Why are naval combat video games so rare? Well, perhaps because it is difficult to think of a cool way to make them work. Maelstrom seems to have solved that problem with top marks, for the game is out for some time now and has very positive feedback from the players. Not only did the developers made functional gameplay that incorporates naval combat and works nicely, but they’ve also placed the entire thing in a fantasy world, with monsters and fantasy creatures. Well, this doesn’t sound like a set up for a good game, what does?
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The testing community that participated in the project immediately praised the game and it slowly grew to a real passion project…
Maelstrom is developed by the appropriately named studio – Gunpowder Games, Inc. It was published by Forthright Entertainment, Inc. in September 2019 for PC. However, the road before the release date for this game was not smooth at all. Gunpowder Games started all this with a Kickstarter initiative several years ago, asking for funding so that the game would remain independent. The testing community that participated in the project immediately praised the game and it slowly grew to a real passion project.
After a very positive beta test phase, early access was released to similar acclaim. The studio particularly gained a reputation for keeping their ear close to the ground and answering user feedback appropriately. Soon, new content, maps, fixes, and lots of tweaks were added and this game continued receiving Very Positive reviews on Steam. However, the game did not have adequate outreach and there weren’t enough players to enable it to reach its full potential. So, the developers and the publishers now made it a free-to-play game, which caused a player overflow. This happened about three to four months ago, and the game is still growing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The main highpoint of this game is its naval combat or the fact that the player is controlling a real classic battleship…
The main highpoint of this game is its naval combat or the fact that the player is controlling a real classic battleship which matches ships from our early 19th century. However, as mentioned, the game is placed in a fantasy world and these two things are what make up for the most atmospheric elements in Maelstrom. Since it is a fantasy, there are, as said, monsters, but also different races. The players get to choose between three main races, which are three factions, and each comes with three different ship classes which affect the atmosphere and the player’s experience of the game heavily.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The gameplay is focused on multiplayer PvP, and you can queue solo or in a team of up to 3 players total…
In Maelstrom, the player controls his battleship from an aerial perspective, but not top-down. It is closer to a 3rd person view, only a bit farther than usual. This is one of the crucial decisions which make the battle so engaging, as the top-down view would make this game more of a real-time strategy, while this perspective makes it more in the action genre. The controls are also intuitive and not a problem for people used to computer gaming, mouse & keyboard, although the game allows the use of a joypad.
The three main factions in Maelstrom:
- Phoenix Empire (Humans)
- Reaver Fleet (Orcs)
- Steamborn (Dwarfs)
Each faction also has three ship classes, divided into small and fast, medium mid-range, and a full-on battleship. Of course, each faction has its own unique ships, with its traits and play style in the three classes, which makes up for 9 different ways you can play and experience this game. The gameplay is focused on multiplayer PvP, and you can queue solo or in a team of up to 3 players total. The solo mode is a classic Deathmatch, where the last man standing…correction, last ship sailing is the winner.
There are various boons the player can collect to power up their ships, which are collected from NPCs or destroyed player ships. And, similar to the battle royale extravaganza, the map area shrinks as the match goes on. However, when giant shark-like beasts called Thrashers to come in, Maelstrom becomes an insane action survival game.
In a team comp, players need to coordinate their efforts, with good fleet composition and teamwork. When a player’s ship is sunk, the player escapes on a lifeboat and can still contribute to the game until the end of the round with scouting or other ways.
Maelstrom also features the progression system. With the main and only in-game currency, you can unlock new ship types, upgrade those you own, and recruit mates. Mates are very important and then can also be separately upgraded. And, each ship can also hire a captain. All this together makes for an engaging in-depth preparation phase, which paired with the action of the match builds upon the entire experience with high allure.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The graphics and textures are all mid to high-class…
Considering Maelstrom was Kickstarter-funded, this project does not look like it is built on a budget production. It looks like a fully built, custom modeled, high-budget project. The models and assets are unique or look that way which is the point. The graphics and textures are all mid to high-class, and the game looks like a normal competitor on the market. Combat animations and visual cues are very precise and intuitive, which is crucial to this game’s gameplay.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The game looks, feels, and runs very good and the best thing about it is its highly competitive multiplayer PvP experience…
Maelstrom is an epic experience, no two words about it. It is hard to believe this game was funded via Kickstarter and build in independent production. The game looks, feels, and runs very good and the best thing about it is its highly competitive multiplayer PvP experience. Add to the fact that it is a free game, which is almost too good to be true this is a must-try. It brings naval combat to the market in style.