Way of Gold and Steel – An eerie, piratesque builder that misses the point

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Shipwrecks aren’t uncommon, even in today’s world. But in the countless video game realities, they are seemingly one of the most frequent fates an NPC or character can be afflicted with (along with being part of a questline). So Way of Gold and Steel exploits this natural disaster by throwing you, the captain of the crew, and your seamen onto a remote isle in the middle of who-knows-where.

Upon awakening on this isle, now your haven, you’ll have to quickly start establishing a foothold against the elements and any enemies that you may have stirred up during your accidental arrival. The story throws itself at you in the early moments of the campaign, with a crew member stating that some of the nearby tribes have a treasure called the “Two golden suns”. Now you’ve at least got a target. Only one, among many, problem with that whole survivalist attitude you’ll have no doubt drummed up: this game has no resources beyond materials to manage.

It’s the strangest thing, but aside from wood, gold, stone, gems and other precious resources to create shelter and industry, there’s nothing to manage. You cannot directly command any of your pirates, nor can you actually place any of the housing you’re fancying to build. Nearly everything is done automatically. To counteract this lack of gameplay, the developers introduced a highly intuitive combat system whereby the captain simply walks into enemies and attacks them without the player even lifting a finger.

To compliment this revolutionary, intense building simulator, is a soundtrack so perfect that it seems to defy human hearing. As in, you can’t hear it. Way of Gold and Steel, has no, and I mean none, musical score or sound effects. No ambient bites of the sea, or birds chirping in the background. Even as the captain tears through the tribes people of the island, the player cannot hear their screams, while the clash of steel rings as NPC’s battle to the death. It’s horrible really. I appreciate that music is time consuming to create, and very expensive for an independent project such as this, but something would be better here, in place of the nothing.

Therein lies the real issue with this title, there’s simply not enough to get your teeth into. It’s by no measure a terrible game, the art style is charming and the interface is a wonderful thing to interact with. But crucial elements that make games what they are, are simply missing from the product. Even for the price tag, you’d expect a more rounded experience.

Way of Gold and Steel – 5/10

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