What do you get when you mix Starbound with Borderlands? One hell of a video game. Pixel Privateers is a game about getting lost in a roguelike world with no real hope of survival – I mean, unless you consider having a huge pile of weapons and unlimited soldiers a chance at survival. This game made me want to keep playing it. I mean, well beyond what I needed for a review. It’s amazing.
Graphically, it’s very similar to the last title by Quadro Delta, Pixel Piracy, but it’s cleaner, with better animation, and much better effects. The sounds are similar, but again, cleaner. It’s like Piracy was their lesson and Privateers was their masterpiece. It’s great watching an independent studio grow and push the envelope, and this is certainly what they are doing.
As far as the story goes, you go through a wormhole, and then the wormhole breaks down and you cannot get back through it. That’s… almost it. There’s little pieces of dialogue, but nothing that interrupts you and wastes a bunch of time. It’s the opposite of Fairy Fencer F Dark Advent in that the story just gives you enough to determine what your next goal is, instead of trying to be the main form of entertainment.
You start with two soldiers, and as the game progresses, you can go to marketplaces and get a few more. These guys then are ready for you to equip, level up, and fulfill needed roles in your team. The classes, Vanguard, Marine, Engineer, Scout, and Medic all feel unique and give you an opportunity to customize your team in many more ways than just “Tank, DPS, Defensive Support, Offensive Support, and Healer” through the equipment system.
I started out having a well balanced team, one sniper scout, a vanguard tank, a medic, an engineer with a turret, and two assault guys with ranged weapons… but, I found that the game tends to lend itself to melee combat quite a bit unless you’re running into enemies with area of effect weapons. I swapped my loadout to a single engineer, two tanks, a medic, and filled the rest with Marines carrying melee weapons, and I ruled the day… until I ran into a guy with a flamethrower who killed half my party. I think that’s what’s great about this game. With the permadeath mode, I felt crippled by such a loss, but, I could always buy more units. The wax and wane of the unit’s power, while still letting each individual soldier get more and more powerful leads you to feel advancement while still giving you situations where it’s risky to keep going without recuperating.
SNERD and I liked this game enough that we had to try multiplayer. Even though we were only given one copy for review, we went and bought a second to team up, and, the multiplayer is even more fun because with a friend on your side, it requires much more coordination and skill.
The only things I really dislike about the game is that when you’re playing single player, to maximize your skill usage you have to pause and go through each individual unit to find an ability to use, turning it almost into a turn based game. It’s possible to tab through, but with 8 characters all having different weapons and skill sets, it’s much easier to just pause. This is okay, but it makes it feel less hectic, and trying to target individual characters can be a challenge. I find that just slamming through enemy hordes is more action-packed, and fun, but a lot less effective overall. Secondly, you’ll have units excel in combat that you think wouldn’t be. My tanks routinely did more damage than the rest of my unit, save for other melee units that dual wield (Marines). I never found a real use for a scout, and couldn’t figure out the benefits of the stealth system at all.
The bosses are unique and fun. The first one you run into is a giant mech, and, really the first time I suffered actual losses. Once I figured out the prevailing tactic against it, though, I swapped up my game plan and we just knocked the shit out of him without really taking any damage.
All in all, Pixel Privateers is a game the two of us couldn’t recommend any more. We are going to put this game in contention for our game of the year 2017, definitely. This is a good sign of the way games are headed. Developers like this should be commended for making unique and truly enjoyable gameplay. In a world full of dodgy steam titles and asset package ripoffs, Pixel Privateers is a title you can purchase knowing you’re in for a wild ride.
Get Pixel Privateers on Steam
Disclosure: We received a copy of this game for free.
Check out the Developers: Quadro Delta
And the Publishers are Re-Logic