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Abandon Ship foolishly sails to the Spider Islands

Why did it have to be Snakes, Cannibals and Spiders?

I don't care how great a pirate you are, there are some ideas that are just bad, and sailing to the Spider Islands is one of them. Unfortunately, they're the next port of call for nautical FTL-alike Abandon Ship, along with two more new, horrible-sounding locales; Cannibal's Lurk and Peril's Cauldron. Fireblade Software's early access game of fantastical ship-management and poor life decisions is still steadily growing, although it doesn't appear that the game isn't leaving early access any time soon. You can see the full patch notes for the update here, or the short version with trailer below.

This is one of the biggest updates the game has seen since it entered early access, and should give players a lot more freedom in where they adventure. The titular Spider Islands make my skin crawl, and I wouldn't even call myself an arachnophobe. As the developers describe them, "blanket web permeates the skies, obscuring visibility, while thick strands connect the islands together". Why are you even there? WHY? During fights here, spiders of multiple types (including exploding acid ones) will jump aboard your ship, apparently carried by the wind. At least there's some spider-themed loot to earn, like a spider egg launching cannon, so you can inflict eight-legged hell upon your foes.

The other two zones don't sound that much better, to be honest. Cannibal's Lurk is... contentious, featuring that most questionable of pirate tropes; masked man-eating tribal folks. Apparently it's not quite so clear-cut, and there's a quest arc there where you can decide to either side with the locals (peckish as they may be) or encroaching settlers, searching for lost cities of gold. Honestly, it's not much of a choice - eat the rich, and then take their gold. It's win/win for a pirate, and free food!

Peril's Cauldron is the least-awful sounding of the three new locations, apparently a large region with a selection of maps to explore. It's a grab-bag of piratical fun. The Sea Of Serpents is patrolled, unsurprisingly, but snake-loving sailors, who may give you gifts (including a snake-themed deck gun that shoots venom), or attack you. Presumably because one of your crew looks like a mongoose. Beyond that, there's a quest to unlock Ghost Mortars (ghost explosions!) as a weapon, and even changing your ship's look by capturing enemy vessels intact. The more cursed the better, especially if you're headed to the Spider Islands.

You can read the full patch notes here. Abandon Ship is still in early access, and may yet be for some time to come. It's available on Steam here for £15/€20/$20.

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Dominic Tarason