3.25 out of 5


  • Release the Kraken!
  • Vast ocean scenery and dynamic world
  • Characters and cutscenes


  • Camera perspective
  • Ruthless grinding
  • Navigation and battle controls
  • Steep learning curve
  • Difficult even on easy

Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
3D Clouds
Adventure, Strategy/Tactics
File Size (Minimum)
1.3 GB
Release Date (NA)
May 25, 2021

King of Seas is a single-player, adventure/strategy game developed by 3D Clouds and published by Team17. The objective is to become the king of all pirates in a cutthroat world. The game features treasure, naval battles, and even fishing, in addition to a series of quests and storylines across a vast ocean. Patient players will find much to enjoy in this procedurally generated world with its plethora of challenges and ship customizations, but it will be a sink-or-swim experience for everyone else.

Betrayed and Marooned

King of Seas - Screenshot

The story begins with a choice between Prince Luky and Princess Marylou, two siblings who are heirs to the King’s Fortress kingdom. Upon reaching your chosen character’s coming-of-age, you are given a ship to captain on your own, as well as your first mission. Unfortunately, during that first voyage, your father is killed and you are blamed for his murder. Upon returning, you are sentenced to death by the kingdom’s royal navy and your ship is blasted apart. Left for dead, you are saved by pirates and must become one yourself. As you get used to your new life, you must also discover the truth behind your father’s murder and retake your place on the throne.

Navigating the Seven Seas

King of Seas - Screenshot

Although the game has a quick introduction, there is a steep learning curve to some of its controls and strategies. Navigation seems rather straightforward with a directional analog stick to move left and right and trigger buttons to open and close sails (up to three) to adjust your speed. Unfortunately, the game tries to match real-world naval navigation, so there is a slight delay to speed changes. It can be difficult to time correctly given the camera view. Oftentimes, your ship smashes into the shore or other boats due to how hard it is to gauge the speed. Since it is a procedurally generated world, there are ships spawning and departing from ports quite often, which commonly leads to collisions when leaving port.

In the upper-right corner of the screen, there is a compass that shows directions and wind speed, which is helpful if you need to go faster to escape foes. The game also has a map which is able to track focused quests, appropriately marking your destination with a huge, red X. However, it requires toggling to bring it up while navigating. It would be helpful to have a minimap available to navigate and look at the map concurrently to avoid interrupting gameplay.

Cannons Away

King of Seas - Screenshot

As a pirate, you’ll inevitably engage in combat. It’s ship-to-ship only, but a fair number of weapons are at your disposal, which grow in number as the game progresses. Cannons are the staple of naval battles and can be fired toward the sides of enemy ships using the trigger buttons, e.g., ZL for the left cannons. These side cannons tend to be difficult to aim when at a distance, as they tend to hit slightly behind the perpendicular target when at moderate-to-full speed. Cannons can be replaced with better ones with varying projectile damage, reload time, and range. These enhancements can either be purchased at a port for gold or looted after a naval battle. Upgrading to a bigger ship grants access to a larger number of cannons. A flute with six cannons costs 20,000 gold, whereas a galleon with thirty cannons is available at the premium price of 50,000 gold.

Outside of cannons, the game features various special attacks and abilities that provide a different dimension to battles. For example, the first special attack is a flame tide. It torches anything in short range in front of the ship and provides damage over time to the other ship’s sails and hull. One of the early boss battles highlights these specials, showcasing an ability to summon a kraken to attack a boat with a tentacle. Other abilities are helpful from a navigation or defensive standpoint. For example, ethereal navigation makes the entire ship glow green, providing temporary immunity to projectiles and boosting sail speed.

Battlin’ for the Bounty

King of Seas - Screenshot

Combat emphasizes strategy more than brute force, requiring a delicate balance of navigation, cannons, and abilities. Battles can involve single ships or multiple ships, depending on nearby proximity and on royal navy or pirate alliances. Movement is critical in battles to avoid as much of the cannon fire and special attacks as possible while also putting your ship in the best position to inflict damage. Many times, this style of battle involves multiple passes at one another or circling one another at varying speeds. It tends to require adjusting the sails often to change the turn radius and gain the upper hand.

Maneuvering is quite sluggish at times, though, and it is difficult to inflict damage without being too vulnerable. When the enemy ship’s health drops low, their ship will flee. This usually leads to an endless chase which becomes quite frustrating due to the impossibility of getting back into firing range. Once an enemy ship is actually sunk, you can collect items floating on the surface of the water. These include XP, gold, and potentially items such as repair kits, wood, or ship equipment such as cannon or sail parts. Repair kits can be useful for fixing ship damage on the go versus paying gold to do so in a port. That said, repair kits require ships to be stopped and out of battle, so be careful.

Outside of battles, gold can be obtained by selling items such as rum or wood to a market store within a port. Prices vary depending upon each port’s demand, though. Old ship equipment such as cannons or sails can be sold for gold as well. Unfortunately, this leads to a repetitive, grind experience of looking for loot to sell or use and battling boats (and repeatedly dying in many of the fights) to get enough to upgrade your boat and gear.

Swashbucklin’ to the Next Level

King of Seas - Screenshot

Getting stronger is the key to your success. The game has a leveling XP system, where the XP requirements grow with each level. Upon leveling, the character’s rank increases, and you gain a talent point. The talent point system features perks that improve an aspect in the following areas: navigation (e.g., increase gold obtained after battle, increase ship speed), battle (e.g., increase cannon damage, improve hull recovery), or voodoo (e.g., increase ability damage, reduce ability cooldowns). Some of the perks are available early, while others become available later in the game and take more points to unlock. Each perk can be upgraded up to five times with varying percentage modifiers. For example, the long-range cannon damage perk starts at 2% and ends at 10% once upgraded five times.

With each level increase, the world generates higher-level ships which are more difficult but also yield greater rewards. Unfortunately, it creates the feeling of constantly being the underdog in a world full of better-equipped ships. The game itself has five difficulty levels, ranging from Ship’s Boy (e.g., higher bonus for HP and damage, a bounty bonus, and retaining inventory upon sinking) to Captain (e.g., higher bounty reward but no perks to HP and damage, as well as losing your ship and inventory upon sinking) to King of Seas (e.g., permanent death if your ship sinks). Hardcore players will not find any shortage of challenges. Casual gamers, however, will have a pretty tough time, even on the lowest difficulty. Plenty of hard battles await in every part of the sea, so those players are unlikely to find themselves sailing through the game with ease. For example, the first boss ship will likely outgun your ship in all aspects at that point in the game (e.g., speed, cannon power, flaming barrel launch, and kraken ability), leading to countless attempts and ultimately needing a bit of luck from fellow pirate ships (2-3 ships, to be exact) passing through to help win. Good luck!

Sea-Weary Sights

King of Seas - Screenshot

At least the repeated sinking of your ship happens against a good-looking backdrop. The scenes of the sea are vibrant as it shifts from daytime to sunset to night. Ethereal ships glow green in the night with purple highlights from voodoo special abilities providing a contrast to the dark sea. The story cutscenes showcase close-ups of the towns and ports along the seas, from the huge castle-like stone city of King’s Fortress to the pirate’s home of Eagle’s Den with its sandy shores and wood buildings. When talking to their inhabitants, portraits of the colorful and odd assortment of characters are displayed next to the dialogue boxes. The lively bunch you meet includes an overly muscular carpenter with a massive hammer and nipple piercings, a prim and proper governor resplendent in purple, and a less-refined, tattooed, and bearded tavern owner with missing teeth. These overly exaggerated characters aren’t voiced, but they help the story dialogue from getting too stale.

Although the characters themselves are silent, there are plenty of sounds in the game, such as waves, seagulls, and the thunder of cannon fire. Music is instrumental in nature, and it varies throughout, enhancing the pirate setting, from an enigmatic and playful accordion tune of mystery to a lively fanfare of brass and strings during battles which may remind players of a certain popular pirate movie franchise.

The game’s camera isn’t as good as in those films, though. It’s fixed directionally and distance-wise, but there are two zoom levels that can be toggled by the player. During navigation, it tends to be better to have the camera zoomed out, but this view makes aiming during battles or trying to pick up loot floating in the water challenging. Being zoomed in makes those tasks easier, but it’s too close for effective navigation. The closer view just makes it hard to see nearby ships and rocks that the player could be sailing into. The game would benefit from a balanced middleground between these views that acts dynamically based upon current activities.

Sails With Little Breeze

Overall, King of Seas possesses great potential, but its flaws take the wind out of its sails. The core gameplay around a procedurally generated pirate world is exciting, especially given the special abilities and ship customization. However, the game becomes too much of a grind early on even on the easiest difficulty mode and has several frustrations related to the camera perspective, difficult controls, and steep learning curve. For veteran and patient players, the game possesses near-unlimited challenges which pose a significant test of one’s abilities. Casual players, on the other hand, might want to set sail for calmer waters. Then again, no one said that becoming king was easy.

A Nintendo Switch code provided for this review.

King of Seas - Launch Trailer

About Patrick Schmees - Contributor

Always up for new challenges and adventures in life. During my past time, I enjoy hiking, hanging out with friends, and fishing. I have been enjoying playing video games with my brothers since I was little playing Atari at my grandpas house. I enjoy playing all types of games across various platforms (Switch, PC, PS)

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