Age of Booty Review

I had high hopes for Age of Booty - what better setting for a casual game than pirate ships fighting each other for control over some islands? YAAARGH! Unfortunately I encountered many problems whilst trying to get into the game and even though the game is only $10 USD, some of its faults are inexcusable. Read on to find out why.

Age of Booty Gameplay Video

Sound (3/5)
There’s nothing wrong with the game’s sound. It’s functional. An appropriately piratey voice announces events during the game and whilst cruising around the map, you’ll frequently hear the sounds of the sea, cannons, horns and parrots. All very piratey.

Music (2/5)
The game is somewhat lacking in music, only having one piratey jig that plays during the main menu. The pity is that the music isn’t too bad but it would’ve been nice if they had more. In Sid Meier’s Pirates! I thought a nice touch was the occasional little sea shanties that were played every time you won a battle – quite a simple gimmick yet one that wouldn’t have gone amiss in Age of Booty!

Graphics (3/5)
Graphics aren’t too special but hey it’s a casual game, so what do you expect? At least they’re bright, colourful and functional, since that’s all you really need.

Plot (4/5)
There really isn’t much of a plot in this game since it’s just a casual game after all, however there was some effort put into making one so kudos should be given because of that.

The game takes place on a hexagonal grid. Most of it is covered with sea tiles and the rest with land tiles, some of them containing towns, Native villages and volcanos (which represent Pirate Bases). The premise is quite simple: use your pirate ship to capture as many towns as possible to win the game – it’s basically a piratey version of Capture the Flag. The towns and villages will give you resources which allow you to upgrade your ship’s speed, defense and attack, and bolster the defences of towns you control. Sinking merchant ships will give you special abilities that you can use on your opponents (e.g. bombs to do damage, stealing resources, etc.).

That’s basically the game in a nutshell and while the gameplay is okay, and there’s nothing really to fault about it, it can seem somewhat boring to non-casual gamers since the RPG fans will be looking for ways to “power-level” which is very limited in this game, and the FPS/action fans will be looking for ways to test their skill, which you can’t really do in this either since combat is automatic. Ultimately a lot of it relies on chance and the only advantage to be gained from being a veteran player is in knowing the maps.

True most casual games do rely a lot on chance and not much decision making (I know Uno is a bit like that) but computer gamers don’t want a game that is too casual… or if it does, it has to have a lot of customisation to make it worth while (e.g. The Sims formula). Being able to customise your pirate avatar or ship may have been a nice touch that would’ve improved the game’s appeal and longevity.

Replayability (2/5)
There is a marked lack of players at the moment which is a shame. Fortunately, some players have decided to make online communities to help counter the problem (one such community exists here on Steam:, however it just goes to show how unpopular the game is and the lack of opponents severely affects the game’s replayability. I don’t know if it’s because of poor marketing or not but I would’ve expected a bit more people for a game that’s only $10 USD!

The map editor is a nice addition and this helps with the replayability value of the game but again, if there aren’t any others around to show off your creations too, then what’s the point? There’s only so much you can play on single player since the maps aren’t randomised and you’re playing against the same AI, so once you’ve finished with that, then there’s not much else.

It took me a lot of effort to get the game working in the first place and sadly even this game uses SecuROM (NOOoooooo!). Speaking of which, several people have reported problems with mismatched serial keys being provided. This is what Capcom had to say about the "CD Key In Use" error:

If you're getting this error and purchased via the Capcom Store, Capcom customer support is now able to give you a new Gamespy CD-Key. Note it won't work for product activation, just for Gamespy matchmaking.

I'm not quite sure why there were duplicate keys being issued on the store, but we're going to reissue keys to the capcom store so going forward new customers will be issued unique keys. Sorry for the cd key issue :(

I've also asked CA to look through these threads at the other issues currently being observed.

I however started getting problems as early as installation of the game, but then I discovered uninstalling the beta copy somehow fixed things!

DRM issues aside, the game also has a rather drab interface that looks amateurish. I know the developers were probably going for a piratey look but the interface looks very pixelated and a cleaner high-resolution interface would’ve looked better. Also running the game at my monitor’s native resolution is impossible since it only supports a few, so the 22” Widescreen LCD users will just have to do with a lower resolution setting.

Overall - 51%
A cheap, casual pirate game that is mired by DRM issues and gameplay that would appease only the most casual of PC players.