Here at Dealspwn we're all about getting the best games for the least amount of financial effort, and we often tend to forget that some of the most addictive offerings out there are completely free. With that in mind, welcome to Click To Play, a new weekly feature where we'll be hunting down the best browser-based games each week so you don't have to. Check in with us every Monday to spice up your coffee breaks for the week!
This week: Choice of Broadsides
It's time for some old-school style RPGing. I'm an enormous plot junkie so I like my RPGs to be meaty, have a good story to tell and offer you a fairly open path through said story. Broadsides, the second text-based adventure from the team that created the hilariously offbeat Choice of Dragons, is a lot like Master and Commander blended into a Choose Your Own Adventure book, with a dash of BioWare's preoccupation with decision and consequence.
Channelling the spirit of Horatio Hornblower and chums, you step into the boots of a midshipman on his or her way up the Naval ziggurat to the top of the pile. Broadsides plays out, in fact, much like a text version of Sid Meier's Pirates!, with statistics for your skills at gunnery, swashbuckling, sailing, leadership and honour amongst other things - statistics that rise and fall depending upon your actions throughout the game.
In any given situation, it's worth glancing at your stats to see what your character's strengths are in order to best deal with the situation, but you can sculpt whatever character you like out of the narrative. Fancy becoming an outspoken, bloodthirsty, highborn commander? Go for it. Or perhaps you'd prefer to be a quiet, people person who speaks through his skills. Well you can do that too.
The narrative style pays clear homage to the writers like Patrick O'Brien, C. S. Forester and, to a certain extent (read Persuasion), Jane Austen, and it is a game that rewards honest reaction to the events at hand. Don't try and overthink your way through the game, but have an occasional glance at your stats, react naturally, and you'll find yourself much more deeply immersed in this well crafted tale than you first thought.
There's bucketloads of conflict, plenty of little twists and curious characters along the way. I just wish it could have been a little longer. Still, an immensely satisfying way to spend half an hour or so.