There is something magical and captivating about huge sailing ships. Images of pirates, epic battles and one-eyed captains fill our imagination at the sight of beautiful vessels with crispy white sails. Feel the freedom of the open sea and the smell of gunpowder in Age Of Wind 2 – a sea-themed strategy game.
Features & Use
In Age of Wind 2 you’re the captain of a sailing ship in the middle of a gigantic world made of numerous islands. Out at sea you can either be attacked by vicious pirates or be a pirate by stealing goods from other ships. At the same time, you have to complete a specific campaign and constantly make improvements to your ship. Although game genres are a tricky thing, I would categorize this game as action-adventure. If anyone thinks otherwise, let me know in the comments.
After you’ve set up a new game, you’re placed right in the middle of all the action at the heart of the battle. Unfortunately, however Age of Wind 2 overdoes it with the use of text to explain the backstory. At certain points, the game is more like a poorly written adventure novel rather than an Android game. Instead of using video or comic-strip storyboards, everything is explained to you in pages and pages of basically useless words. Thankfully, there is always a summary of your completed tasks at the end of each text blurb.
Most campaigns involve you going to a far away island, talking to some people and then drawing them into battle. Let’s face it – that’s just repetitive, boring and no fun.
As soon as you attack a ship, all the other ships in its presence will turn on you and join in the fight against you. Convoys can be either pirates or peaceful traders depending on their formation and flag. Pirates can be easily recognized by their black flags and circle formation as opposed to non-violent merchants that travel in a straight line.
During battle, the camera shifts to a bird’s eye perspective to give you a better overview of all the action. The battle ends with one of the sides getting destroyed. Sometimes enemy ships can call for backup and put you at a disadvantage. There’s a 50/50 chance that a ships is carrying valuable goods that can be sold for money on the market. As a result, there are two possible business models for earning money: trading or fighting for goods and then selling them.
The only goods that you can use without selling them are cannon balls and bombs that can be used as ammo.
Beside the third-person view of the ship, the screen is also made up of a compass, a telescope, a display of remaining ammo, energy levels and current game level. You move up levels by completing campaigns, which then gives you access to new and better ships.
Tapping the compass opens up a map of the island world. You won’t get anywhere without your trustworthy map since you’re constantly navigating from island to island on different missions.
With the help of a side menu, you can double-check your remaining campaign tasks and check out your total score. With each completed level, you receive three points that can then be used towards upgrading your ship.
Bottom Line: Age Of Wind 2 fails to make a very good impression as a result of its poor controls. There are plenty of examples of other Android strategy games that do a much better job. Age of Wind 2 reminds me of a classical PC game from the 90s – something along the lines of Civilization and Age of Empires. Personally, I’m not sure if developing a game like that for smartphones is the right way to go. It should, however, work very well on tablets. Most of the campaigns are really boring and involving a lot of sailing around – not a good thing for an action-adventure game. Thankfully, the rest of the game is very well done and it definitely carries across the feeling of freedom in the open seas.
Screen & Controls
Age Of Wind 2 uses Unity Engine technology which helps create stunning graphics. The water and reflection animations are especially impressive. The ships are also beautiful and full of details. The developers dropped the ball on the island graphics – they look fake and uninteresting.
The controls are the pivotal point of Age of Wind 2. Although the menus are easy to navigate, controlling the ship itself is a total nightmare. The sailing ships can be controlled by either tilting the phone or using an on screen button – and neither of those options work well. Both methods of controls are imprecise, frustrating and extremely annoying.
What in the world were the developers thinking?!
Speed & Stability
The demanding graphics have an effect on the game speed of Age Of Wind 2. At some points, the rendering lags just a tad. Therefore I would recommend playing this game only with the most powerful devices.
At $1.99 a pop, Age Of Wind 2 comes at a good price if you consider how much effort was put in by the developers. There’s also a demo-version available.