Tradewinds 2 won’t blow your mind but still delivers entertaining play

Posted: June 23, 2009 in Time Management

While the concept behind tycoon games is nothing new in the iTunes store, the themes keep us coming back for more. The adventures on the high seas have probably intrigued many of us young or old. Combine the two and you have the opportunity to test your sea faring tycoon skills with Tradewinds 2, an entertaining game that delivers a dose of trading strategy and humor for the casual player.

First off, if you’re looking for a heavy graphics game, Tradewinds 2 is not that game.
This is a game of light strategy based in the Caribbean where you will make buy and sell goods, take on missions and of course battle pirates who are keen on taking everything you’ve earned. The game is not overly complex nor complicated which isn’t necessarily a bad thing by any means.

Graphically speaking, the graphics and animation are basic featuring structures and maps with 2D movement. The soundtrack has a high seas, Caribbean tone to it that honestly should be turned off after while if you want to keep your sanity.

To start, you choose a character to play as:
* Captain Russell Van Gregor
* Christine McGowan
* Ignacio Verdugo
* Adia Azul
* Sebastian LaRoche (once you beat TradeWinds 2, you can play as this pirate)
* Create your own character (once you beat TradeWinds 2, you can create your own character)

Each character has his or her individual background story following a different path in the game so there is replay value as you go back and play as different characters. But the three sources for income remain the same:
* Buy goods in one port and sell high at another
* Successfully complete tasks issued by governors
* Defeat pirates and take their gold

Tradewinds has two game modes: Story Mode and Free Trade Mode. Story Mode follows a series of journeys through up to 10 ports—5 are accessible to start. This mode involves meeting with the port governors to request assignments or missions. During these missions, you’ll have the opportunity to buy and sell goods at a profit, incur and settle debts, deposit/withdraw money, buy warehouses for storage, and upgrade your ship among others. Along the way, special items (e.g. jewelry, tools, gems) can be acquired that boost your characters strength and attributes. As you complete missions, your character will earn additional gems, money, and access to other governors.

Free Trade Mode offers a slightly different take of the high seas where you will have access to all ports and goods to start. The name of the game here is to make as much money as you can while avoiding the authorities. For what it’s worth, both modes are different enough that you will have plenty of replay value.

In terms of gameplay, Tradewinds is very straightforward. On the left side of the screen is an overview of your character’s financial well being in terms of cash, bank (assets), and debt. Below this are a series of buttons that when accessed provide an up-to-date status of activities.

Tasks—shows what missions are pending
Items—acquired special items
Log—tracks all activities
Cargo—a manifest of items owned and current market price
Ship—overview of ship strength and weaponry
Menu—load game, start new game, options

In each port scene, the buildings that appear can be accessed by tapping. Once accessed, a potential list of activities is possible depending on the building. For example, if you tap on the store, you have can purchase and sell items with a helpful calculator to figure out your budget. The whole set up is rather intuitive so if you decide to borrow money, a series of prompts walk you through the process. At the bottom of the screen is a text box showing the current activities. In the bottom right corner, a button appears that either directs the ship to set sail or return to port depending on the situation. One of the strengths of Tradewinds 2 is how simple and straightforward accessing and directing activities are. Too often, games can turn off people because they are overly complicated and people lose interest.

As with the intros, conversations appear as text which can be heavy and presented in a difficult font which is unfortunate because there is useful information in those words. It’s not ideal but passable. One nice touch of the game is the use of humor. In every port, you can enter the local bar and buy a round of drinks to get people drunk and more willing to talk, or speak with the bartender. Another fun aspect is the ability to upgrade your ship, and you’ll find in later journeys that running is better than staying and fighting. The battle scenes aren’t elaborate, and in fact they are pretty simple. But, I think it fits in with the rest of the game. One note of frustration with the battles is that soon you figure out that certain weaponry will help you win battles each time so it isn’t quite as challenging after a while. Another obstacle to be aware of are storms which will blow your ship off course, and could hinder resources and timely completion of missions.

I wouldn’t say that Tradewinds 2 is the most challenging game to play, but it offers a certain level of entertainment value when you’re simply looking for some fun. The game offers a good storyline, decent graphics and fair amount of replayability.

Albie Meter: 4 Stars (recommended for those who want a casual and lighthearted strategy game)


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