“Life is a toy, a well, a moon”
– M. Monicelli
Pirates are cool, that’s for sure. Eveybody loves pirates, they are strong, rude but, at the same time, sweet, romantic and, above all, somehow funny. To be honest, the idea of pirates we have in mind has nothing to do with the real pirates.
Don’t you believe me? Ok, try to read on…
Let’s say that a good percentage of the things we all associate with the pirates trace back to Luis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island“, and most of them are just stereotypes. For example, if we think about parrots, it’s clear that at that time the food supply was often low on many vessels, making pets a luxury that almost nobody could afford.
And what about the “Skull & Crossbones” flag? Here there seems to be a kernel of truth in fact by the early 1700s, buccaneers had started sewing skulls and crossbones onto black flags. Believe it or not, these sent a peaceful message. Unfurling a black flag of any sort meant that if a vessel surrendered its goods, the outlaws were willing to spare her crew!
And the famous walk on the plank? Forget it. We have only one historical report that talks about the poor crew of the Dutch ship Vhan Fredericka in 1829 forced to suffer this terrible fate.
But even if pirates were just a bunch of dirty criminals what makes them, even today, so fascinating? I think the only answer you can give is this: the total freedom of their lives!After all, the essence of being a pirate was essentially this: board on a vessel and set sail with a fair wind, wherever there were adventures.
From the first minutes, Sink Again gave me exactly these special vibes: a wonderful sum of freedom and adventures.
That being said, let’s see what it’s all about.
What a lovely town!
First thing first, we can say that Sink Again is an impressive and ambitious mix of many different genres. Considering that we are talking about a solo-project, the ideas behind Sink Again are really fascinating and represent, somehow, the dream of any fan of pirate games.
Every adventure (or scenario) begin in a town, called Tortuga, where you can do many things in order to prepare your expedition. So, for example, you can go to the tavern and hire your crew. There are many different and funny characters, to choose from, each one with his primary stats and traits. You can even hire animals (for example monkeys, believe it or not, are an excellent ranged unit!).
Obviously there is also a market and a store where you can buy goods and items. In fact, like in many other good pirate games (eg. Horizon’s Gate) you have always the chance to make some money buying the goods where there are plenty of them and selling them on islands where they are scarcer. In the store, instead, you can buy items which grants to your crew members different bonus to the primary stats and/or new ability.
Besides, before you leave, don’t forget to swing by the Shipyard, where you can take the supplies for your ship and even buy new weapons to destroy or board enemies ships. After all, don’t forget we are talking about a pirate game!
Run like the wind!
Once you are ready to set sail, your adventure begins!
From your starting island (always the same, it seems), you can go wherever you want looking for ships to board or treasures to discover. It is all up to you.
And even if the developer, instead offering an open-ended world to the player, decided to create many scenarios, each one with a different storyline (aka quest) to be accomplished, the freedom of the exploration still plays a very important role in this game. Besides, you have to consider that, when you complete a scenario and go through a new mission, all your progress will not disappear. And that’s not all. Completing a mission, gives you another big advantage: like in many other roguelike, after a “run”, you’ll unlock new content for your future adventures!
That being said, lets talk about exploring the sea. As I said, you start with a very small ship with a single cannon, nothing more than old tub, but, finding treasures or selling goods, you can soon become rich and buy a real vessel with a proper firepower! It is important to say that this section of the game happens in real-time, including naval combat. In my opinion, this is – maybe – the weakest part of the game, because almost everything seems to be oversimplified. In other words, forget about the “chase cannons” with their chain shot, or the terrible carronades; at the same time, forget about damaging only the sails or the crew of your enemy ship. In Sink Again you have only one kind of ammunition and a single “general” health bar for your ship. Luckily there is the possibility to weak enough an enemy ship and board it! However, at the moment it is not possible to get the enemy ship, successfully boarded, but it seems that this feature could be added in the future.
“The soul is a treasure chest; hidden inside of it are priceless jewels”
But, don’t forget that Sink Again is also a dungeon crawler!
In fact, after landed on an island, you can guide your crew inside a dungeon where, for sure, is buried a great treasure!
Dungeons are a sort of big and intricate caves, full of traps and enemies. Here, like any self-respecting turn-based game, you can move your characters in a succession of very narrow rooms, where skeletons, fearsome animals and other monstrosities will try to kill you. Sometimes you can even find a treasure map and, with the help of a shovel, dig up a chest! Even now, this part of the game is well executed and does not suffer from an excessive simplification. It’s true, right now the developer doesn’t seem to have implemented any kind of “backstab” or “flank” option, but nevertheless the fights are really enjoyable.
Once your characters have gained enough XP they level up. This happens automatically but the stats of each are increased based on their class. So, for example, melee units gets more defense, resistance and HP, while range units, instead, mostly increase attack and luck.
Well, what’s left to say about Sink Again?
The game is still in E.A. but, even now, it is really surprising. It tries, with success, to mix different genre with the clear intention to entertain rather than to simulate the real life of a pirate. With this in mind, we can surely forgive some oversimplifications, especially considering that we’re talking about a solo-project. For sure, there is still room for improvement, but the developer seems very skillful and active!
I can’t wait to try the final release!