A lot of games about ships seem dour to me, because the wind is a fickle method of propulsion and because slowly revolving around enemies during slow cannon-fire combat is dull. By contrast, Sail Forth looks more my speed, with its enormous sea creatures, secretive faction of frogs in submarines, and a wind system itd developers claim is "deeply accessible". It's out now and there's a launch trailer below.
It looks a little like A Short Hike with boats - A Short Sail, maybe - and the Steam page leans on playful exploration. There are fishfolk to befriend, dolphins to follow, and criminals to teach a lesson across twelve different regions. There's also loads of fish to catch, a photography mode, and a "Free Sail" mode that strips away all the objectives in favour of just floating around the scenery.
If you do want a bit more battening of hatches, you can also build and manage a fleet of ships, each of which can be upgraded and modified for different styles of play. That wind system, too, while supposedly deeply accessible is apparently designed "with enough attention to realistic sailing physics to excite naval enthusiasts." You'll have to content with different weather conditions as you battle enormous sea serpents, kraken and more.
It all seems rather lovely. Sail Forth is out now via Steam and is currently £15.07/$18 with a 10% launch discount.