King of Seas is an upcoming Pirates!-like title to be released in May 2021 on PC. I had the opportunity to try a closed-demo version of the game back in December 2020, so here’s my first impressions. Playtime was limited to 45 minutes of continous gameplay, so suffice to say, I can only talk about the very beginning of the game, and I certainly can’t comment on the final quality of the game.
It all starts with you… the heir to the throne of an island kingdom. And one day, as you were away on the seas to make your mark as a young captain, you find out as you return that the king has been killed and an usurper has taken power for himself. As you try to fight back, your ship is sunk and you are left for dead in the waters. Fortunately, you are rescued by a bunch of pirates, who decide to take you under their protection.
From there on the adventure starts as you get your own little ship, and start building your experience and guns to reclaim your throne.
If you are familiar with Pirates! you are in known waters here. You see the action from above, and you can move your boat in any direction according to the wind (and how your sails are set up). When other boats come close, you can shoot them using your canons – aiming is as usual a little hard as your cannon balls take time to reach your target and they move at the same time. Destroying ships leads to collecting loot, and loot helps you collect resources well needed for upgrades (sails, weapons, etc.). You don’t always have to fight to gain access to resources: the game also features trading of goods as an alternative.
I haven’t seen sword in hand combat like you have in Pirates!, so my guess is that’s not part of the game. However there’s a larger system of customization available for your ship (with upgrades that change its look), weather effects, and a prize on your head that keeps rising as you become a more successful pirate. As you progress your character also collects XP, and XP can be spent to gain special skills that you can activate during fights to turn things to your favor.
The world of King of Seas is apparently procedurally generated. That’s not typically my preference when it comes to game design, but for a game that’s mostly a lot of sea with a few islands here and there I am not sure you would notice much of a difference either way.
While Sid Meier’s Pirates! was very much an Open World game before the term was coined, with true freedom of action and no direction whatsoever, here it seems that there’s more of a RPG focus with a main storyline (regain the throne!) along with subquests and missions that you can decide to accomplish in an Open World. So something like in between. Don’t expect any dating and courting in this game, probably because your character is somewhat a younger pirate.
There was no Linux client but I could run the game fine using Proton (Proton GE if my memory serves right) – so my guess is that the game at launch has a good chance of working out of the box. Expect to hear more about King of Seas from us after it’s out.
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