App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Ahh, sailing across the open ocean with a hold full of swag. Perhaps once I get to that distant port of call I can use the earnings to upgrade my cannons and go back out to plunder trading vessels. Of course I’m not home free yet, so I need to keep an eye out for hostile ships. It sounds like a fairly awesome and expansive pirating adventure, right? Well Age of Wind 2 kind of is, but it also kind of isn’t. It’s complicated.
Age of Wind 2 is a more-or-less open world pirate sim. Players start with a fairly small ship and do a few odd jobs (mostly involving sinking other ships) as they attempt to get themselves bigger and better vessels. Commodities can traded among the various ports, and cash can be spent on buying new ships or upgrading current ones. The combat is a bit more arcade-like than other examples of the genre, with health power-ups and cargo physically popping out of destroyed frigates which then has to be collected manually, but I’m okay with that. It keeps things exciting for the most part.
The screen shots of Age of Wind 2 don’t quite do it justice. At least I don’t think they do. They appear to depict a simple arcade ship-to-ship combat game, when in reality it’s much more of a simulation. There’s a level of depth and complexity here that I wasn’t expecting and was incredibly pleased to find. And were it not for the absolutely horrid interface I feel like a lot more people would be talking about it.
But my goodness, that interface. Of the two control methods, the accelerometer works best. That is to say, it actually works. The direct steering option, on the other hand, does not. The wheel is tucked down in the bottom left corner of the screen, and it doesn’t register touch properly. Saying it looked like my ship was being steered by a drunk is a massive understatement. Using that second (and default) option is a much better choice. Unfortunately similar issues also plague the menus. Some of them forced me to use the very bottom of the screen to drag up and down, others didn’t move at all, and some worked perfectly fine. Needless to say it’s a bit irritating.
Age of Wind 2 is a commendable effort at a pirating sim. It just needs some interface adjustments. Okay, a lot of interface adjustments. But I have hope. This is an iOS game, so updates and enhancements aren’t out of the question.