The Average Gamer

Kartuga Hands-On Preview

I would make an awesome pirate captain. Kartuga proved as much last week. In a daring attack after my teammate rudely left the battle for one of his fancy-schmancy interviews, I swiftly piloted my engineer’s ship over to the bomb, snuck down a quiet side-channel, weaved past the defense turrets with the help of my hovering repair helicopter and detonated a bomb right in the heart of the enemy base.

I died almost immediately after, of course but it was a deliciously heart-thumping victory all the same.

Kartuga puts you at the helm of a pirate ship, locked in a 4v4 team battle against an opposing human team. Having only three character classes seems limiting but with 40 ship types planned, there’s plenty of room to carve your own unique identity in a team.

Kartuga - CannonsI played the engineer, a healing/buffing class who can drop turrets or fling out healing helicopter drones that can be scooped up by the next player to sail within range. Rather unfortunately, my poor piloting skills did mean that I would scoop my own drone about 50% of the time. Never mind, eh? Best to drop the drone behind and let your opponent go get it, rather than trying to throw it at them yourself.

The Destroyer is the aggressive class – built for speed and maneuverability, this should have been the one to nip in while I threw heals and distracted the defense towers with turrets. There’s also the Protector, a class designed to, well, protect. Each class also has three sub-specialisations to further boost their capabilities.

Kartuga’s closed beta launches tomorrow, so those of you entertaining naval battle fantasies of your own can sign up today through the Kartuga website. The beta will feature 20 of the planned ships, five areas of the world and two PvP modes.

Destruction was the mode of my amazing victory. Each team of four owns a base at opposite ends of the map. It’s fortified with a set of pre-positioned turrets and there are numerous other turrets dotted about the map that can be turned to your side as well. A bomb spawns in the middle and your team’s job is to scoop it up and detonate it in one of the three key points inside the enemy base. Sail in, prime the bomb, defend it for 5-ish seconds and then away for the next bomb.

We played 2v2 on a 4v4 map, which left things a bit open but frantic enough when all four of us were in the same area. Each ship has a harpoon mounted on the bow which can only be shot forward to slow down a craft you’re pursuing but that alone can make all the different if you deploy it when, say, the ship is within range of your own turrets. The environment plays a large factor, with obviously, heavily-defended gates and sneakier side-routes which can nevertheless be blocked off with the right tactics.

Domination was the classic mode with capture points dotted about the seas and, again, turrets that could be converted to your side. This mode resulted in less frantic racings and more sailing in circles near the sunken ghost ship capture points trying to line up your broadside cannons while simultaneously avoiding your opponents.

Kartuga - TurretClose-quarters teamwork seemed far more important here. It’s all very well trying to soften up the enemy by capturing turrets but if you let them capture all five points, you’re basically boned.

If you can get into the beta, it’s really worth checking out – Kartuga is a free-to-play game running on Unity 3D, so it looks nice and you can jump in with the minimum of fuss. I spent more time with the PvP mode but there’s also a PvE section where you pick up quests for rewards, These are mostly of the “sail here and pirate some ships” variety but more types are apparently in development. What more you can do when you’re a ship that either attacks or sails, I don’t know. The PvE world also has your shipyard, where you apply upgrades and spend all your money on that microtransaction goodness.

Get more info on the official Kartuga website.