Thanks to everyone who turned up for Air Buccaneers this evening, it was a lighter-than-air riot. We're going to do it again next Saturday at 7pm UK time, until we are defeated. More ruminations on this evening's events below, along with some tips for anyone intending to come along at the weekend.
First up, thanks to Craig at PC Gamer UK for sorting out the server. Second up, if you haven't played Air Buccaneers before and want to come along, please do have a read of the website and play the in-game tutorial. It's not a hard game to get to grips with, but procedures like loading and firing the cannons, and the principles of flying the balloon, aren't entirely obvious. To avoid early frustrating it's worth familiarising yourself with the key concepts. Also remember to hit the spacebar if you fall, it'll grapple you onto the balloon - ideal for mad boarding actions.
And then you can get involved in giantic balloon battles in beautifully bleak places. Like this:
I'd forgotten how ludicrously characterful the game is. The strange tale of abandoned tribes and mushroom gods, and a war fought via hot air-balloon. It's filled with entertaining ideas: aerial mines that are fired by rocket, only to hang in the sky, waiting for a victim. Or the rocket propelled glider that takes you up the critical central "battleship" balloon, that is often the focus of any single battle.
The game itself is an interesting tension between slow-moving aircraft, and the fast paced melee/explosives combat. Watching people leap from one balloon to another, only to miss, grapple the underside of the ship, fight on deck, fall again, and up in a sword battle dangling from the bottom of an airship, really is quite something to behold. i was watching one battle where one of our pilots was fighting two enemies, hanging from the bottom of the ship on a grapple, as we bombarded the ship with cannons. He killed one, died, and then the battleship went down in flames. Heroic.
Not to mention plunging to your death is always amusing punctuation between the slow maneuvering of the balloons. The wind, it seems, is a jerk. Surviving a fall and getting back to the safety of your base without getting eaten by a mushroom is also a rather unique gaming experience. Anyway, if you've never played Air Buccaneers, and fancy a crack at some absurd sky piracy, join us on Saturday.