ARR, shiver me puzzles!

Last night I discovered Puzzle Pirates courtesy of my friend kris (who said he hasn’t played it yet). Puzzle pirates is new game territory–a massively multiplayer game where instead of RPG-style hack-n-slash, (whether it be turn based or real time,) the method of advancement is all puzzle-based. You can choose several different tasks aboard any given pirate ship, and each of those tasks is associated with a puzzle game. Getting better at each game type obviously earns you more rewards, whether they’re gold or some other thing.

There are a couple of different multiplayer puzzles… only two player, as far as I could tell, but I only played the one of them that is suppose to be sword fighting. I think that one was by far the most fun, but the gameplay was straight out of super puzzle fighter.

They only have about 6 or 7 puzzles implemented so far (with promises of more), but those that I played were all a little sad. Mostly I was disappointed by the lack of innovation. The puzzle types are all pretty recognizable. I’m surprised I didn’t see a Tetris knockoff; then again, I think I only played 3 or 4 of the puzzle styles.

The only puzzle I played that was interesting and unique (at least to me) was the one where you repair the ship’s damages. Basically, you have randomly shaped “holes” in the hull that you have to fill with randomly shaped pieces of wood. (Think very f’d up tetris pieces ala Mickey’s Magical Tetris or something similar.) Anyway, you can overlap pieces, but you get penalized for doing so. Obviously, the faster you patch, the better. I never did that well.

Oh, and another thing that was frustrating were the controls. I didn’t delve into the keyboard shortcuts (although some games you don’t have a choice) but those games where you could use the mouse were definitely harder than those where you used standard arrow keys and the like. The client is java… and I think the limiting factor here was java gui slowness.

All in all, the premise is definitely intriguing. Initially, I was so excited at the thought of it that I rushed home yesterday after unicycling and played it for a good two hours before I realized that nothing I’d done had been all that exciting.

I’m very much hoping for some more unique puzzles, as the whole concept (improving your character, buying stuff, based on puzzle skill and/or tenacity) is one I wholeheartedly endorse.

BTW, for some good innovative action-style puzzle games, check out yahoo games. The last time I was there I was exceptionally pleased to discover that they had a lot of new (to me) puzzle games. (I just noticed, however, that they have a disclaimer beneath the games themselves (at least a few of them) that says “Note: GAME_TITLE is not compatible with Unix or Macintosh computers.” I wonder if there’s some weird java incompatibility. I go back and forth about whether java is just a steaming pile of shit, or whether it serves some purpose. I guess most of the web-based games out there are java applets, so in that respect, I’ve got to love it.

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