Take a look at the Steam charts today and you'll see right near the very top, above a new Five Nights at Freddy's game, above even the terrific Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, is something called Naval Action. We first saw this game last year and I got a little excited (because sails), but it's now out (sort of) and playable (kind of). While still very much in Early Access (and a $US40 [$57] one to boot), I can see why it's doing so well:
- It's catering to a niche! Loads of people are into the age of sail, but not many games go out and cater specifically to it. This does (and it looks pretty good to boot).
- It's an open world persistent multiplayer experience with combat and crafting. The developers are promising to have loads more stuff later, from building trade empires to running a nation's military.
- It's got the most brutal navigation experience I've seen in a long time, in that it doesn't really have one. In an effort to keep things realistic, the developers have left out an in-game map. Want to get around? Use the compass and look for landmarks, like your great-great-great grandpappy did.
So yeah, there's promise here! As someone who has both ACIV: Black Flag and Sid Meier's Pirates! in my "best games ever" pantheon, I'll be keeping an eye on this. Though I might have to wait until the UI gets a little slicker, because the menus right now are some of the most jank-arse I've ever seen in a game that's actually charging real money.