Title: Pirates Outlaws
Developer: Fabled Game Studio
Publisher: Fabled Game Studio
Genre: Card Battle
Release Date: April 14, 2020
Version Tested: PC
There was a time when a game like Pirates Outlaws was almost unheard of. Card battle games were widely beloved by a specialized niche of gamers, but their releases were few and far between. Then games like Hearthstone started hitting, and game developers realized there was largely an untapped well.
These days, card battle games have been tapped so much that new games released in the genre are trying to find new things to do in order to stand out from the crowd. While Pirates Outlaws isn’t totally putting the genre on its ear, the game does some things that are new and different enough that this doesn’t feel like a “you’ve played one, you’ve played them all” scenario.
If nothing else, Pirates Outlaws gives us a different backstory than most of these kinds of games have to offer. Most are based on a kind of offshoot of Magic the Gathering, and because of that, they tend to have a story that has to do with fanciful creatures and wizards. The latest creation from Fabled Games, which is a company that sounds like it would be offering a fantasy story, instead focuses on allowing players captain their own ship through dangerous waters. Building from that, the developers have come up with something that offers something that gets even the most jaded and the most veteran card battle games to take another look at this little creation.
A New Mechanics System for Pirates Outlaws
The most significant difference between this game and so many of the other card battle games is that most of the cards you’re going to play are going to be different ways to attack and different weapons, as opposed to different creatures to unleash.
This isn’t new, and it’s something that isn’t totally unseen in other games, but it is a bit different than what most of these kinds of games offer, and it’s plenty refreshing. Beyond that, another really nice touch is that some of your cards are going to provide you with even more “attacks” per round, and will even allow you to have an attack that costs no energy at all.
Because you’re a pirate and you’re usually shooting some kind of musket-like weapon in Pirates Outlaws, ammo is key to playing and winning around. That’s both a positive and a negative, depending on the luck of the draw. As is the case with most other card battlers, there is a limited amount of “energy” you can use per turn, but with the ammo card, you can replenish your energy and just keep hammering away at your opponents.
The flipside of this is that there are times when you don’t have any ammo and have to spend a turn wondering if your opponent is going to end up taking you out. Ammo can be spent on attacks, or ways to fortify, or a little of both.
Some cards allow your character to attack using swords or knives, and those don’t take out ammo at all. While I haven’t come close to playing every card battle game out there, this is the first time I’ve stumbled on a system like this that was easy to understand and manage right out of the gate.
A Pirates Life For Me
While there isn’t a great story in Pirates Outlaws, there is at least a reason and an aim for a player as they progress from one battle to another. You can even decide which path you want to take to get to the final battle of a round.
That path will allow you to avoid some fights while getting into treasure or monster hunts for a nice quick aside. You can also find yourself some items that will buff your character, or nerf your opponent.
Speaking of your character, while everyone starts with the same gunslinger, as the game progresses, you’ll be able to unlock others. These different pirates all have different attributes as well as strengths and weaknesses and playing around with these guys allows the game to stay fresher, even while the story and the gameplay itself gets repetitive fast. While the story mode is short on changes and new story beats, several different game modes keep things fresh, and won’t unlock until you play your way through the game’s rounds several times. That’s both a blessing and a curse.
Verdict: Pirates Outlaws does quite a bit right and offers a ton of content for a game that isn’t costing much compared to more significant and much less entertaining titles in the genre. If there is a drawback, it’s that running through a round can feel real similar as there isn’t much story. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something you can just sit down and start blasting away at, this game will absolutely offer hours of good fun.
- Mechanics feel like a new take on a card battle game
- Plenty of content, even if some is locked away until you play quite a bit
- A cool take on the pirate genre.
- No real story to speak of.
- It can get repetitive at times.
- The bosses are almost impossible for the first few times.