Tradewinds Odyssey is part of the Tradewinds series, now set in Ancient Greece. As with earlier entries, you choose a character and go between the various ports to trade goods and fight pirates. As with any ship-based sim, you work your way up to more impressive vessels and armaments as you pursue quests, some related to your character’s overarching story, some not. That said, the writing for the quests is always amusing enough that I was often more interested in that than the reward at the end.
Tradewinds isn’t a series that takes itself seriously, but at the same time they reveal a great deal of effort put into their works. I still remember sub-quests from an earlier game that were whole plot references to Jurassic Park, the beginning of the computer age, and other anachronistic but amusing events. They also often have their own spin on tales from the time period their games are set in. For example, you have a mission trying to bring Odysseus home, only to see that the Gods of Ancient Greece literally will not allow you to because they’re so upset with him. It’s little moments like that which make this series so much fun. Well, that, and watching your carefully constructed fleet tear its enemies apart.
The combat is pretty simple. You tell your ships which enemy to focus fire on, and mostly leave them to it, throwing out the occasional purchased spell to disrupt the enemy fleet, or ordering your more damaged vessels to bail out. You start the game with a healthy supply of said spells, which helps new players ease into the game and take their time creating the merchant fleet of their choice. You’ll also end up getting items that boost your ships abilities to avoid storms, reach ports more quickly, or stomp pirates more decisively. The flavor text for these items made me chuckle more than once, much like the quests.
One thing I must stress is that this is primarily a trading game, not a pirate fighting game. If you sit around hoping for fights, the enemies will steadily get stronger until you can’t win the battles you’ve been waiting for, especially in the sandbox mode. As long as you actually trade (Imagine that, being a trader in a game called
Tradewinds), you’ll have plenty of money to create a properly defended fleet.
Graphics-wise, I don’t have much to say. “It looks nice”, as inane as that comment is, sums it up. It definitely helps that they didn’t go for a realistic style, as it wouldn’t suit the amusing universe that TWO is set in. That and enemies like crossbow sharks would come across as unintentionally amusing if they’d gone that way.
Overall, fun game. If you’re into to trading sims, I think you will enjoy it.
P.S. – There’s an odd steam glitch where HUD elements don’t show up on screenshots. Not a big deal, but it made this review a little trickier.