One of the great things about reviewing games is the wide variety of games that you get to play. No where is the spectrum wider than in indie games. Games are created by all sorts of development teams, with varying skills and budgets, so you are never really sure what you are going to get, until you start playing. Dynamic Voltage has just released Pirates of the First Star, which is unique on multiple levels.
This game was created by one person in the span of 7 months. That’s right, in just 7 months. What makes it even more interesting is that the budget for the game was $162. With 2 teenage sons, I easily end up spending twice that at the grocery store in a month. The developer states frequently and adamantly that he is not an artist, so the Claymation work in the game is not great. Even with that said, you will have an experience like no other.
You play as Zack, the pirate. Your father is the King of the land and is currently having some major financial issues. He confides in you that if you were to find the First Star Treasure, that you would save the Kingdom and he will make you his rightful heir. This is significant because you have so many half-brothers, it is the only way you could ever run inherit the throne. But, not all of your brothers want you to rise to power, especially the Prince who is the rightful heir. They will do whatever they can to stop you.
At its heart, Pirates of the First Star is an exploration game. You must traverse the land, complete quests, discover new areas, and find out where the treasure lies. There is a battle element to the game, that takes the form of a Puyo Puyo style matching game. The more matches you get, the more damage you do to your opponent. If you are able to knock out all their hit points 1st, you win. Beating your foes will also grant you gold and experience. With each increase in level, you will gain hit points, which is helpful, but soon you will have to upgrade your character to do more damage or be able to use more potions in battle. Your foes are pretty easy at first, but after a few battles you will have to upgrade to keep up.
One of the nice things about this game is that it offers some variety to the gameplay. If you are low on gold, you can grow crops at your home to supplement your income. There is a devilishly difficult mini game that requires you to chase 2 kids around to try and tire them out, and of course all sorts of areas to explore and richest to find.
The graphics in the game are interesting. The characters are made of clay, and most have yarn for hair. When you are walking or running around, your character bobs up and down. Within a few minutes of starting my son made the comment that I was playing as a potato, but personally I think Zack looks a bit more like a chicken nugget in a pirate hat. No matter what you see, the characters are cute and will have you smiling throughout your adventure. The music and sounds in the game are a bit spotty. By this I mean there are nice melodies, back ground music, and really cool battle music, but in many places it plays through before you are done, so there is nothing but silence. I will however say that under no circumstances should you skip any of the dialogue. This game is so funny it had me in tears at several points.
Pirates of First Star is out now on XB1 and Steam. There are plans for it to come to PS4 and Nintendo Switch. While it comes with a price tag of $15 – $20 depending on the system, it is well worth it. To battle your way through and explore everything, you will easily have an 8-10 hour adventure. If you are looking for a fun, interesting, and one of a kind game, this is the treasure you should be grabbing.