Developer Cyan Worlds, best known for their blockbuster 90’s PC game Myst (also available on iPhone), have just released a game called Stoneship – a turn-based strategy game with an entirely different look and feel to what you might expect.
Stoneship is set on the buccaneering high-seas and features hand-drawn cartoon graphics, and a simple style of strategic game play. The idea of the game is to control and protect a number of ports across a network of islands while fending off your pirate foes.
The game starts out with a basic tutorial, which is definitely necessary as there is more to the game than you initially think. After 3 introductory levels to show you the ropes you’re thrust into the campaign, which features some 83 different levels.
In each level you start out with a rough outline of an old map, with the true lay of the land hidden underneath. Searching uncharted waters on the map adds to your “renown” as a captain of the HMS Stoneship – and each point of renown gets you an additional crewmate on the HMS Stoneship. You only get a set number of turns to explore the map, during which you can find buried treasure, crewmates lost at sea, native ruins, sea monsters and additional ports. Once all your turns are up – the pirates attack.
When an attack is imminent, white dots indicate the path of the pirates attack – allowing you to move your crew from other ports to shore up your defenses. Once the battle begins, it’s essentially a case of who has the most men – if your port reaches zero first then the pirates have won the battle and will move on to attack your next port. During the battles there isn’t much you can do except madly tap the “fire!” buttons that appear on the screen. As with other turn-based games, the battle is won by what you have done before the attack, not what you do during.
In addition to the campaign, there’s another game mode called Challenges in Stoneship, which feature additional levels that are much the same in terms of gameplay.
Stoneship isn’t a gamechanger like Myst, but it’s a fun and light-hearted turn-based strategy game that should keep you entertained for a while.
Stoneship [iTunes Link] is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.