By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
It’s time to go to Interstellar Tortuga, folks! Battlecrew: Space Pirates is on the way, but it is in early access, and as such, I’ve been playing it on and off for the past week or so, really trying to formulate what I think of it, and most of the time, I’ve been struggling to figure out what to call it! It’s a… twin-stick competitive multiplayer platformer. You play as one of four space pirates [but DontNod Eleven does promise more maps/characters…] and your goal is, well, what else? Stealing Gold! The battles are not long [about five minutes] and your goal is to get as much gold as you can, through any means necessary. There are treasure chests that spawn, and you’ll run and jump to them and mash a button to steal gold. Once you have your fill of gold then hurry swiftly to your goal of dumping it into the bank. That’s not the only way to get the doubloons though, my friends! My personal favorite way is to murder people for it! If you kill another player/NPC, they leave behind their winnings. If they get to it before you, they can get their coins back. They won’t, of course. The repsawn time is decent, so you just have to snatch and grab!
The controls are a big deal though. They have three ways to play it, and at first I had serious issues using my PS4 controller. Thankfully I figured out a solution that made it really quite easy: Big Picture Mode. Set up your PS4 controller there, unplug, replug, and good to go. But they provide a lot of different control options! Controller, Right-hand Keyboard [ZQSD], Left-hand Keyboard [IJKL], and change it from AZERTY or QWERTY style keyboards. No matter what keyboard style you have, you can play! Though while I appreciate the dedication to playing on keyboard and mouse, there is absolutely no way I can play it that way and still enjoy the game. I tried! I had no choice but to try I felt. You aim your gun with the mouse, move with WASD/whatever you chose… the control scheme is pretty simple though. You run, bounce off walls/cling to them, shoot, build a Hyper Move [basically your special] and get a couple of cool unique abilities to utilize in destroying the other folks. That does bring me to characters though.
I like the characters. They’ve got personality; they’re really badass space pirates. But I do feel like at this stage in the game the melee’ characters are at a distinct disadvantage. Bullets only have a certain amount of range so you’d think the melee characters, Jagar and Tiburon could win with their brute power. The swing of their weapon is decent, but bullets go farther. You really have to pay a lot more attention as them, and find ways to get the drop on your foes. There are two classes: Assailants and Gold Specialists, but I don’t really know why that is. I won’t lie, I don’t see much of a difference. Because, in my personal opinion, the most powerful character is the one you play the Tutorial with, John Trigger. While he is the tutorial guy, you can do the tutorial again as any character, to learn exactly what they do and how it’s useful. This is not saying “just play Trigger and win,” but I do feel like there’s some balancing to do, and maybe when there are more characters, I won’t feel like the melee classes are gimped/weaker. But I haven’t seen any of them in PVP. Only in practice. Any character can be good and win games, as long as you put in the effort with them. It’s not a game you can just be great at overnight, but it is a game you can sit down for a few minutes with a friend, play, and have fun.
Speaking of friends, let’s talk about the most important thing in this game: Teamwork. While there aren’t a ton of maps yet, there is something on them that, if you don’t have communication/teamwork for, you’re going to just run laps that are easy to predict and lose your gold at a rapid rate. By that, I mean you’re gonna get ganked, kid. Keelhauled! There are these buttons on the map, big ones that rest in the ground. If you step on them, it will open a path for your friend to move through. If you try to run through, a sort of wind wall will keep you back, push you away. It’s a vacuum that pushes in the other direction. So, you have to really know the map, know where your friends are, and figure out a way to get in that “secret path” safely. And with a 4v4 system for Gold Rush mode, it should be very easy to have at least one friend you can count on. This is a game that promotes teamwork more than most I’ve played in a very long time. It’s a simple concept, and that’s not a knock, not a check in the “bad stuff” box.
But sometimes, that’s all we want, right? Get the gold, shoot the other guys? This is a game you’ll want one of your close friends to have too, so you can work together. Ideally it will be enough to overcome the rest of your team filled with learning disabilities/natural asshole syndrome. Gold Rush mode is simple, it’s the mode I’ve been talking about: Get the gold, merc the fools. Will there be more? Why yes, there is! The other mode I’ve seen [but is disabled], is Team Deathmatch. Do I really have to explain how team deathmatch works? 2v2, murder people to death! This is the mode I want to play. You and a best friend, shooting the crap out of folks!
Should You Walk the Plank? Damn right you should! Hype Ship is taking off!
There’s stuff I haven’t even talked about that is worth mentioning! Like Bounties! While this is a competitive game, and there are still modes/maps/etc coming, there are bounties where the entire game works together for a common goal: Unlocking stuff/getting rewards? The current Bounty is to unlock “Skull Temple Map”, and you can see how much you’ve contributed to the cause. There are also quests, and these will go towards you unlocking stuff for your characters. Emotes, skins, and the like. This game is simple, but it’s so much fun. I had a hard time acclimating to the game until I picked up a controller, then it felt like… A platformer version of something like Smash TV. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be able to play this game as a team though. If you don’t work as a group, you’re going to lose because one man can’t really carry in this game. At least I haven’t seen it so far. I’m sure that will be proven wrong in the future, but as it stands, you have to work as one. But hot damn, it gets exciting fast! It promotes both teamwork and friendly competition, and frankly, there needs to be more games that actually promote teamwork, instead of the notion of “You can carry the game on your own and you need no one”. Go to Tortuga, friends, and get that gold!