Sunday, August 23, 2009

Game Spotlight : Puzzle Pirates

As I previously mentioned, something else I wanted to do with this blog was share with you some of the games I've been playing recently, both casual games as well as MMOs. I don't plan to go into any real in-depth review, and these likely won't be very long...just sharing a few thoughts I have about the game. It is my hope that you might find you like the game yourself, and perhaps get a glimpse into my personality and taste in games.

Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates

Genre: MMO, puzzle

I've been playing Y!PP off and on for about 5 years now. So far it's the only MMO to which I've ever subscribed, but then, I'm the kind of person who prefers to finish a game before moving on to the next one...usually.

In Y!PP, you take on the role of a little chibi-style pirate, and how you want to go about building your pirate fortune is up to you. Most of the activity in the game takes the form of puzzle mini-games, from duty puzzles (sailing, bilge-pumping, carpentry, navigating) to carousing (poker, hearts, spades, drinking) to labor puzzles (shipwright, distilling, blacksmithing).

I heard somewhere that how you play an MMO reflects how you operate in a real-life work situation. If that's the case, then I'm most useful as a grunt. There's the chance to become captain of a crew, or even royalty of a flag (a group of crews)...but I'm not sure how well I'm suited for management - I'm a middle-manager at best. There's also quite an economy built into the game. One can set up their own shop, bring in supplies, set competitive prices, etc. But I'm not that big into economics, either...and besides, I don't want my game life to be like a real job. No, usually I play Y!PP to play the puzzles. But I don't think there's any shame in that. That's one nice thing about Y!'s varied enough to appeal to different types of gamers.

Another cool thing they added was trophies (achievements, basically). Sure, it makes trying to collect them fun, but the downside is also the way the experience system works. Pirates don't level up in the traditional sense; they're rated by how good they are at the puzzles. So it's really difficult to get some trophies because you have to be better than everyone else on the ocean, and there are some good players out there. And you can't get better at the puzzles by constantly playing them and making a little number get larger; you have to constantly play them and actually get better at them.

One thing I've realized is why I don't put as much time into this game as I'd like. Partly because I tend to get "puzzle vision", and that I don't do very well at the "social puzzle" (that is, I don't tend to make a lot of good friends in these games because I don't talk). But also because there's no real incentive to advance. Sure, there are blockades, flotillas, and the recently added monster hunts (blockades against special, stronger NPCs), but there are no "quests" like in other MMOs.

Of course, don't think that I don't enjoy the game anyway...I wouldn't be writing about it if I didn't. I'm sure like with most things, there are parts you like and parts you don't like, and different parts appeal to different people.