Will Ports of Call Be Your Calling?

Posted: April 26, 2009 in Sim, Strategy

I had a chance to play with Ports of Call and since I don’t have any previous experience with Amiga version, this is all new to me. First off, I thoroughly enjoy this game. The simulation and the depth are there, and kept me thinking the entire time I was playing.  If you’re into sim-type games, Ports of Call, contentwise is pretty good.

The premise of the game is that you’re running your own shipping company and your decisions determine the fate of your company.  You can choose your home port, manage finances back at the home office, buy/sell vessels, and decide on charter assignments among other things.  There’s even a section where you steer your vessel which for me takes some practice.  Of course, you can always a tug for a price.  In terms of your vessel, you also have a hand in repairs and refueling so you really do get some experience with every aspect of the shipping industry.

Ports of Call is a port from more than two decades ago, and to honest, while the graphics aren’t comparable to those found in today’s games, it really doesn’t matter nor impact gameplay.  I really don’t need heavy graphics since I think most games today rely too much on awe-inspiring graphics and too little on content. The ones used from the original port are more than adequate, but they can always be made more vibrant to appeal to the broader audience.

What could use some changes are the buttons. When I first started playing, I was confused by the buttons in the main window and then the same buttons with the same functionality on the right-hand side. Hopefully, that can addressed in an update. If there was better way to steer ships either by tilt or even through a d-pad, that would help.  But then again, it does provide you with a minimal taste (as good as you can get for a game) of the difficulties with steering a vessel.

Ports of Call has the depth, and with a few adjustments, it could be even better.  Overall, this is a classic strategic sim game, and I’m glad this has been brought to the iPhone/iPod Touch.  The dev plans to update/upgrade the game and I’m looking forward to seeing more from him.

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