Indie developer GY Games and publisher Bilibili aim to take players to the high seas Sailing era, a simulation/strategy RPG that is for PC. It combines realistic sailing mechanics with resource management and crew building to recreate the feeling of life aboard a merchant ship in the 15th and 17th centuries. In addition to already being available at a discount on Steam and the Epic Games Store, Sailing era will be released on PlayStation consoles and Nintendo Switch in summer 2023.
Sailing era tells the story of four aspiring sailors: the young and idealistic Andrew, from Portugal, the rogue Abdullah, from Arabia, the scholar Yun Mu, from the Ming Empire, and the family-run Yoshitaka Shuizuma, from Japan. Each character has their own plot and motivation to explore the great seas, but they all share the common goal of venturing across the world’s great nautical routes and making a legend for themselves. Sailing era‘s dialogue is text-only and supported by a hand-painted art style and anime-like character designs.
At the start of a new game, players choose one of Sailing era‘s main characters. Each character has special traits that give them certain bonuses while sailing or fighting. Most of the time they will be anchored in a port which is represented by an overworld map. There are many facilities where repairing their ship, buying or trading goods, reporting discoveries or seeking out additional jobs are available.
When the player is ready to set sail, they choose the pier – where they can stock up on supplies on the ship or store anything they find while at sea by clicking and dragging items from the cargo to the pier storage. Sailing is shown from a top-down perspective, where ships sail forward automatically, while the controls are about their direction. The ship will gradually age and suffer damage during sailing, and sailors will gradually lose Health. This makes navigating the waters more about strategically planning a route and taking breaks along the way to their destination.
There are other crews out at sea and not all of them are friendly. Fight in Sailing era is quite rare, but battles can break out between ships by surprise. During these engagements, the ship’s bow and stern guns will fire automatically – but the ship must be aimed by rotating it so that the cone-like targeting indicator on the side points towards the enemy vessel. In addition, an enemy ship can be boarded for a round of hand-to-hand combat.
These battles play out like a 2D RPG where the named crew members automatically fight against the opposing crew. If the player’s crew wins this battle, the captain can challenge the enemy leader to a duel. The duel plays out the same way, with the captain who depletes the opponent’s green health bar winning.
In certain parts of the world, the crew may leave their ship and embark on an expedition on foot. These play out like a video game/board game hybrid, picking out marked areas to move to trigger special cutscenes and reveal treasures. Stamina and resources must be monitored during these segments, as both can only be replenished in a camp.
Sailing era can be a slow experience as there is often no clear path to a given goal. However, this adds to the game’s overall sense of discovery, and sailing across the clear blue sea is surprisingly soothing. Players hoping for a more action-packed RPG experience may want to stay in port, but anyone looking to get lost in the feeling of touring the world aboard an old-fashioned naval vessel can find Sailing era up their alley.
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Sailing era is available for Microsoft Windows. A digital Steam code was provided to Screen Rant for the purpose of this preview.