Developer: Fried Green Apps
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.03

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

It is with incredible regret that I must inform you that Steam Pirates, a fantastic looking steam-punk RPG, is not all that great. The real shame is that it does have all the makings of a great RPG, it just fails to execute on some critical points.

Let’s start with the good. Steam Pirates starts you off with a great story of how you, a human, were rescued by a cat family that couldn’t have children of their own. They raise you as a cat, until one day you leave the nest to find your true identity after the realization that you are not a cat sinks in. You then go on to become a mercenary pirate, sailing the seas to make a buck.

You then go from job to job taking on adventures (never really getting to the original “find your family” storyline until you are deep into the game, but that’s neither here nor there) and… I won’t spoil the rest for you. Along the way there are various NPC’s, shops, and other goodies that every good RPG is supposed to have. The world that you go through is very original, has nicely animated 2D steam-punk graphics, and is quite large.

Now for the bad. There is an astounding lack of save points throughout the world of Steam Pirates. In front of each “level” there is a save point, but the levels are quite long and are a real pain in the rear to get through in a sitting. You really need to dedicate at least half an hour to the game each time you pick it up unless you are a fan of retracing steps.

The combat system is also a bit of a drag, considering the amount of fights that you are in. The system itself is just like a typical RPG combat system (think Mario RPG), but it’s just too slow. It takes a while for the combat to get started, and then you have to sit there and watch all the attacks unfold. When the computer attacks you, the attack is spelled out on the screen, then a pause, then the computer attacks. The same goes for your attacks, and then the combat is done, taking you to another screen to see what you’ve won. If a minute or two were shaved off of each combat cycle, I would be thrilled.

The final major problem, and this one is really annoying, is that enemies respawn when you leave a room and come back. So after you go through the annoyingly long combat, you have to do it all over again if you have to backtrack. Oh, and there is no map… so you will be backtracking.

Honestly, if there were more save points, or even better, an autosave, I would be thrilled with this game. After spending 30 minutes in a cave though, only to die and have to go all the way back to the beginning, I was ready to quit. With some updates, Steam Pirates has the potential to be great, but in its current form, it is far too frustrating to recommend to any but the most hardcore RPG fans.

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