There is something to be said for games that offer familiarity, it’s sort of like being wrapped in a warm blanket. With the repetition of browser based strategy games these days however, that blanket is acting more like a boa constrictor that simply strangles you until you find yourself out of breath, out of energy, and ready to submit to the click fest that is to come. In fact, I have come to believe that some of these games are not even trying anymore, such as it seems with Pirates – Tides of Fortune. To say this however, would be akin to saying that Halo is too much like Call of Duty, or in fact that Call of Duty is simply Wolfenstein 3D with prettier graphics. There are clearly a selection of people who enjoy these types of games, and it actually encompasses anyone who takes the time to say “I’ll just try it for a few seconds” and loses ten to twelve days trying to get to level fifty. Some call it good design, others call it Stockholm syndrome. Either way, these strategy games are here to stay, and the only question remaining, is whether or not this one is any good. Well, I would have to say that with a resounding yes, Pirates: Tides of Fortune is certainly a good game.
What is It?
These games are widely the same, and when it comes right down to it, it’s simply a matter of choosing a setting that you like. In this case, the setting is pirates! What’s good about it? Well, it gives you the chance to become a pirate on the high seas, and thanks to recent advancements in browser gaming, you get more of a real time experience. So let’s start out with the basics.
At the beginning of the game you are granted access to an island which can be upgraded to grow larger (I’m not even sure how that works) once you have the resources. At the start, however, you simply have your beginning space and a few meager resource points on which to place your gold and lumber facilities. Once you get those resources rolling in, you can set about building up your private island with various predictable structures, including the rum distilleries, which you’ll need a lot of if you want to progress in the game. Though Captain Jack Sparrow is nowhere to be found, you’ll discover that the rum is always gone, and you need it to get anything done.
Resources are quite plentiful in the game if you know where to look. You can produce your own, you can raid other players, but most notably, you can actually collect floatsam that has gathered around your personal island. This can come in the form of all the available resources, and makes for a great minigame of clicking the random stuff around your waters while you wait for buildings to finish or technology to research.
Do What you want Cause a Pirate is Free!
So how does one go about being a pirate in this game? You start, of course, by looking for things to…pirate. In the lower left hand corner of the screen you will find a red button that allows you to head to the world map. Here you will see other islands, not unlike your own, and you will also notice that there are a plethora of shipwrecks for you to pillage. Some of these points will be free for the taking while others are held by captains from other islands. They all want a piece of the sea, and you can’t really blame them. As you progress, as with any other game, you will be afforded the opportunity to level up, which gives you rewards, and obviously makes you a more formidable player — a player that can enter the big leagues by attacking others.
Attacking requires troops, and these can be purchased at the tavern after you build it. From pirates, to mercenaries, and even your fleet of ships, all of it can be purchased and deployed whenever you please so long as you have the gold, and of course, the rum. You always need rum. There are two different types of troops, offensive, and defensive. The difference between these should be obvious, and your ‘advisors’ will be more than happy to explain it in derogatory terms should you attempt to send defensive troops on an offensive mission. Also, the defensive troops probably won’t come back anyway, so luckily you won’t have to hear it from them.
You have the opportunity to attack other players, or you can capture targets that are held by other players. For example you might see a shipwreck, a gold port, a ruby stash, etc. In order to claim them, you normally need to fight off another player, so make sure you send enough ships to fight the good fight. Most importantly, make sure it’s worth it; the stashes actually have an expiration which ticks down every second someone is occupying them. Of course if you are part of a brotherhood(guild, clan, corp), you can send reinforcement to protect stashes held by your friends, ensuring no one else gets up to mischief and attacks said stash.
Once you attack someone, they will be added to your list of enemies, and you will be able to attack them over and over should you have the troops. In the ‘pillage and plundet’ menu, you will find not only the enemy list, but also the amount of gold you managed to seize from them. Just remember; they know who you are, and they’re probably plotting their revenge!
That brings us to another point, and one that you will want to remember: you can be attacked. Attacks against your little pirate stronghold will certainly hurt your economy, and that’s just not something you want. So what do you do about it? While I’m in favor of sinking the island the developers had something a little different in mind. You are able to defend your little island by building walls, mounting defenses, and upgrading as you move forward with your research. Defending yourself is key to being a successful pirate and helping your brotherhood, should you choose to join one.
Yar Har Fiddle Dee Dee
Being a pirate means far more than just attacking your enemies, pillaging, and generally going ‘Yar har’ everytime someone asks you a legitimate question. Research is key to success, and the game offers a substantial tech tree for you to explore and develop. Feel free to learn everything from sword fighting, to gunpowder, and even flight if you are so inclined. The discovery tree gives you every opportunity to wage an epic pirate battle taken right from the final scenes of that new ‘Three Musketeers’ movie.
Apart from the discovery tree, you will also find that building the Witch Doctor’s hut gives you access to a number of other technological advancements, many of which pertain to your troops. This is a fairly large tree and will take some time to develop. Actually, all aspects will take a considerable amount of time to advance, so you’ll be better off sitting back, relaxing, and letting the game do its thing.
Like all other games, this one can become very competitive, as you will discover once you actually join a brotherhood. There are wars to be fought, stashes to be claimed, and most importantly, islands to be defended. I found that though the game is repetitive, it is still enjoyable, especially if you enjoy fighting alongside clan members and raising the black flag. There is something to be said for drinking the rum, sailing the high seas, and recruiting muscle at the local tavern.
I had a slight problem with the pirate dialect. Yes, I know it’s a pirate game, but let’s face it, there are some people who won’t be able to understand what the heck is being said, especially if they haven’t had their Facebook language set to ‘Pirate’ for the last few years. Still, it does help with the immersion, and once you figure it out, it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out. Pun intended.
If you enjoy these types of games and have a few dollars to sink into your little island, then by all means, this is definitely something you should try. After all, nothing beat the pirate setting, except maybe the Amish Vampire Space Pirate genre. I’ll be all over that one when it comes out. Until then though Plarium has a variety of different games to pick from so I I’ll get started on those.
-Annoying Cash Shop