King of Seas – Review
Follow Genre: Action RPG, Strategy game
Developer: 3D Clouds
Publisher: Team17 Digital Ltd.
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: Switch

King of Seas – Review

Site Score
Good: Tons of customization options
Bad: Fixed camera makes movement difficult
User Score
(0 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

There have been plenty of pirate-themed video games over the last few decades, which isn’t all that surprising, given how this part of history continues to speak to one’s imagination. A surprisingly low number of these titles really focus on sea warfare, however. British indie publisher Team17, perhaps best known for the Overcooked! games, and developer 3D Clouds are hoping to make their mark with a title that does just that: King of Seas is an action RPG that aims to bring the scent of seawater and the deafening sound of cannonballs to a console near you. Should they walk the plank for this or is it a pirate’s life for me?


A short story scene details how 800 years prior to the events in King of Seas, the Royal Navy managed to defeat the pirates that plagued the seven seas and also got rid of the voodoo magic that aided the swashbucklers. The few pirates that managed to survive the onslaught were able to flee to the edge of the world. The actual story starts off with the offspring of the commander of the Royal Navy coming of age. At the start of King of Seas, you’ll be able to choose one of the commander’s children to be the protagonist, either the girl Marylou or the boy Luky. Naturally, the sibling you don’t pick will play a part later on in the story, but we’d be spoiling things if we were to go into detail about that.

The protagonist you chose has just been promoted to captain, and is about to set out on their first mission, which should be a routine affair and simply requires the delivery of a load of gunpowder to a nearby town. As you’d expect, things turn out to be quite different: while your ship is docked overnight, the king, who happens to be in the same town, is murdered, through voodoo magic. To make matters worse, you’re framed for his murder. The Royal Navy chases your ship and sinks it, leaving you presumed dead. Fate smiles upon you, though, and you are rescued by pirates. Now a member of the pirate crew, you set out to solve the mystery of who murdered the king and to clear your name once and for all.


For the most part, King of Seas makes use of fairly simple 3D graphics. It’s not the most visually impressive game out there, and the world can feel a bit samey, especially since it’s procedurally generated. What’s present here is passable but not outstanding. Juxtaposed against these so-so 3D visuals are the character illustrations. These watercolor portraits represent the game’s cast during dialogue so you’ll see these plenty of times. While these are well-drawn, they lack animation and their limited range of emotions available doesn’t always match what is going on story-wise.


There’s not a whole lot that can be said about King of Seas’ soundscape. The music that is present is suitable but not outstanding. The same applies to the sound effects, which range from cannonballs being fired to the sounds of the waves. Everything you’d expect is present here, but it’s also simply unremarkable. There is a limited amount of voice acting, in the form of the narrator who explains the history of the pirates and the Royal Navy at the beginning of the game. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast lacks audible voices.


Although King of Seas is billed as an action RPG, we didn’t quite feel like the RPG moniker really fits. The narrative -albeit well-written- is a straightforward affair, with very little in the way of choices for your character to make. In fact, you never even directly take control of your captain of choice. Instead, you’re presented with a lengthy mission-based campaign that sees you take control of a series of ships. Your aim is to perform the tasks associated with each mission, be they delivering merchandise from one city to the other or taking on the Royal Navy in bloody sea battles. The ultimate goal is of course to reach the ending of the story, find out who framed you and why they did it.

On paper, King of Seas’ control scheme sounds simple enough. You navigate your ship with the L-stick. You control your speed by deploying up to three sails. Having more sails deployed means you’ll catch more wind, which allows you to move faster, although it’s easier to make turns and avoid obstacles if you’re going slower. Cannons are fired using the ZL and ZR buttons, depending on which side of the ship you need to fire with. There are no complicated button combinations to memorize, and most of the strategy comes in picking the right ship and upgrades for the job. Should you take damage, you can easily get your crew to repair the ship, provided you have repair kits, or by sailing into a friendly dock where the local carpenter will repair your vessel for free.

So far, so good, right? Well, not exactly. King of Seas suffers from two major control issues: first and foremost, the camera is in a fixed position. You can zoom in and zoom out, but you cannot rotate your view. This can become disorienting when you need to turn your ship around, as the direction you rotate in depends on the position of the ship on-screen. A rotating camera would’ve been really helpful here. The other issue is that the ship often doesn’t even seem to respond when you try to make a turn. This is by design, and has to do with the direction of the wind affecting your sails, but the game doesn’t quite explain this adequately enough. It’s easy enough to get used to it after a while, but it can be frustrating when you’re still getting to grips with the unusual control scheme.

Beyond the unusual controls lies a relatively deep and engaging strategy title though. As we mentioned before, you have various ships at your disposal, each of which can also be customized. You start out with a small sloop, which is fairly speedy and quite easy to navigate the seas with, but it’s also fragile. As you progress through the game, you’ll find yourself controlling more robust vessels that can carry more firepower but aren’t as maneuverable. Each ship feels slightly different to control. The seas you navigate hold many secrets, and you’ll find shipwrecks, debris and even explosives floating around. A more maneuverable ship is more suited to scavenging the useful stuff, but has less survivability should things go awry. There is a seemingly limitless amount of customization to ensure your ship fits your playstyle here, and the result is a strategically challenging yet carefully balanced experience. With five ships available, alongside an extensive skill tree and even additional captains that you can purchase, in addition to a surprisingly deep trading system and additional missions, you’re really getting bang for your buck here. Add to this that the seas you navigate are procedurally generated and you’re looking at a title that will keep you occupied for dozens of hours.


King of Seas may have made a few audiovisual compromises, but it delivers on the gameplay front once you’ve familiarised yourself with its unusual control scheme. We would’ve easily bumped up the score by a point had the game offered up the ability to rotate the camera, as this is easily the game’s biggest hurdle to overcome, but once you get past that, you’re looking at a title with a tremendous amount of strategic depth and engaging gameplay. It’s a title that takes some time investment, but once you’re really getting to grips with it, you’re probably going to love what’s on offer here.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.