rib cages they drop, which turn into cartoon bones in your inventory), but you can use them as fuel while cooking. They don’t add much, but if it saves you on using wood. So you might as well use the entire animal and not be wasteful.

Kill green jellies and harvest their skins


This sounds pretty grim, but you’ll need green jelly skins for crafting. Unfortunately, it’s not immediately evident how to go about getting them.

Once you get to the second island, you’ll come across these bulbous bouncing globules, and you will need at least one skin to get started crafting down the water tree. If you try to attack them — whether that’s with your axe, a sword, or even your bare hands — you’ll always inflict zero damage points and probably get trounced in the process. But fear not, because I’ve got you covered.

These pesky pustules are pervious to water. Simply gather eight blue crystal shards (not the full crystals, unless you have the refinery, which can make shards from full crystals). The trees with blue crystals sticking out the trunks seem to be the best source.


Just get yourself a glass bottle and craft some refined crystals at your crafting station. Then you simply lob some at one of these blobs, which will cause it to shatter into smaller blobs, which you can then attack and collect their skins.

Hammocks, beds, and dining tables are crucial

Breakwaters - Hammock

Like a lot of things in Breakwaters (and in crafting and survival games in general), it isn’t immediately clear how to go about healing your character’s depleted health. There’s no bandage or first aid tier in the crafting menu, and neither food nor drinks will do anything other than replenish their respective meters. This means you’re often at the mercy of some random rock monster that you didn’t see in time, which landed a bullseye with the boulder they hurled.

As it turns out, if you build a hammock — and later a bed — you can rest and regain your lost health. And if you craft a dining table, eating at the dining table (instead of while running around) will regenerate your health as well.

Be mindful of your empties

Breakwaters - Pump

You can fill up glass bottles to have a ready supply of potable water, either by using the solar still or by pumping water into barrels. Depending on which island you are on, there might not be a steady supply of bottles lying about, so make sure you always have at least one for drinking purposes. You might happen upon some if you break random crates dotted along the shoreline.

If you have fine sand, which you can get by killing crabs, you can always craft bottles too.


So there you go. These are just a few tips to get your mind right while starting Breakwaters. These aren’t intended to help you find the perfect balance or to get started on finding the ultimate Mcguffin or anything like that. Instead, these are intended to help you streamline your efforts while getting your sea legs in working order. Hopefully, these tips will help you focus on what’s important while avoiding the collect-athon trappings inherent to the crafting and surviving genre.

Now go on and enjoy Breakwaters, because it really is an incredible game with a lot of great fun to had.

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