There really aren't enough pirate games around. In fact there aren't really any pirate themed franchises at all! And with Pirates Of The Caribbean all wrapped up it seems that once again, the golden days of piracy are over. Fortunately the guys over at FireBlade Software are keeping this theme alive and kicking with Abandon Ship! In this RTS you take command of the ship and her crew as you try and survive epic battles… and not just with other pirates!
Abandon Ship is available on Steam for £14.99
Yes, there is one! That alone surprises me with the kind of game Abandon Ship is! Hey, it´s not every day an RTS has any narrative at all! As soon as you hit New Game you´re thrown into the deep end (get it?). The game starts off with a written cutscene. It seems you are a prisoner. You witness a dark cult worshiping a tentacled ancient beast, The Kraken. Suddenly you realize one of the guards isn't paying attention so you take the opportunity to bash his head in and take off.
Now, here's the interesting part; you get to free a few fellow prisoners from the cults dungeon to join your crew. Each one has different jobs and skills (we'll get to that later) so choose wisely! Once chosen you escape with your new crew, commandeer a ship and head out into the great blue! This intro was a very clever way of squeezing a simple story into the game while getting you to pick your 1st crew members. This impressed me a lot!
Before I explain the ins and outs of the gameplay (without spoiling it too much), I feel I need to warn the uninitiated. This game (like many others from this genre) is not Pick-Up-And-Play kind of game. Luckily the tutorials are there to help you through the basics and there's even a small guide on their wiki.
There are three main mechanics to this game so let me break it down (as usual, without spoiling it for you):
- Control: Basic control is done via the mouse. You will need it to do the simple tasks of selecting a crew member and/or which ever task needs completing. Clicking outside the ship will allow the ship to follow the cursor. Alternatively you can hold the left click and use the mouse to move to have a constant drive. You will also need the mouse during battle (and the space bar to pause, this is very handy if you want to take a quick breather or come up with tactics), though some hotkeys may be assigned at the beginning of the game. Unfortunately all this means that the game is not controller optimized which is a bit of a bummer for some, especially if you are more used to console gaming. However the game is easy to grasp even for keyboard noobs.
- Combat: While traversing through the randomly generated worlds you will often be attacked by other ships or monster! This is the intense part of the gameplay so it's all hands on deck! Use the left mouse click to choose your man and then right click to assign him to a certain job. This can be manning the canons, repairing the ship aiding a wounded crew member or even taking cover. weapons need charging (no automatics in this era!) and will tell so so via a small icon appearing next to the weapon. to fire you must click said icon, aim, then fire by right clicking. If you wish to quickly select anything there is a handy HUD that has this covered, simply press the icons on the screen to have whatever you want selected.
- Maintenance/Upgrading: During an attack, your ship WILL get damaged, there is no way avoid it (obviously) so you will need to assign one or more crew members to deal with the damage will the others are fighting. This is pretty simple because it's very similar to the combat mechanics. Simply left click a crew member then right click what ever part of the ship needs repairing. This may sound simple but as the ships get bigger so do the threats and this can quickly be overwhelming if not prepared. Which brings us to the 2nd part of maintenance.
Upgrades! You can upgrade your ship, weapons and/or crew members with the ingame currency. This currency is obtained by looting the ship you have just destroyed (you will receive this automatically) or by finding it while traversing through the world. This is pretty self explanatory, more money means more upgrades, more upgrades means better chances of survival. You will have to make a judgment call on who/when/how you spend your money on as there are many different crew members, ships and parts to choose from.
VISUALS, AUDIO & OVERALL PERFORMANCE
As you can see from the screenshots alone, the game is not graphical powerhouse. However, the game is clean, the HUD is clear, the textures are smooth and the water/fire effects nice! What does stand out however is the very subtle Oil Painting-esque texture overlaying the game (you should be able to see it in the screenshots if you look carefully).
Like many RTS games, while in roaming mode you will eventually find the end of the map. But rather than the maps just simply stopping, you will find the frame of a canvas, implying that you are in fact playing within an old oil painting. A very nice touch. As I said, this visual effect is very subtle but really gives Abandon Ship a unique flavor. As far as the music goes it's very professionally done! The composer did a fantastic job of making the game feel like it took place within the 1600 – 1700's (Hans Zimmer eat your heart out!). A massive sound for such a small team is very impressive, take it from a musician! This game will run on most PCs. Even my entry level gaming PC from 2014 (on medium settings 30 FPS) had no slow down.
With a story mode and combat mode, you can choose how you want to experience the game which which is great for an RTS as not everybody wants to spend hours on the grind. All in all this game bold, charming and a lot of fun. My one serious complaint is that the environments tend to be a bit samey as time goes on.
+ Simple, Clean Visuals With A Nice Twist
– Environments CAN Be A Bit Samey
+ Outstanding Soundtrack
– No Controller Support
+ Addictive Gameplay