Day 274: “Modern Pirate Hunter: Ep 1”

Posted: 2011/08/11 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #274, and today’s game is “Modern Pirate Hunter: Ep 1”.

The full title, if the box art provided by the author is to be believed, is “Modern Pirate Hunter: Episode 1 – Nash’s Revenge”. When I first saw this game I almost got goosebumps because it appears to have been inspired by an original Xbox sleeper hit that I was sorely missing: “Blood Wake”! But whereas Blood Wake once cost $50+ (depending on where you lived), this costs 240 Microsoft Points ($3+). It’s no clone though, it’s a very different game with different (and dare I say improved) controls and a different kind of mission structure. This is an absolutely unbeatable buy for those who loved Blood Wake, for those who liked games like Burnout Paradise (as the mission structure reminds me a bit of that), fans of games like Crimson Skies, for those who loved Hydro Thunder but want to take it in a less racey/more mission oriented direction, and for anyone willing to pay 240 MSP for a game whose graphics easily blow away most $15 XBLA games. I can’t believe everyone isn’t talking about this game, so please keep reading as I’m going to.

First, from the developer (ZXB Games):

“Modern Pirate Hunter: Ep 1 (Nash’s Revenge) is a fast-paced sea combat game with a unique style of action and depth featuring intense dog-fights, a rich 3D world to explore, a multitude of weapons and upgrades, and a thrilling campaign.”

Never heard of Blood Wake? Shame on you, it was a fantastic (if little remembered) 2001 release for the original Xbox. Here’s what you missed:

The controls feel kind of “stunty”, enough to envision extreme sports games as you literally roll your boat left and right. If you’re willing to check your understanding of physics at the door (just as you had to do the first time you played X-Wing Vs. Tie Fighter) then you’re in for a wild ride. The rolls feel a bit like doing a barrel roll in Star Fox (or other flight game of your choice).

The game’s campaign adds much appreciated storytelling to a genre (boating games) that’s usually just about racing around a loosely defined water track. While I’m a huge fan of Hydro Thunder, there’s room for more and it’s nice to see another game (pardon the pun) plumbing those depths. The game gets suitably hairy in later missions, as an array of enemies stand between you and objectives to the point that just surviving can be a challenge. The difficulty ramps up over enough time to let you master the controls and start building up your technique first, though, to avoid frustration.

With such strong presentation, unique controls, and it being an entry in a genre nearly forgotten genre (I’m struggling to think of any boat combat games since Blood Wake’s 2001 release), Modern Pirate Hunter 1 is a strongly recommended purchase.

Click here to download “Modern Pirate Hunter: Ep 1”, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.

Know someone else who would want to read the review, or rate the game? “Share This” and invite them to.

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