Our final day at E3 2012 commenced with a slathering of titles from INNOGAMES, publishers of a wide collection of Free to Play MMOs the likes of Tribal Wars, Forge of Empires and Grepolis, with their announcement of the new pirate themed browser MMO, Kartuga.
INNOGAMES were happy to inform us that unlike many of their previous titles, Kartuga was developed by new partner Ticking Bomb Studios, whose office is located only minutes from INNOGAMES themselves. This close bond between publisher and developer is responsible for the majority of Kartuga’s impressive game mechanics and polish.
An action MMORPG at its core, Kartuga pits players at the helm of their own pirate vessel. Initially, there are 3 ‘classes’ of vessel to choose from – the Destroyer, Protector and Engineer – each with their own unique visual style and skill set.
Running in the Unity 3D engine, Kartuga pulls out some impressive visuals and, from the short time we had to play ourselves, smooth, uninterrupted gameplay. The idea behind gameplay is to steer your ship using mouse clicks around a 2.5D map, clicking on enemies to unload a barrage of cannon fire, and activating skills using the number keys to assist teammates and destroy opponents.
Much of the gameplay takes place in an open-world environment, with multiple cities and seas to explore, each with their own distinct art style and direction. Some areas offer a traditional caribbean approach, while others draw deeper into the realm of fantasy, creating some impressive locales for the slaughter.
That said, much of Kartuga’s gameplay is centered around Player vs Player (PVP) combat, and so far as we’ve seen in this small Alpha test, there’s a lot to be excited about. Guild-based objective PvP and battlegrounds are just the beginning, and combat is smooth, responsive, and overall, surprisingly enjoyable.
Let’s be honest – as hardcore MMO gamers, Daniel and I weren’t expecting a lot when we sat down with Kartuga, but we left with high hopes for its future. Simple and easy to grasp, Kartuga looks to be offering a seamless, competitive experience like no other we’ve seen thus far. Sure, there have been other attempts at pirate sea-faring MMOs in the past, though all were lacking this level of polish and detail.
We’re expecting to see a lot more of Katuga in the months leading up to its release, likely sometime in Q4 2012. Stay tuned for more coverage, right here at MMOGames.com.