Blackwake Game Review


In 2013, a small group of video game developers started a side-project as a hobby. The idea: a casual pirate game centered around teamwork and strategy, incorporating first person shooter mechanics. Thanks to a successful kickstarter campaign, four years later, those developers realized their dream. On February 24th, 2017, Blackwake was released early access on Steam, and enjoyed instant success. More than two weeks later, it has maintained its spot on the top sellers list, and has continued to enjoy good reviews, with a rating of “very positive” (the second highest rating possible), after 3,512 users gave their feedback.

At the time of release, the game has four modes, which are essentially the same, but with different ships deployed. In each mode, you have the option to play as the pirate faction or the navy, and coordinate with your teammates to deplete the enemy’s tickets through killing them, sinking their ships, or running the clock out. There are two types of ships you can sail: the hoy (a small ship holding seven sailors) and the galleon (a big ship holding fifteen sailors).

Your experience at sea will vary by the type of ship you choose. In well-captained galleons, most of the crew will man the cannons below deck–a surprisingly dangerous place. Your duties will include firing the cannons, and if you’re in a sticky situation, repairing holes and manning the pump. Hoys are typically played differently, in an aggressive fashion that emphasizes ramming and boarding. If you end up on a hoy, make sure you’re prepared to use your weapons.

Blackwake was designed on the Unity Engine, and its graphics are up to par with the best of indie releases this year. In addition to a dynamic weather cycle including everything from sunny days to snowy nights, battles can take place in a few different maps around the Atlantic Ocean.

We are thoroughly impressed with the quality and consistency in the game, especially considering that it was produced by a team of independent developers without the resources of AAA companies. The gameplay is entertaining and fun, and relatively polished and bug-free for an early access game.

Overall, Blackwake earns a 9/10 from us. It’s a little buggy and has an unrefined hand-to-hand combat system, but with a little bit of tinkering, this game could become a 9.5 or even a 10 in the near future.