Seabeard (Free) by Backflip Studios and Hand Circus is an adventure exploration game that was quite hyped up over the past few months. If you’re a fan of the Animal Crossing style games, then this is one of the closest things you’ll get on iOS. Seabard is similar to Castaway Paradise, which came out a few months ago.
Honestly, I didn’t understand what was so great about Animal Crossing until I tried out New Leaf on the 3DS last year. From that point, I was hooked within a few hours, and I admit, I probably had some kind of unhealthy addiction to the game for a while. I quit cold turkey before the end of last year, and while I sometimes get the itch to play, I haven’t picked it up for my own sanity. Fortunately, there are now similar types of games on iOS to keep me entertained for a while.
Seabeard has been teased since early this year, and I’ve been waiting for it ever since I first heard of it. I mean, an Animal Crossing style game on iOS? What’s not to like? Well, now that Seabeard has finally landed, I gave it a try.
The visuals in Seabeard are gorgeous and stunning. It’s reminiscent of Nintendo games like The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker and Animal Crossing, so if you’re a fan of those then you will love the art style of Seabeard. It’s fully rendered in 3-D with a bright, colorful world, and even more quirky characters than you can shake a stick at. The textures in the game are realistic, which shows how much detail and thought was put into creating the world of Seabeard. Animations are buttery smooth, especially if you’re using a newer device. The music is soothing and delightful to listen to, and the sound effects are pretty fun.
Seabeard starts you off as a descendent of Seabeard, a legendary pirate who vanished after a monster attack destroyed his hideout. You learn that it’s up to you to reunite pirates and rebuild the ruined island to all of its former glory. It is a grand adventure that you’ll be embarking on, and quite a big job to tackle, but there’s a lot of potential here to keep you coming back for more. Like any good story, the beginning is a bit slow, since it shows you the ropes of the game, but once you get the hang of things, Seabeard is filled with an unlimited number of things you can do.
The controls in the game are fairly intuitive. To move your character, just tap anywhere on the screen. If you are able to move there, you will see a green circle; if not, a red “X” shows up. There’s also audible feedback to go along with it. Players can interact with buildings, objects, and NPCs by tapping on them — when your character is off-screen and whatever you tap is glowing, then it takes a few moments for things to move along.
As you play, you’ll find objects that you can keep in your inventory, which are accessible through a simple drag-and-drop gesture when the time comes for it to be used. When you obtain a recruit who can fish, or get a fishing rod for yourself, you can tap the water where fishes appear to lure them in and catch them. There are also mini-games that are available as you set sail to different islands for quests, and these can be enjoyed through basic taps and swipe gestures. If you do well enough, you can earn prizes.
When you explore the islands and interact with other characters, they will give you small quests to embark on. These can range from basic gathering mission to crafting items or buildings, or even recruiting residents for the island. The variety in these missions and activities helps keep the game fresh and interesting, though some may think of these as tedious.
One thing about Seabeard that should appeal to a lot of people is the customization. Once you start building different types of shops and businesses, you’ll be able to purchase and make your own clothing for yourself or residents, furniture for indoor and outdoor settings, and even the boat and the exterior. I love making games my own through customization, so I’m pleased to see this in Seabeard.
As you complete activities and quests, you will earn experience points and coins. When you level up, you unlock more things that you can buy, and the coins are used to recruit and hire people, get items, and build necessary buildings on the island. You can also sell unwanted items in your inventory.
One problem I have with the game is because it’s freemium, there are timers involved with major actions, such as crafting, building, and even selling. If you want to speed things up, you will have to spend some pearls, which is the premium currency in Seabeard. Again, I’m not a fan of the freemium model of games, so I’m annoyed with this.
Sometimes, you will have to complete tasks that require specific items. Unfortunately, at times, these items will be hard-to-find, or even given to you as rewards for the mini-games. Or you could get lucky and find an NPC who happens to be selling what you need, but it will cost you quite a bit, and it’s not like the game gives you a ton of coins at once. With this tactic, it feels like the game is pushing you to buy some in-app purchases for coins or pearls. Oh, and not to mention that there are crops that can only be harvested at certain times or days of the week.
I was looking forward to Seabeard, but it ended up not being what I had expected it to be. The timers and other freemium aspects muddled up the game for me, and while it’s fun, I’m not sure I’ll be keeping it around for long. I personally would have preferred this game to be a premium game and allow me to play without silly restrictions, just like the Animal Crossing games. But alas, with the trend in mobile gaming these days, I’m afraid that just won’t be happening anytime soon.
If you enjoy grand exploration adventure games, Seabeard is worth a look, especially if you can get past the freemium elements. Seabeard is available on the App Store as a universal download for free with in-app purchases.