Windward Is Basically Sid Meier’s Pirates: Deathmatch

Every time I do this, I imagine Johnny Depp's aboard.

Or at least, it is right now. Developer “ArenMook” has big plans for the isometric high-seas shooter, but for the moment, there’s a free, fully playable alpha demo that’s already nicely polished – especially given Windward‘s scant three months of development time so far. Basically, though, if you’ve played the 2004 Pirates revamp, you’ll be confidently row- row-rowing enemies’ boats gently down the river Styx in no time. But, if not, it’s a quick formula to pick up, requiring only a deft sense of timing and position from players. Aiming and cannon fire, meanwhile, are automatic.

It’s excellent fun in a 4v4 point capture setting, too. I almost immediately found myself engaged in a lighting quick back-and-forth that saw my opponent and I narrowly darting in and out of firing range. When it became apparent that my faithful Titanic Two was looking a bit more like Swiss cheese than their ill-gotten cruiser, I decided to charge straight into them. Unfortunately, my hull wasn’t nearly as thick as my incredibly suicidal resolve, so I harmlessly exploded mere inches away. I bet it would’ve been even more intense if my fearsome foe’s name wasn’t “Fartzilla.”

Further down the line, ArenMook’s hoping to add everything from more ships and an item system to colossal, procedurally generated “Terraria-style” worlds  “populated with towns that have a supply and demand issues that you can address if you wish, pirates to kill, tasks to take on, and factions to work for or against.” That said, there will still be multiplayer skirmish maps for those who’d rather get straight to the part where everyone unleashes their weapons of hilariously inefficient destruction.

Right now, though, you can still create a persistent ship, gain XP, and learn new skills. It’s super impressive – and apparently Sid-Meier-approved, according to the developer. And it’s all browser-based to boot. So go give it a try. Or, if you’re still hesitant – say, because you have an irrational distaste for good things or don’t exist – you might instead opt to partake of this trailer.

Thanks, Indie Games.


  1. kukouri says:

    Please be good, please be good, please be good.

  2. Tom-INH says:

    Looks a bit like that HOARD game, only, you know, with pirate ships instead of dragons.

  3. mr.ioes says:

    Intriguing, but I won’t install unnecessary 3rd party browser software only to try a game. Which is a shame, it looks promising. A bit tower defensy, and I’m always up for that.

    • andtriage says:

      what is it that you have against the unity engine? it’s a little pretentious. it’s not like it’s spyware. ffs.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      So you don’t have Flash, then? That must make browsing a bit dull.

  4. Jams O'Donnell says:

    Do not call it Pirates! deathmatch unless you want people to envision crazy DDR-flueled brawling sessions as players try to win the hand of the governor’s daughter.

  5. JiminyJickers says:

    Looks a bit to fast for my liking. I want a mixture between Sea Dogs and Sid Meyer’s Pirates. That would be awesome.

  6. Luke says:

    Sort of like Altitude with boats?

    Probably shouldn’t boot this up while I’m at work, but I’m curious as to how the movement actually works. Are the sails actually functional, or are the ships basically engine-driven with the sails just acting as a proxy for that in the damage model?

  7. VeliV says:

    link to
    Looks like a project we did a few years ago :) Was fun.

  8. Puppetmast0r says:

    Tried it, liked it. Not sure it’ll last though. It’s gonna need a more varied gameplay than this to keep people in.

  9. sherrywood98 says:

    This game is awesome. I feel like playing it again and again. I would like to see more new games. You are doing a good job. Keep on posting. Thank you.
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  10. Snids says:

    Needs little mans that fall overboard. Like Overboard!

  11. LuNatic says:

    Kill the pirates? Surely you mean be a pirate!

  12. Shockeh says:

    RPS – Guys, you can’t do things like imply ‘Multiplayer’ and ‘Pirates!’ together. I mean, that’s unfair, because I automatically want it so badly to be good, and if it isn’t (I’ll try when I get home) It’s actually going to upset me.

    You know, like how excited a Syndicate remake would make me…. oh. :(

  13. Alehkhs says:

    I gave it a whirl(pool) yesterday. Quite fun, even at this early stage. I can’t wait to see where they go with it.

    Although, it reminds me and makes me sad that Age of Booty doesn’t have a larger playerbase… It really deserves more attention.

  14. RakeShark says:

    Not enough games look to “Pirates!” for mechanical inspiration.

  15. skyturnedred says:

    But can you take the governor’s daughter dancing?

  16. andtriage says:

    i’ve played a few matches, and i have to say that for a game that’s only been in development for such a short time…i’m extremely impressed. definitely digging it.

  17. Strangerator says:

    Will there be boarding actions? Would be neat if you could specialize in hand to hand skills and just try to capture ships. Although the movement looks a bit too easy and keeping things synchronous would be a problem. It will probably be something like a special ability to use when up close that does max damage if successful…

  18. squareking says:

    Looks awesome, but boy, that’s some outta-place music.

  19. says:

    The wood-sawing noise it makes when capturing guard towers reminds me of building in the original Warcraft.

  20. zolointo says:

    Fartzilla is me! I’m famous!