Online gaming has become a dark, slimy place where only the best of the best dare to enter. Well, maybe it’s not that bad, but with all of those preteen experts cursing like pirates, it sure is an annoying place. If you’re looking for a less soul-crushing multiplayer experience, then the newbie-friendly Age of Booty might be worth looking into.
The game tries to balance simple gameplay for casual gamers with some of the depth of real-time strategy, which it does in part by giving players control over one ship, instead of asking them to micromanage a whole fleet. The game’s control scheme also makes it very accessible. If you can find one person on this planet who can’t handle using the thumbstick for movement and one button for everything else… well, you’ve found a very lame person.
Each match can have up to eight people battling online. Winning requires using your ship to capture a town and collecting resources (such as wood, gold, and - of course- "pirate water," aka rum) from captured towns or fallen enemies. You can then use these resources to upgrade your ship's speed, armor, or cannons. Interestingly, once a town finishes preparing a resource, it’ll spit it out into the open seas. From there, it’s a mad rush to get that crate of rum before your enemies, or even your greedy teammates.
Another great aspect of the game is its easy-to-use mapmaker. Not only is it a cinch to make your own maps, but the map files are so small that you can download one that a friend made just by playing on it with them. The developers have also given you the option to alter their maps as well, just in case you had some problems with them here and there. It’s OK, we won’t tell.
While Age of Booty doesn’t do anything unique, it does offer a solid source of fun multiplayer madness. Add a ton of additional free maps being released every two weeks and things are sounding pretty good. The game is looking to set sail this fall on both PSN and Xbox Live.
Aug 13, 2008