Ahoy maties! King Of Seas, the action RPG set in a procedurally generated pirate world, is out now. Hoist your anchor and pour your grog, as you traverse rock-infested waters en route to legendary pirate status. Think a bit Sea Of Thieves-y, but top down. After playing the free 60-minute demo, I thought that King Of Seas provides a colourful world, but the fundamentals of its sea battles are tedious.
King Of Seas’ opening section is rather story laden, but it’s fairly barebones (or should I say skull-and-crossbones) after that. The basic premise is that you are the child of the previous incumbent King Of Seas. After father dearest is murdered the blame is pinned on you, so you set sail to find the scheming scallywags who framed you and clear your name.
The bulk of the game involves nautical combat, collecting resources and upgrading your ship. Resources can be obtained by sinking fellow ships and taking their loot, alongside completing formulaic fetch quests. The key to smooth sailing is fine-tuning your ship, with steering speed, cannon cooldown, reload speed and bullet damage all needing deliberation.
What most caught my eye about King Of Seas was the wholehearted devotion to creating a pirate ambiance, down to menu selections being confirmed via a knife stab through the page. Quirky characters like eccentric crewmate Leeroy and nipple-ringed carpenter Zac ensure the game never takes itself too seriously, while magic and voodoo also feature - an element often unexplored in other pirate-related games. And the music is akin to Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean, which, if you're a fan like me, makes the experience an amiable one.
Where King Of Seas falters, however, is the repetitive nature of some elements. Combat involves flanking enemy vessels to unleash ammo on them, which is really just a lot of going in circles. There just aren’t enough interesting things in the procedurally generated mix to make individual locations particularly memorable. Plus, the fact that the entire game contains only five ship types is a slight mood dampener.
Made by Italian studio 3DClouds and published by Team 17 (who also published Yooka-Laylee and Overcooked), King Of Seas can provide you a combat filled-foray across archipelagos, swerving volcanoes and amassing riches along the way. If you’re looking for something to sink a few hours into this week, King Of Seas may be for you where it wasn't for me - and if you're not sure, there's always that free demo.