Bungie brings their goodness to the iOS platform.
The first time I heard of Bungie Aerospace, Bungie Studios’ publishing arm for indie developers on mobile platforms, I was surprised to hear the direction they were headed in. Today I’ll be looking at one such game, developed by Harebrained Schemes and published by Bungie Aerospace Corporation, called Crimson: Steam Pirates.
If you have played Flight Control at any point in the past year or two, on any iOS device, then you’ll know how the basic gameplay of Crimson: Steam Pirates is. However, the rest of the gameplay is much deeper than just aligning ships in a strategic path.
Crimson: Steam Pirates is set in the same time period of swashbuckling and treasure hunting as Pirates of the Caribbean, the music is certainly inspired straight from that series. You’re Captain Thomas Blood, who’s building up a fleet of stolen ships and a crazy crew who’re every bit as valuable as any newly “acquired” ship. You basically move your ships along and bring them in range of enemy ships to loot, destroy or outrun them as you’re doing various missions.
Now the alignment is where the game gets really strategic, because you have to make sure your ships are within range of shooting the enemy, or creating a path where they line up for your ships to destroy the enemy. The game is turn based, so you can take your time to work out how things will proceed. Also, there are not just ships to deal with; in air, zeppelins can rain death from above, and submarines can stalk their prey for torpedo attacks.
For each turn, you’re not just deciding how to maneuver your ship, but also whether repairs need to be made, or if more firepower required to extend the range of your guns, or whether you simply want to bail out of a sticky situation. All the time you’ll also have to guess how and where the AI will behave, lest you lose a ship.
You can recruit new crewmates who provide varying skill abilities, essential for certain types of ship, and also expanding the functionality of others. In between missions the story is told in old fashioned, sepia toned pages where the crew’s story and mission objectives are detailed. I would have preferred animated pictures of the crew rather than real actors in costumes, just to keep in line with the somewhat cartoony graphics of the game. But maybe that’s just me.
The basic game is free, starting you off with 8 missions; additional mission packs can be bought with in-app purchases. There’s also a “Pass & Play” two player multiplayer mode. An online multiplayer mode would have been better, but for a free game with this much polish in UI and engaging gameplay, I really can’t complaint. At 142mb Crimson: Steam Pirates is a great turn-based strategy game, with great gameplay in the variety of units and crewmates. The graphics are neat, the background music engaging, and the sound effects brilliant. The Bungie leaderboards and stats also provide an in-depth analysis of your performance.
Honestly there’s nothing to complaint about Crimson: Steam Pirates; there is certainly some room for improvement, but overall the experience is very enjoyable. Also, it’s free.