Here Be Dragons

Here Be Dragons, a satirical, turn-based pirate game developed by Red Zero Games, has left Early Access.

The studio announced on the game’s Steam page that it left Early Access on January 30, 2020. Red Zero authored a post saying that the indie title has evolved with the help of player feedback and has added “new enemies, skills, captains, scenarios, and maps.”

Red Zero also confirmed that, in the full game, players will experience 40 skirmishes spanning 13 campaigns, a wide array of enemies, lead a hearty crew of slightly insane Captains, and experience the re-imagining of the Avant Armada story.

Here Be Dragons is a satirical, alternate historical story that takes place before Christopher Columbus began his voyage. Columbus was credited for discovering the Americas in 1492. The records show that he left with three boats and 100 men; however, the game explores a narrative wherein this story was a lie and the true records were lost. The title imagines that the expeditions, known as the Avant Armada, were erased and the only reason the player knows of it now is that an innkeeper retold the tale.

The turn-based strategy game boasts a highly developed ‘ancient living map’ and heavy narrative base. Players will adventure out as the leader of quirky pirate based characters to kill infamous ghost ships and mythological enemies such as a Kraken and Tritons, paving the way for discoveries by Christopher Columbus. Additionally, the game highlights the ‘maniacs, psychos and common crackpots’ who contributed significantly to the cog of uncharted sailing discoveries.

Classic turn-based strategic gameplay involves dice rolling for upgrades, combat, and healing. Players will also be able to boost combat by collecting ‘Ink’ and ‘Errata’. After winning each battle, players’ ships will be repaired, and they will be able to choose an upgrade per ship in most campaigns. Furthermore, players will have to battle leviathans, sea monsters, and ‘lustful mermaids’ across the ocean waves.

The art style and animation of Here Be Dragons is based on maps that are seemingly resting on tables while text boxes look like they were transcribed on scrolls. The town map shows where all the major players are and where they are going with the campaign map. Even the loading screen when loading into a scenario follows the style. However, the best part is during battles as the ‘living map’ brings everything to life as players can see their ships and the monsters bobbing up and down, clouds and birds travelling around the map, and each action is animated.

Red Zero’s satirical storyline aims to exploit the good, bad, and ugly truths behind “weirdos, madmen, and oddballs.” Furthermore, players are encouraged to indulge in a tad of narcissism as they are above others:

“Sniff at pirates. Ignore the settlers. You are above them. You are a monster hunter traversing through the aqua incognita. Who cares if you are insane?”

Here Be Dragons is currently available on PC via Steam.

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Steve Carman
Steve's two passions are journalism and gaming, and he enjoys playing Indies, RPG, and Action/Adventure games on PC and consoles. He can also often be found sharing his views on the industry @stevecgames.

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