Strategic gameplay doesn’t have to mean slow. Most naval combat games take a turn-based, tactical approach to combat. Developer Gunpowder Games wanted to do things a little differently. The result is the fast-paced, ship to ship combat of their latest Kickstarter project, Maelstrom.

The developers are seeking $75,000 to give Maelstrom a final push towards an early access release. According to the campaign page they’ve already managed to bring the game’s multiplayer to a stable alpha state. They require additional funding to create a story campaign so they can flesh out their colorful, seafaring world.

Maelstrom is a grim fantasy dystopia where the different races have taken their battles to the sea. After their world was decimated by the Great Catastrophe the survivors were left to rebuild on the precious few scattered islands that remained. As their finite supply of resources dwindle, the war for survival pits them against each other in relentless arcade-style combat on the open water.

The Captain Of Your Own Destiny

Players are able to customize their ships to fit their preferred playstyles through upgrades. Further customization is available through the selection of a ship’s Captain and crew. Each Captain has access to a unique ability while crew members grant bonuses to various ship functions. This makes team selection just as strategically important as combat to a player’s success.

Despite the quick-pace, tactical players can still maintain an edge over their opponents through mastery of battle physics and strategic maneuvering. Cannonballs have a significant firing arc and hang time. This makes good aim and prediction the most effective means of destruction. On the flip-side, quick reaction time and anticipating an attack can help you dodge incoming volleys.

Naturally, other ships are only one of the enemies players will have to overcome. The seas in Maelstrom are dangerous in their own right. The deep ocean is full of volatile weather, dangerous currents, and furious leviathans. Confronting these environmental challenges can help savvy players turn the tides of battle, or alternatively doom them to a watery grave.

Despite the decent presentation, some have balked at the substantial funding goal. With all the work that has already gone into Maelstrom it’s unlikely that Gunpowder Games will cast it aside should the campaign fail. Still, it’s a shame we may miss out on an orc pirate story campaign.

About the Author

Joanna Mueller

Joanna Mueller is a lifelong gamer who used to insist on having the Super Mario Bros manual read to her as a bedtime story. Now she's reading Fortnite books to her own kiddo while finally making use of her degree to write about games as Cliqist's EIC.

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