Tempest: Be Not Afeard; The Isle Is Full Of Noises
Pirates are great and deserve to be in more games and I love RPGs more than any other genre of games. So, I was pretty excited to play Tempest by HeroCraft. HeroCraft is a Russian games developer that specialises in mobile games. They do release the occasional game onto PC and even Mac but they’re heavily invested into the mobile gaming scene. Tempest started out as a PC game released on Steam to pretty positive reviews. Last month Tempest was released to the mobile world on iOS and Android.
In Tempest you captain a ship of pirates that are free to roam three world maps, pillaging and plundering as you go. I didn’t feel that the maps were all that big especially after playing for several hours. Looking at postings on the Tempest Steam boards, it appears that others don’t share that opinion. When you first set sail there is very basic tutorial that goes over the simplest tasks in the game. Everything, else you have to learn on your own. Fortunately, the Steam Tempest forum is a good source for information and it seems to carry-over from the PC to mobile version.
Tempest is touted as an “open world RPG featuring pirates”. I feel that is a fairly accurate description but let me throw out some disclaimers before you hit the buy button. If your idea of “open world RPG” is The Witcher 3, you’ll be pretty disappointed. There is little if any story and the quests are on par with your typical kill/gather X amount of Y then go from point A to point B.
Tempest is an RPG in the sense that there is a progression/levelling system. Instead of levelling a single character though, you level up your crew, captain and ship. As you gain experience you can use it to improve your crew to be a much more robust and capable group of scallywags. This improves things like ship handling, speed, boarding success, cannon damage and rate of fire. Specialist can be found and recruited to the crew that also provide stat boosts to your ship. Experience can also be spent on teaching your captain skills that unlock abilities or provide bonuses. The ship can be upgraded with better equipment (to include magical shields) or to buy new vessels altogether.
The open world portion comes into play by the freedom you have to roam the different maps doing any number of two activities; fighting or completing quests. Some may feel I’m overly simplifying it but I feel that’s pretty accurate and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Think about it, many of the great games out there really only entail doing one or two things over and over again. Most FPS really only have one activity and that’s shooting things.
I first set sail with high hopes in Tempest and then quickly lost the wind in my sails. Now, before you stop reading let me explain. After setting sail, I quickly found myself with a horribly mangled crew in need of medical treatment, a ship full of holes, no ammunition, and no money. I was stuck. Now, turning to the Steam Tempest forums I found what I needed to do to rectify the situation (it is fixable). However, I took another route and decided to play Tempest as a “rogue-like” game and restarted.
If you’re not familiar with the term “rogue-like” it is a sub-genre of roleplaying games which have you play through a usually procedural generated dungeon. A major hallmark of these games is perma-death where you must start over after each death. The draw of many of these games is the slow progression through trial and error. This might sound idiotic to some but it really changed how I looked at Tempest. Each time I started over, I tried different approaches and progressed in varied ways. The game was fresh each restart. I even tried a few times to go about as a pacifist engaging in only trade quests. Needless to say this new perspective on Tempest hooked me and I’ll not be uninstalling it any time soon.[wp-review id=”2149″]