Swords and Crossbones: An Epic Pirate Story

Swords and Crossbones is a Kairosoft-style hybrid city sim/RPG, but with much more depth in the RPG elements and far less depth in the city building elements than Kairosoft games generally have. Which will probably suit most RPG gamers. You can also run the game up to 16x speed from the get go (no IAP or having to beat the game once), which really takes a lot of the pain/grind away. This is a really great game with hours and hours of game play, it’s billed as a "comedy RPG" but you can just skip through the dialogue if that doesn’t interest you.

You play as pirates who are conquering other islands and building up tourism on their own island. As you conquer islands, you discover buildings and bigger ships and new party members, and can forge tourism links with them. Early on, money is a bit of a challenge as is gathering resources to upgrade. Once you have all the production buildings and are making cotton and rare metals, it gets pretty easy.

I found the combat insanely easy. It’s strategic/grid-based rather than hack-and-slash. You could honestly win the entire thing with just the first three characters: your warrior, gunner and thief. The harpooner is also useful because they can fight while swimming (from a water square) as well as trap animals for your zoo, and the sniper, who comes much later on, was useful for hitting from long range. Beyond that I barely bothered with the other members, just dragging them along to help level them in case I needed them, but I never did.

Then there’s crafting and tailoring, which seem completely arcane at first as it doesn’t tell you how many you need of certain components. Craftng doesn’t really work until much later on when you have the rare metals mine and cotton production. You will need a copy of the previous weapon to make the next, and it can’t be wielded. The thing is that by this stage you almost certainly have the Item Collector to raid shipwrecks, and you get high and top level eq items all the time from these (and the shipwrecks are numerous). You’ll also pick up a few high level items from boss battles (which are no harder than regular battles).

There’s not a huge point to trapping animals other than slightly increasing your zoo revenue, but by the time you’re at that stage it’s a negligible difference, or so it seemed. If you do want to fill your zoo and aquarium, you may in fact want to preserve a low-powered player to gently knock a monster down to "weakened" state so the harpooner can trap it. Otherwise if the harpooner is hitting for 37 and the monster has max 21 hp, you’ll just end up killing them.

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