TradeWinds is a pirate-themed game with well-balanced treasure hunting, fighting, and exploring
TradeWinds is a pirate-themed game that blends treasure-hunting, exploration, and combat…which is a little odd to see just a week after Playfish shut down the similarly-themed Pirates Ahoy. TradeWinds is about what you’d expect out of pirate-themed games on Facebook now, full of fights with rivals and chances to scour deserted islands for lost treasure. It also features some less typical gameplay elements, including the ability to travel between island cities buying and selling goods. It’s a game that makes good use of the pirate theme without feeling like a complete rehash of other pirate games.
You begin TradeWinds with a lengthy but helpful tutorial that explains the basic mechanics of traveling in your ship, trading goods, and fighting other pirates. While adventuring you explore a series of maps representing different island chains, while you upgrade your ship at a home island you can also customize to a degree. You can also customize your ship somewhat, though not as extensively as in certain other pirate games. The game offers you a simple chain of quests to follow to help guide you to new locations, but it’s also easy to go off and focus on whatever you’re interested in personally.
As you level up, you gain access to new trade goods and areas to visit. Each of the game’s island cities has certain items it’ll pay a premium for and certain items it sells. Making money quickly involves ferrying goods from a city that sells it to a city that particularly wants to buy it. Each city has an upper limit on the desired good that it’ll buy before triggering a cooldown timer and your ship also has an upper limit on how much cargo it can hold at once. Traveling back and forth a lot is the way to maximize profits, but each trip can trigger a pirate encounter.
Playing TradeWinds is a fairly simple but enjoyable grind of ferrying around trade goods, exploring deserted islands for treasure, and fighting pirates when they appear. While most of the game is a relatively solitary experience, you do run into a speed bump when it comes to treasure hunting. Eventually obstacles appear on islands that can only be cleared by hiring a friend to do it for you. The game does give you one automatic friend you can hire at default, but there’s a fairly lengthy cooldown period for each friend. Eventually, TradeWinds will become a very slow game unless you’ve got a sizable list of friends playing it with you.
There’s still a good chance that TradeWinds could scratch the pirate game itch for a former Pirates Ahoy player or anyone else that has yet to try out a pirate game on Facebook. Tradewinds runs well in most browsers used during the test period and had no issues with lag, long loading times, or memory leaks. TradeWinds can begin to feel repetitive a bit earlier than is ideal for a Facebook game, but the trading system can offer a lot of appeal to the obsessive-compulsive sort of gamer who loves to maximize profits.