Meanwhile, Fleck is an odd little MMO by Self Aware Games that I have covered in the past but that is soon closing down. I love the look and feel of it, but its real-world-based gameplay might be too odd for many to enjoy. Still, it had issues finding its footing.
Let's talk about both in today's MMObility column.
"There are other jobs, and they all work together in real time while we're being commanded and steered by the the player who owns the ship."
The result is a game of ship-to-ship PvP that is dependent on the abilities of players and the way those players interact not only with the puzzles but with the rest of the crew. Once a player ship catches another, the players grapple and then fight hand-to-hand via a multiplayer puzzle. It's absolutely brilliant, so brilliant that the first thing I thought about Star Trek Online was, "Why can't it have multiplayer ship interaction like Puzzle Pirates?"
The game works fairly well on an iPad. It does crash once in a while, but I have only an iPad 2, so that might have something to do with it. Some puzzles, like carpentry and brawling, do not work as well with the touch-controls. They work, don't get me wrong, but not as well as others like bilging. In a game that offers puzzle-based gameplay for everything from gambling to crafting, it has to be a smooth experience. Luckily, this is no watered-down version. This is the same game you'll find in the standard version, the same community and servers. I actually prefer the mobile version because the puzzles feel so much more natural on touch, and the UI has been designed to slide away when not in use. For lack of a better description, Puzzle Pirates on the iPad was meant to be.
On top of the social world and all of the cool building features (I have a house located on the spot where my real-life house is!), there are zombies to deal with. Yes, zombies. Occasionally players will encounter zombie pods growing around the world. These pods can be allowed to grow into powerful creatures or can be dispatched before they mature. The advantage of growing zombies is that they hand out a good amount of experience and possibly other goodies when they are killed. Players invite each other to zombie fights in the hopes of maximizing experience. The fact that it's hard to describe the game might point to some of the reasons that the game is closing. It's a great title and works well in the browser and iPad, but it's so... odd.
"I have to admit that I had issues figuring out what I wanted to do in the game. Over time I would log in just to collect flowers and kill a few zombies."
The in-game cash-shop can be accessed with real-world cash or in-game coins, but prices are mostly too high. If a developer is going to make a game that obviously attracts younger players, it needs to to consider just how much money younger players have and are willing to spend. I'm only guessing, but the heavy prices, empty areas of the map, and housing maintenance might have been too much for younger players.
Either way, it's been a fantastic week thanks to Puzzle Pirates' glorious iPad incarnation. I'm sad to hear about Fleck's soon-to-be passing but can understand how Self Aware Games needs to move on. I'll be keeping an eye out for the studio's next project!
Each week in MMObility, Beau Hindman dives into the murky waters of the most accessible and travel-friendly games around, including browser-based and smartphone MMOs. Join him as he investigates the best, worst, and most daring games to hit the smallest devices! Email him suggestions, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.