When Faster Than Light first hit computers, I was playing it constantly. Always working out the best possible crew and focusing to ensure I survived to the very end. There was something cathartic about the game, and even after countless tries and many deaths, I never got bored. This is the same feeling I am getting from the new high seas’ roguelike Maritime Calling from Tiamat Games. It blends concepts of an RPG and management sim, all with a unique visual flare.
Jumping into the preview built after an in-depth developer session, I had a basic idea of what to expect. You must take your crew and set sail to complete quests and carry out your seafaring duties. These can include setting sail for an island to give your crew some rest and supplies, or even take them head-to-head against another ship and try to come out on top.
Maritime Calling presents countless options on how to take on the ocean and its many parallels, while giving enough of a hand to ensure you don’t lose your bearings along the way. Part of the process rests on how you assign your many crew mates to ensure they do the best job possible. Assigning them based on their strengths will ensure things get done properly, the ship will run, and you will return to dock alive. Avoid this needed aspect, and you will soon be meeting Davy Jones before too long.
One thing that stands out is the sailing mechanics and how the ship controls. While having many stand-out elements, the way Tiamat Games have captured the feel and look of the ships is fantastic. Many seafaring games make the ship feel modern. Maritime Calling is true to the time period, with your ship feeling sluggish but powerful. Especially during battles, turning and manoeuvring the massive ship will take practice, but feels rewarding once you get the hang of it all. Players will also need to keep on their toes to avoid hazards, trouble or land that could be in their way.
As mentioned before, each sailor on your crew will have strengths, and you, as the captain, will need to assign their shifts accordingly. Even an inexperienced crew member can learn the ropes of most jobs given the time, but you will want to ensure that training is not done when you are in dire need of that skill, be it food or any important aspect you need to keep your ship running properly. It can get tedious going through the entire crew, but it is a vital process to achieving victory.
As with any game of this nature, you will have to decide where to focus attention and how to improve your ship and its crew. You will need to choose how resources are allocated, and what missions to carry out on your quest. Maritime Calling is not a game you can set and forget, each action will take thought and careful consideration, but that is rewarding when it all falls into place. Tiamat Games has shown a great deal of love and attention to the game and its system, and you can see that when you finally dive in.
“Maritime Calling is not a game you can set and forget, each action will take thought and careful consideration…”
The graphics do the job— for the most part—although there are a few areas I hope they improve before full launch. The water and ship look fantastic, Tiamat Games have captured the atmosphere of the open seas and the colonial era ships sailing its waters. They are filled with detail, and the crew can be seen walking its deck as you play the game. One area I hope they improve is the menus and the portraits of the crew. Currently, they feel very standard, and can get muddled when playing for a while. While it works, it takes away from an otherwise exciting experience.
Running on a MSI gaming i7 laptop with a RTX 2070, the game ran well with no real issues. Although, as with most modern games, don’t expect to play Maritime Calling without a discrete GPU, you will be in for a slow and overall bad time. It plays well on most modern GPUs on the market, so, as long as you have a relatively new PC, you should have no issues diving in and enjoying the open oceans.
Maritime Calling is filled with promise and should excite anyone looking for their next roguelike fix. The setting and concepts feel well fleshed out, and the systems at play are deep and ripe enough for an RPG or management sim lover to dive in and enjoy. While not quite ready to set sail, Maritime Calling has a bit of time before it leaves dry-dock this October on PC.