Be honest with me - who hasn’t ever thought how wonderful the pirate life could be? Sailing the seas, drinking rum and singing The Wellerman whilst you plunder and pillage everywhere along the way? Just me? I thought not!
King of Seas, developed by 3DClouds and published by Team17, is a swashbuckling, sandbox, RPG adventure available on Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo Switch. For my review, any reference to the gameplay is from the PlayStation 4 version played on my PlayStation 5 console.
The game begins with you choosing a character. You're given the choice between two siblings, Princess Mary-Lou or Prince Luky. The story is fairly simple so I don’t want to say too much in case it becomes a spoiler but the premise is that there’s a very significant death and your young, innocent character is blamed for this. After a series of events that transform you from literal royalty to a mere pirate outlaw, you find yourself living with the last community of pirates in the kingdom. You become the captain of your own ship that’s fully kitted out to sail the seas and embrace the pirate life that’s been laid out before you, as you try to become the greatest pirate in the land, but most importantly, you desperately want to clear your name and regain your title of Prince or Princess.
The very simple concept of the game is transformed by the use of procedural generation to create the map, meaning, that each new game you create, the map is different and the challenging areas won’t be the same as your previous load. Make sure you say your prayers and give your offerings to the RNG Gods! Alongside that, the map is a fairly impressive size with lots of hidden areas to seek out and loot such as shipwrecks and fishing spots, topped off with impressive visuals like volcanoes.
Much of what you’ll be tasked with in the game will focus around delivering things between the various ports around the map, taking down Royal Navy ships or other plunderers. Completing these quests will earn you money and fame throughout the land which you can spend with carpenters in the ports to upgrade your ship. There is a very extensive list of upgrades available to you which will level up your ship allowing you to tackle those higher level fleets with great ease. I found the combat quite tricky initially. It seemed very simple in theory but when it came to doing it, I struggled a little bit. However, the more time I spent learning how to handle the boat and the physics of the game, I started to get somewhere with combat finally.
One of my favourite features in this game is the trading system. Each of the items that you can find scattered around the map in crates and shipwrecks holds a different value depending which port you go to. For example, one port might produce a large amount of rum, making it worthless to sell there, but they don’t produce much medicine meaning it holds a greater value. Noticing this made it very easy for me to level up my ship early on which in turn encouraged me to spend more time exploring the expansive map to fill my ship with as much loot as I could muster and sail around selling it at the various ports. Being the looter and hoarder that I am, I quickly ran out of inventory space and took great pleasure in selling everything to the correct ports to make maximum profits, and I took even greater pleasure in the ship upgrades that followed.
My biggest issue with this game is that very quickly it started to feel somewhat repetitive and the grind required to really level up and progress is apparent very early on. I tend to immediately start completing side quests in games to get some easy levels early on and after only a few hours I felt like I had experienced everything the game had to offer in terms of quest variety. All of the quests, both main story and side quests, fell into the same categories: escort missions where you have to escort another pirate and defend them from the Royal Navy whilst they deliver cargo somewhere; delivery missions where an NPC asks you to deliver a letter or map sketches to another port; or bounty contracts where you're asked to destroy a specific ship. However, I believe the repetitive nature of these missions really allow for King of Seas to become a very relaxing, chilled out experience; perfect for if you have some time to kill or you want a break from your normal type of game. I play a lot of competitive games off stream and more often than not I need something else to wind down with and I certainly was able to chill out and relax with King of Seas.
With that in mind though, I think this game would be very well suited towards somebody who prefers the sandbox style of play and enjoys just being left alone to explore and do what they want at their own pace. For me personally, I prefer a little more structure with more specific goals set out before me to achieve. However, this is a personal preference. I do not think the flaws of this game mean you should leave it on the shelf and ignore it - I simply think it has its own time and place to shine. For example, I could see myself buying this on the Nintendo Switch as a game I could play on the go, sitting on the train just needing somewhere new for my mind to wander for a short time, but I couldn’t see myself getting home, switching on the PS5 after a busy day, and seeking out to play this game in particular.
Overall, King of Seas is a visually attractive, easy to pick up adventure. It is very charming and uplifting with its wonderful sound effects and art style, but it still maintains the challenging aspects that require some grinding to really appreciate the deeper workings of the game. Lj's Rating: 3 out of 5.
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