LifeisXbox’s ‘King of Seas’ review | The king is dead, and his heir was hunted as the one responsible for it – but you and I know it isn’t true. She was navigating far away from the capital of the kingdom. Still, she didn’t have time to explain anything as she sailed back to the capital: her ship where she was sunk as retaliation for the crime. But she survived the attack and was rescued by a group of pirates from among the shipwreck. She has been healed and befriended her saviors. Now, with their help, she will discover who’s responsible for the king’s death and framing her for this crime, and eventually, avenge the assassination of the King of Seas.
Developed by the Italian studio 3DClouds S.r.l. and published by Team17 Digital Ltd, King of Seas is an action role-playing game set in a procedurally generated world where gold and run dictates the law! And such an adventure asks for a special review, so Cap’n Alexis and First mate Brazil Walnut reviewed this game together while sailing for their treacherous waters!
Alexis and Rafa navigated the Caribbean seas for more than 20 hours for this review, Cap’n Alexis on his Xbox Series X and his First Mate on his Xbox One X. This game is also available for Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Steam, and Nintendo Switch.
What we liked!
- Visuals | What a lovely sight to admire as we feel the sea breeze on our faces. The sea behaves pleasantly. Cities, harbors, and ships all have a good level of detail. It’s nice to see how each piece of equipment changes the look of your boat. Characters have charming still very distinct designs. But in the animations and special effects is where the game shines: watching ships firing their cannons and using their unique abilities is outstanding! Seeing ships ablaze or suffering from different statuses (more about them later) is always satisfying. The visuals of islands and all pieces of land you find in the oceans are good, though a little repetitive. I can see how much effort the team dedicated to making each region of the kingdom feel unique.
- Sound | The interesting sea-themed song, music, and relaxing sound of seagulls and waves cracking against the hull of your ship reminded me of our time in the Caribbean aboard the Sleepy Snorlax (A small nod towards everyone’s favorite writer/Sleepyhead – Maui). But the best part was undoubtedly the sounds during combat when the music gets more intense, and the sound of cannonballs cracking the wood of your ship will have you excited and thrilled. It’s intense and gratifying! Notwithstanding, I missed some sea chants and dubbing in the game. As there are many dialogs in your adventure, it could have improved the game tremendously.
- World | What every pirate truly wants: a vast and exciting world to explore! With hundreds of islands and dozens of harbors, fishing spots, shipwrecks, buried treasures, sea monsters, ghost ships, volcanos, and more, there’s always something to do in the waters of King of Seas. When harbored, you can visit the tavern of the city to recruit more crew to your vessel, hear the newest rumors, and accept side quests from people willing to pay for your privateer services. You can also visit the carpenter to buy new parts for your ship or repair its damage received in open waters. You can drop by the market, where you can buy and sell goods you get from plundering or save your most valuables possessions at the bank, preventing them from sinking if your ship pays a visit to Poseidon. When in the open sea, Cap’n Alexis always makes us sail to the nearest cartographers of the kingdom to buy new map pieces, which helps a lot in your voyages! Because let us not forget, these maps offer valuable information if you ever find yourself a treasure map amongst the wrecks and rubble you will most undoubtedly leave during your voyage! Something I often tend to skip, whilst my First Mate Brazil Walnut keeps harping about booty… Booty this booty that… Gimme a cannon and a target to fire at, damnit!
- Combat | By Jolly Roger, this is the most addictive part of the game, have no doubts! The combat between ships is fast, intense, and hella fun! You (and your enemies’ ships) can use the cannons positioned on each side of their boats to make it rain fire over enemies. Each vessel can use three different kinds of ammunition, each one focusing on a specific target: cannonballs to damage the hull of the ship (the red bar), cannonballs attached with chains are used to destroy their sails (represented by the blue bar), while small iron bullets are the best option to eliminate their crew (the yellow bar). Depleting each of these bars has a different effect on your enemies, reducing their speed or combat efficiency. Cap’n Alexis always goes for the hull of the ship, so we mostly ignore the other targets. You (and your enemy ships) can use different voodoo skills and abilities to turn the tides in their favor during combat: you have skills to deal damage to your opponents, freeze their ships, burn their sails, poison their crew, and many more! These RPG aspects give a rousing depth to the game!
- Play it your way | You can say whatever you want about King of Seas, but the fact that it is open world (or sea, in this particular endeavor) means that you can take this one on in whatever way you want. You could follow the linear story, or? You could just be “harr yarr” and be the scurviest pirate that you can be. Both me and Brazil veered off of our course a plethora of times, just to discover new isles. Though keep in mind that certain options only tend to open up if you complete a certain mission. Don’t make our mistake, destroy a fort to take it over, only to find out it doesn’t work like that until you completed a certain story mission … Want to get the most expensive ship there is from the get-go? Who, or what is stopping you? Go get to it you slimy seadog!
- Markets, PLEASE! | Markets are always a nice commodity to come by, especially when your hull is brimming with 69t of Wood. Heck, the Sleepy Snorlax has had more wood in her than anything else, oh and candies! So, hauling it out of her and selling it to the stereotypical middle eastern man should be a breeze… If it wasn’t for the tedious task of having my First Mate Brazil Walnut haul each piece of wood out of it one by one. Because yes, while the tick speed is quite “okay”, I miss the fact that I just can’t select to “sell everything” or sell in increments of 5/10 or 25 ton at a time. If you only have 13 tons of a certain good, that’s all fine and dandy. But if you’ve got over 200 ton of a certain element, and you want to sell it all off, or put it in the bank (which has unlimited stock capacity and works with rift technology for all I know).
- Fort hitbox | Hm? Say what? I just unloaded all of my cannons against your side and nothing hit because a tiny little pixel is in the way, while everything clearly exploded against your sides? And hmm?? Come again? I just unloaded my entire second volley into your side and only a few balls registered while the third volley, which hit the exact same points registered ALL of the damage? Yes, me harteys. These things are bugged beyond recognition and I surely hope that this will be patched, asap. Heck, I was even about to fire my first mate out of the cannons to do damage inside of these forts himself if it wasn’t for my gentleman‘s demeanor. You could argue, well what is the big deal. But lemme tell you! It IS a big deal if you knew that you HAD to do this to progress the story. We’ve lost countless attempts due to these things just spazzing out..!
- Silence of the ears | I think that both of us like music during our journeys. So when we heard that this was going to be a seafaring game, my first conclusion was that there were going to be some authentic seafaring songs in here as well. And while we do get enticing songs during the combat scenes, there is nothing of music while just exploring these vast open waters. A pity, and a missed chance in our opinion, isn’t that right? First Mate!
- Where be my waves? | I don’t know if this happened on the One X that Brazil Walnut has, but on my Series X I had waves just “pop in”. As if something went wonky during the loading of the textures of the sea. The waters became still and then… BOOM. Waves everywhere. At first, I thought it was a random event (like the before-mentioned monster encounter). But nope, depending on how long I was on the water already? The water just became a blank field of blue and a “reset” was done on it to give me again that impression of being at sea, whilst immediately pulling me out of my immersion. Again, such a pity..!
- Isle names | A tiny irk in this one. But give us the island names, even when we are fully zoomed out, please! At a certain point in the game, you’ll be able to conquer other ports. Eventually, your ports will start sending out ships to take over other ports as well. Then Morgen (your ally) will say something in the lines of “Port X has sent ships over to port Y and will arrive in ? minutes”. A quick glance at the map will not reveal which port is which and will require you to zoom in closely (which also takes a few seconds before you’re zoomed in far enough to see the names).
What we disliked
- Haven’t I seen your ugly face before? | Yes, you did. Not only his ugly face but the same missions, items, and locations. As Cap’n Alexis First Mate, I find it unacceptable when we need to retrieve the lost purse of the cartographer by the nth time. With so many different places to visit and all these waters to explore, the repetition of missions bothered me the most in this adventure!
- Missions are worthless? | While missions tend to give you a certain amount of gold, exp, and some variable of loot, most of them are basically filler things designed to act like a tacked-on extra addition to the gameplay. But my god are these tedious and boring… Some are even horrifyingly impossible to complete. Here’s our quick guide for the missions: Skip the fetch/delivery quests. Do the escort missions. While these are ranked as difficulty RED, these are by far the simplest and easiest for the early game. And if you see the missions where you have to kill the Royal Navy Commander ship? DO IT! It’s a HARD fight, but you’ll get legendary loot every time you sink one of them. The rest? Kill X amount of Royal Navy? Do. Not. Accept! These ships are as rare as a unicorn or an awake Maui. It does not happen! We’ve been sailing for over 20 hours, and I’ve still got 3 missions like this … that I accepted at hour 3 or 4 into the game. So you can imagine how rare these Royal Navy ships actually are!
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With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.