Jump aboard this review ye scurvy dogs and listen to a tale of sunken ships and ill gotten treasure!
Those familiar with yar Xbox 360 Arcade or PS3 stores would most likely have seen Age of Booty popping up on their screen at some point. Released in 2008, the original offered real time strategy base on the high seas and was nominated for Xbox Live Arcade awards, including ‘Best Original Game’ and ‘Best Competitive Multiplayer’. A few years on from Age of Booty’s original release, Age of Booty: Tactics has been released for IOS devices.
For those unfamiliar with Age of Booty: Tactics, it is a turn based strategy game based on the high seas of pirating. The aim of the game is to be the first captain to reach 12 points. To do this, you must land your ships on up to 3 treasure tiles that are located around the map. To help you on your quest, you will have a fleet of ships ranging from large battleships to smaller nippy buggers that can travel greater distances per round. You also have various power ups that can aid your progress or halt and disturb the enemy. This mix of ships and power ups can give you quite the formidable arsenal, but it is how you use them that will give you the real advantage in Age of Booty. But wait, there’s more! There are also 3 more titles on the map that can provide an advantage. The ships of both players will start off near tiles that can either increase the damage of the ships, increase their defence or help them move further each turn. Getting your ship the short distance to these may be the key to winning a fight rather than shooting straight for the valued treasure.
Unlike the console version, Tactics is much more turn based than real time strategy. Upon starting a game you will take your go and then you will have to wait for the challenger to take theirs before you are back in the game. The slow paced nature means you will have to have a lot of games on the go at once to be playing all the time. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but all of the games can start to blur into one and take you out of the zone, particularly if you feel like you have played some amazing moves but then the challenger takes 8 hours to respond. To keep yourself refreshed, you can go into a game to watch the replay of the last move but sometimes, after I have executed a perfect strategy, I just want the game to happen right away. If the other player is inactive for a few days you will automatically win the game and, after talking to Certain Affinity, they are looking to reduce this time. If you do prefer a faster pace then you can pass and play with a friend, but this does mean you need them to be next to you. If they are not, it’s not the end of the world. You can link up with mates via Facebook or the Game Center and as long as you are on the ball, it can play as a much quicker strategy experience.
To prepare yourself for these epic battles you can pick your captain and also your ships and the powers that will join you in the quest for booty. Tactics shows a funny side with the captains ranging from the stereotypical Black Beard lookalike (Captain Biggs) to a sword and pistol wielding monkey (Trained Monkey… that’s his name). If you are a fan of Rooster Teeth then you are in for an even bigger treat as the Austin based filmmakers are also a captain to play with. So far, Gavin and Guss have only been revealed, but 3 more are on the way! If you are unsure who Rooster Teeth are, then head over to their website www.roosterteeth.com.
You are also able to customise which ships you’d like to take into battle as well. Using a card system, you can pick which ship cards you want to take. Not only that, but you can choose how many of each ship card to bring with you. Bringing more than one card will increase the chances of that ship appearing, so make sure to stack up on your favourites. As well as the ships, you can also choose powers. Powers can range from placing mines on certain areas to using wind to push your ships further or pushing the enemy ships away. Using these, you are able to move ships beyond the normal limit and really be strategic with your play. My favourite move is to place a mine behind the enemy and then use wind to push them back. Not only do they take damage from the mine but are also less of a threat to my ships on the next go.
Age of Booty: Tactics is also great to look at, it doesn’t sport the jaw dropping, platform defining graphics that some games claim to bring to the table, but it uses a cartoonish style that works so perfectly on mobile devices, and one that I personally love to see. This style helps keep the game fun but also allows some scurvy designs for the ships beyond the standard.
Overall, it is a lot of fun to plan the strategies of each game and it is a thrill when they pay off. It is annoying when you have to wait for a long time to play some games, but with the ability to nudge your opponent you usually get to have a go before long. Speaking to Certain Affinity, they have big plans for this games and the Age of Booty franchise, which has got us very excited. Even while I have been writing this, I have had about 15 notifications telling me to get back and play so if you don’t mind, I’m off to plunder me some booty!!