Thursday, December 04, 2008

Age of Booty

Who doesn't like pirates?

Hitler. That's who.

If you're not Hitler, then you'll like Age of Booty. At least, that's what I want to say, but I don't actually think Age of Booty is for everyone.

Age of Booty is available through XBox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network, so as you can imagine, it's really only a barely-evolved Flash game in scope and execution. It's much like a real-time strategy game, with almost everything that genre has to offer stripped out and replaced with a bucketload of simplicity.

You can tackle Age of Booty as a multiplayer game (local or online) or try out one of a number of single-player challenges. Either way, you'll be put in command of a single pirate vessel (possibly with one or more teammates) and have to struggle for control of a limited number of ports, competing with other pirate teams. The first team to reach a set number of ports is the winner, but to reach that number you'll typically have to steal ports away from other teams.

The game's presented from a more-or-less top-down perspective, and the map is made up of hex-shaped spaces. The combat is completely handled by the computer - sail next to a legal target, and your ship will automatically start firing. This is an important tactical consideration, as if there is more than one legal target adjacent your ship will split its fire between them, drastically reducing its overall effectiveness.

You can upgrade your ship at its home port, improving its cannons, armour or speed. (Armour is for chumps.) The resources required to buy these upgrades, though, are shared across your team, so it requires co-ordination to maximise your team's effectiveness.

The control is practically one-button play - the only time you'll need any button other than "Press A to Move" is when purchasing upgrades, which is still very simple. This would be make it ideal fare for a casual audience, except that it remains a viciously competitive game, even in the single-player challenges. And as with everything, the level of that viciousness increases exponentially once you take your game to the internet.

I had a heap of fun with Age of Booty. It's the sort of thing you can quickly fit in a round of with friends between sessions of Rock Band or Soul Calibur. The single player maps are at an appropriate level of challenge, and there's just enough of them to keep you busy without being so numerous as to make you give up.

If you're looking for a simple RTS you can play in five-minute stretches, Age of Booty might be for you. If you're in doubt, you should actually bother downloading the demo - you'll know pretty quickly whether this is the game for you or not.


SPLastic said...

Greg, you need to check your history. Hitler always liked pirates. He did, infact, want to be a pirate, but they knocked him back, so he tried for art school.

...and we all know what happened after that.

Therefore, 1930's pirates are to blame for Nazi Germany and everything they caused.

Greg Tannahill said...

You know who tried to correct me once on my history?


Are you Hitler, SPLastic? Are you?


SPLastic said...

Damn, you're onto me. I'll have to change names.

How does "Joseph Stalin" sound?

Greg Tannahill said...

Stalin, that lollygagger. I paid him 50 rubles to build me a chicken keep in 1906 that I've yet to see done.