By John Walker on February 29th, 2012 at 1:49 pm.
Can you remember as far back as October 2010? No, nor me, but fortunately all my acts and deeds are collated in an almanac, so it is that I can recall my enthusiasm for the prototype of Pirates Of New Horizons. A third-person action game, that evokes memories of Ratchet & Clank, featuring a double-jumping, pickpocketing, grapple-hooking pirate, on a flying pirate ship in a world inhabited by robots. Those are the ingredients for all of gaming. And now you can play a demo chunk of it in your browser, via Unity, with the hope that you’ll pre-order at the end.
Pre-ordering will unlock another island to you right away, along with getting the grappling hook, some ninja soul shoes, and a jetpack. Last time I wrote about it, I criticised it for not containing a jetpack. It now contains a jetpack. You’ll also get a version you can download, early access to new bits of the game as they’re added, and you’ll eventually be getting the full game at a lower price.
And having played it for a bit, I’m all for that. It’s rough around the edges – I’m not sure it’s such a great plan to let you fall off the edge of islands so easily, and it would be nice if the central character, Annha, could grip ledges/edges – but it’s also enormously enjoyable. Looks lovely too – bright, chunky graphics that evoke the third-person glory days of the PS2, but updated for swishy modern ways, to the point where it looks just stunning – the two images in this article are in-game wot I took.
I love how explorable it feels, that while there’s a rather insistent throbbing green arrow omnipresently hovering at the top of the screen, it can be defied and the islands searched for hidden extras, with no invisible walls preventing fun things like climbing onto roofs and bouncing all over. I’m a little surprised that there aren’t more areas to explore, as the 2010 version featured the same locations, albeit far less detailed.
Pre-orders cost €15, although there’s a €25 option that adds in a previous game, Planet Buster, eventually the game’s soundtrack, and rather brilliantly, they’ll print out your photo and hang it on their wall. Both are an attempt to bring in the funding to continue developing the game, and I’d suggest with the rather lacklustre extras in the more expensive “Captain Edition”, this is more of an option to increase your patronage for the project more than anything else.