Plunder is an open-world action RPG that puts you in the shoes of a pirate captain who is summoned by a mysterious being to complete a quest to save the world. The order and strategies you employ to complete this goal are up to you. As a captain, you begin the game as a neutral character. Therefore, your reputation is developed based on the actions and decisions you make. Will you decide to go the lawful route and remain friendly to the domineering British Empire or will you take the defiant path and join the Pirate Rebellion hellbent on liberating the seas and the surrounding towns?
Plunder's combat relies on fast-paced action with simple RPG elements that affect your speed, health, strength, and accuracy. The combat of Plunder is inspired by The Legend of Zelda, Gauntlet, and Dark Souls. You must successfully balance shooting, swinging, blocking, moving, and learning each enemy's attack patterns.
Leveling up and inventory management are simple and quick in order to ensure you are not bogged down by tedious micromanagement. Pirates didn't waste away sitting around playing with stats; they were out to spill blood and get gold!
Just a few of the enemies you'll face:
Daevols seem almost human at first but their blue skin and featureless faces are enough to make any pirate run away in terror. Their necromantic powers allow them to resurrect the dead so it's smart to take them out as quickly as possible. Be wary of their projectiles also, as they will divide your health in half.
British riflemen are not incredibly strong or fast soldiers, but their muskets have the potential to deal some serious damage. They prefer to handle combat from a distance and will shoot you down while you're distracted by other enemies.
Enemy pirate captains, always the most deadly of their crew, are highly skilled with the cutlass and pistol. They will fire off a shot from a distance and strike quickly up close, leaving you dead before you can even draw your sword.
Mormuls are bald, rat-like creatures that are commonly found hanging around dungeons in large groups. They're small and weak, but have the ability to swarm their prey and tear flesh from bone.
Flancers are green, scaly beasts with large horns. They are often found in pairs and choose to hang around other gangs of monsters for protection. They will stay behind other enemies and launch fireballs from afar.
A Gordunite has a snake-like tail, one curved claw on each arm, and a single red eye. They force other creatures into submission so they will often have an army behind them. Although Gordunites are slow to move and attack, their sheer strength and thick skin make them an intimidating enemy to face.
Sea monsters vary in size and appearance but one thing's always for sure: they will treat you, your crew, and your ship like chew toys. Keep your eyes open in the darker areas of the ocean and try to take these creatures out with cannons before they can reach your ship.
As a pirate, you will be spending time both out at sea and on foot exploring tropical islands and dark dungeons. Naval warfare is simple to learn yet hard to master. Its mechanics revolve around managing speed and firing your port and starboard cannons while outmaneuvering your enemy. Once you have disabled an opposing ship, you may try to board, defeat the crewmen, and sail away with the riches.
The dungeons offer a different challenge as you must descend into dark and windy passageways littered with traps, puzzles, secrets, and demons. Every dungeon presents you with new challenges but will always reward you with a powerful item--if you are clever enough to find it!
Tossed into the open seas, you will come across many villages populated by citizens and either the British Military or the Pirate Rebellion. These villages will have different types of shops to restock your supplies (blacksmiths, chandlers, markets, etc.), citizens offering side quests, and a tavern to rest up and hire a crew to aid in your quest. There are two different types of crewmen: swordsmen and musketeers. The path ahead may be treacherous, but these pirates will fight to the death for you (for the right amount of coin, of course).
If you choose to join the Pirate Rebellion, you have the option to fight the town guards and liberate the British-controlled towns. Once a town is free of British troops, your visits will be much more welcoming as you will receive discounts at the shops and be able to collect taxes from the villagers. The more towns you liberate, the emptier the seas will be of British influence.
There are many different classes of weapons in Plunder but you may find using a combination of at least a couple to be useful. Each have their strengths and weakness but it will mainly depend on personal preference which you choose. The different classes are as follows:
Swords offer a solid balance between speed, damage, and blocking. They are most useful in hordes of weaker enemies.
Axes are bigger and stronger than swords but also noticeably slower and worse at blocking. They are best used against larger and more sluggish enemies.
Daggers are the most challenging to use but are the deadliest in the right hands. They provide a very quick swing at the cost of low damage and weak blocking power. You must be light on your feet and smart in judging enemy attack patterns in order to be successful with a dagger.
Blunt weapons include clubs, hammers, and maces which are slower with less damage and blocking power. However, they are very effective against armored enemies as they can easily break through their defenses.
Firearms include muskets, flintlock pistols, and blunderbusses which are high-damage killing machines that can break through armor at the cost of long reload times.
Longbows offer a rapid fire, low damage ranged weapon that is most effective against hordes of weaker enemies. Crossbows are a bit slower but are more accurate and powerful.
The magic system in Plunder is unique, challenging, experimental, and therefore, optional for you to use. As you explore dungeons hidden throughout the world, you will come across runes that will add unique spells to your repertoire. Selecting and activating these spells will require a 2-key input code on the arrow keys (i.e. up-down or left-left) and therefore will call for a respectable amount of memorization and focus. In return, spell casting will give you a strong advantage over your enemies, if used correctly.
Plunder offers an open world of pixel-based pirate action with enough options and freedom to feel fresh in a market of countless indie rogue-like video games. Each area will be handcrafted (in contrast to procedural generation, which hampers creative variety in my opinion) and each dungeon will contain a new enemy type to learn and defeat. Your character will level up by completing quests, exploring dungeons, looting enemy ships, sailing the seas, and fighting intimidating bosses. Additionally, you as a player will become more skilled at the mechanics of Plunder and more capable against increasingly threatening challenges.
Risks and challenges
I have been working on Plunder since December of 2015, slowly learning the ins and outs of Gamemaker Studio along with the art of pixel graphics. Because I have only been able to work on this project during winter and summer breaks from college while balancing my schedule with work, the process has been slow. Now that I have graduated, my dream is to make Plunder a full time commitment until I can release the product as intended.
As of now, the game is in complete pre-beta mode and will more than likely go through numerous changes until release. Updating the art is a definite requirement as many of the sprites are either placeholders or a product of artistic amateurism. What may also be subject to change are the RPG mechanics (to improve balance), enemy AI (to make enemy attacks more readable and less buggy), ally AI (to avoid occasional bugs), user interface, and dialog systems which are a work in progress.
The amount of content will be entirely dependent on the amount of time I can dedicate to Plunder. The code framework for side quests is completed, it's just a matter of putting in interesting and non-repetitive content to keep the player engaged.
As I have worked with Gamemaker and Plunder for the past couple years, I have learned a tremendous amount about the capabilities of the engine. As I discover new features of Gamemaker, I will be able to improve the game but this will also require time to implement the required changes.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (51 days)