It would be easy to bemoan the appearance of yet another casual strategy-based city building game for the world of social media. Pirate Century is an interesting addition to this type of gaming experience. In it, a player is charged with the task of creating a pirate utopia and allying with other players for the sake of gaining treasure and territory. There’s resources to be found through conquest abroad and managing one’s resources at home. Although many stories and games only focus on swashbuckling and swordplay, in a way it’s to see a game make the attempt to show us what goes into the nuts and bolts of a pirate empire. The quest system in this game appears to be well organized and geared toward making gameplay run smoothly as it teaches players the essentials of efficiency and infrastructure.
The layout of the game is very straightforward. It shares the top-down isometric view common to many strategy/sim games currently available for play. Color and contrast of the game elements are vibrant and easily distinguished. Buildings and empty plots are set on a grid. I found this to be helpful as my experience with other games that take a free-form approach to one’s imaginary empire building can be distracting. A player can get down to constructing buildings and recruiting men for the next conquest without hiding resources accidentally or losing a small, important resource in the larger clutter.
One aspect of this Massively multiplayer online game that detracted from the gameplay was a lack of animation. I don’t demand small sprites miming activity to appear everywhere I click, but there’s not much action onscreen. Although large elements of this game involve marshaling resources of manpower or raw materials, it would be nice if these weren’t always based in an abstracted realm of text and numbers, possibly with a touch more animation or characters. Despite tutorials, there appears to be much information glossed over or ignored in the first few minutes of gameplay. Some sort of integrated help feature beyond what’s already there into would help players immerse more quickly, but with a little intuition things make sense quickly enough.
For fans of no-nonsense strategy gaming with a basis in historical reality, this would be a worthy fit. Social gamers demanding cute characters and fantasy drivel should look elsewhere, but from this game has a great amount of potential to be lots of fun.