Today we’re taking a look at Maritime Calling, an upcoming Seafaring-Roguelike where you take control of a ship and cross the high seas. Manage your crew, craft food and other necessities, and explore islands to equip yourself with enough strength to sink other ships!
Developer: Tiamat Games Publisher: Tiamat Games Genre: Seafaring, Roguelike, Adventure, RPG, 3D, Exploration Release Date: September 29th, 2021 Reviewed on: PC Available on: PC Copy was provided by the developers.
Before we head into all of that though, I’d like to mention that I’ve never really been much of a seafaring/pirate game fan. I did dabble in Sunless Skies and Sunless Sea but I don’t know if those count exactly. Sea battles and Pirate Games aren’t exactly my forte mainly because I haven’t had the chance to play too many yet… which is why this one’s a new one for me. Maritime Calling combines those gameplay systems with Roguelike mechanics and lets you take control of a crew with stronger and weaker members. The world gets generated procedurally, so you may encounter similar islands and enemies but overall, there are supposed to be a lot of different combinations and you may not see the same map twice. Your goal is to go on a journey and essentially survive. You have a few goals and quests that you may pursue like saving certain sailors, battling different crews and amassing 1000 jewels, but those are merely a help in case you don’t know what you wanna do first. You don’t have to do those goals and milestones. You’re somewhat free to go where you please to go although you have to explore islands as well since you have to take care of a lot of different systems.
For instance, your crew consists of humans and due to that, you need to keep them fed, motivated and rested. When you keep on sailing for a long time, they get fatigued or lose morale. Hence, you may need to let them rest for a while or you serve them rum and other goodies among their rations. The cook can also prepare soups and other dishes to keep their diet in check… now that sounds complicated but in essence, you cook different dishes and they add different bonuses when selected as rations to be fed. Similarly, you’ll need water to or else you’ll die of thirst,… and because manpower isn’t infinite, you’ll need to be super careful about your resources, these different stats, and well, other dangers.
When you explore islands, you can pick different paths to earn jewels, materials, and other resources but your leadership is tested here. Once a snake bit one of my crewmates and we treated it immediately, halting the whole expedition which took us a while but in the end, we treated them and got the morale up in the process, too. The issue here is that you may fail some of the events based on the perception, fighting power and other stats of your individual crewmates and that can be rather punishing when you first start the game. Just like with other roguelikes, you end up struggling in your first few runs until you get a feel for things but eventually, you get better at it and can make these decisions better. The learning curve is big but it’s overall quite a lot of fun, I would say. And of course, there are sea battles that you can encounter to earn more experience but for those you need cannonballs and you need to pay attention to different actions, your distance to the enemy ship as well as your ship’s health and all of that. Do you strike now or do you turn around and repair your ship? Do you slow down the enemy ship using chain balls or do you just go for a direct hit to the hull? There are lots of different decisions to make here and I found it overall quite exciting, to say the least.
My issue with the game, however, is that the tutorial is basically a quick note that explains the controls and then there’s nothing else. You’re prompted to hover over buttons to find out what they do but it doesn’t really help because the UI is relatively crappy. I spend a good ten minutes wondering if I’m actually moving forward before I noticed that my anchor was still down. Similarly, you may take a break but your crew hasn’t lowered all sails for whatever reason, even though you commanded them to do exactly that. And then there are other issues in the game with clarity and the user interface. My crew sometimes would end up losing health but the game didn’t exactly tell me why. At last, I’d love it if you could see all of the crewmates in a better overview, similar to RimWorld’s, so that you can assign traits, jobs, and positions better. Giving the crewmates nicknames would also be beneficial… And then there are some performance issues but the game doesn’t allow you to reduce graphics settings apart from turning shadows on or off. The game doesn’t look like it’s super demanding but for whatever reason, it struggles here and there quite a bit.
Still, the version that I was given is a beta and the game’s release date is still five weeks off, so there’s probably gonna be a better build available on release with fewer bugs and better performance. Maybe they’ll even improve the UI more? We’ll see!
If you want to give this game a shot yourself, feel free to wishlist it on Steam! Maritime Calling is coming out on September 29th and even though I’m not the biggest fan of seafaring games, I was positively surprised with this one and did enjoy this game quite a bit, so I may cover it in the future again.
This post is part of the Blaugust 2021 event. For more information on that, check out this post!