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Kyle E. Miller
E3 2012: Kartuga Impressions
Yaaar, who doesn't like a pirate MMORPG?
06.07.12 - 3:04 PM

As the gaming industry unfolds its expansive wings, we begin to see larger and more complex games for mobile devices, casual gamers, and browsers. Innogames has been dedicated to free browser games, mostly in the strategy realm, and they have a manageable catalog of eight games thus far. They seek to take browser games back from sites like Facebook for a completely independent experience. In an effort to bolster their standing in the U.S., Innogames' latest game, Kartuga, is being released in English first. Developer Ticking Bomb Games has created a pirate themed, action MMORPG in which your character is actually a sailing vessel full of cannon balls and minute pirates.

On its surface, Kartuga looks like another real-time strategy game with ships, ports, and cerulean seas. The actual gameplay, however, resembles a hack 'n' slash game, but instead of a warrior or wizard, each player controls a pirate ship. There are even classes for the ships, and their roles are quite familiar: attacker, healer, and tank. A mouse click gives the order for the cannon to fire, and a few special abilities are mapped to the keyboard, balanced with generous cooldowns. Leveling up unlocks skill points, which can be used to purchase new abilities in standard skill trees, but ships also become larger and more graphically impressive with progression.

Although single-player quests are available, Kartuga focuses on PvP interactions. These experiences are closely tied to the game's guilds (which weren't discussed at length), and there are two PvP modes: destroy and domination. Stephen Meyerink and I played a brief match in which we raced to capture towers from the opposing team, all the while trying to sink their ships.

Innogames' small catalog of games allows them to pay proper attention to each project, and they want to avoid becoming spread too thin. Kartuga will appeal to those looking for a deeper experience without having to leave their browser. If hack 'n' slash fans tire of playing as the usual character archetypes, they can open Kartuga and step into the life of a pirate ship.


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