Today (1/24/18) marks the start of Microsoft’s closed beta for the upcoming pirate simulator, Sea of Thieves. Eligible players for the trial can download the game now so the minute it’s available, they can start playing.
Much like the technical alpha held back in December, the closed beta is restricted to those that entered the Sea of Thieves Insider Program before December 1st or have pre-ordered the title. Xbox One players that already bought the game digitally can find the beta waiting in the ‘My Games and Apps’ section while those who pre-ordered on PC will find it waiting in their library. If you reserved a physical copy at your local retailer, you will need the redeem the code for the Black Dog cosmetic pack on the Microsoft or Xbox store before installing the beta. Xbox One owners should expect a file size of 7.45 GB. If you’d like to read more about the installation process, check out their official website.
When You Can Play
The Sea of Thieves closed beta will begin at 4 AM PT / 7 AM ET / 12 PM GMT on January 24 and runs until 12 AM PT / 3 AM ET / 8 AM GMT on January 29. While the developer, Rare, hasn’t specified what exactly players can expect from the beta, they did say it would not be a portion of the full game. Rare did assure that it would offer a taste of the pirate life.
Sea of Thieves is set to release for both Xbox One and PC on March 20th and will be one of the few games to offer cross-play between the two platforms. It will also be the first game on the Xbox One’s Games Pass program that is available on the service the same day it comes out.
Gigamax Games will be taking part in the closed beta so please don’t forget to check on Youtube or below for an inside look into what Sea of Thieves has to offer!
Have you ever had dreams of sailing the open oceans with a couple of friends and going on an old school pirate adventure? Sea of Thieves is a new indie game that to lets you do just that. While this game can be played solo the developers are encouraging friends to play co-op. One of the biggest issues surrounding multiplayer experiences is friends who’ve spent a different amount of time with the game oftentimes have trouble playing together. Rare wants to rectify this issue with a progression system that works differently for Sea of Thieves.
Friends That Game Together, Stay Together
The ultimate goal of the game is to become a pirate legend, which can be accomplished by increasing reputation with each of the game’s factions. These trading companies offer quests, better known as voyages, for players to complete and earn a variety of awards. Some of these awards are gold, reputation gains, cosmetics, titles, and ranks.
You won’t earn items that put you on an uneven playing field though. This is to avoid a situation that would make it challenging to play with a friend that hasn’t put in the same amount of hours. Every voyage can be shared with any player so that they can be accomplished with a group. A team of players can also implement a democratic voting system so that everyone has a say in what they do next, this definitely comes in handy when playing with random matchmaking partners. Rare also pointed out that you can complete tasks on your own, but you still appear in a shared world with other players.
Sea of Thieves release date was finally revealed for both Xbox One and the PC. After a considerable amount of delays, the game will finally hit the virtual stores on March 20th, 2018. The game also offers cross-play so friends can share their experiences between the two platforms. Gigamax was recently invited to the game’s technical alpha so be sure to check back for some gameplay in the near future!
It is hard to express how much I love Yooka-Laylee but stand by while I give it a go. This platformer is an affordable foray into a beautiful universe with plenty of challenge and collectibles. The $40 price tag offers even more incentive to try it out. Each world provides players with a new experience, all while keeping players entertained with clever dialogue and interesting characters. To top off this nostalgic gut punch, Playtonic Games included a delightful soundtrack that will make Banjo-Kazooie veterans flashback to their N64 days.
To address the elephant in the room, yes Yooka-Laylee does feel nearly identical to Banjo-Kazooie. This is mainly because the developers working at Playtonic Games are industry veterans that were the brains behind the bear and the bird most gamers remember. These similarities are not a bad thing though, in fact they add to the allure of the game. The controls are fluid, Yooka runs and jumps with grace just like Banjo. Jumping from platform to platform feels great and the only thing that ever got in the way was an occasional camera glitch.
Powers and Abilities
Fluidity is essential due to the pallet of skills at your heroes disposal. Throughout the adventure both Yooka and Laylee will learn tons of moves used for moving, flying and fighting their way to victory. From the start players are limited in terms of skills, only having access to run and jump. After a minor introduction, attack is unlocked and the game opens up. Players are then introduced to the move acquisition system. Instead of just being handed moves, a smooth talking snake will trade abilities for quills. Although the price seems steep, quills are in no short supply as they are one of the more prevalent collectables.
Yooka-Laylee is a collect-a-thon that just keeps giving. Players have a constant stream of various quills, pagies, ghost writers, tonics and various other objects necessary for reaching the end of the game. Not all of these items are easy to obtain as many are hidden behind various puzzles and fights which Yooka must take care of first. These puzzles aren’t always easy, some require quick reflexes and clever problem solving. One of the more challenging problems require players to answer a series of 10 questions that are necessary for progression. These questions seem easy at first, but as the list goes on very specific questions are asked, such as “how many hours have you been playing the game.” By the way, these were all asked by a talking duck in a rolling fish tank.
Environments and Characters
The delightful cast of characters is one of the many driving forces Yooka-Laylee uses to keep players attentions. A constant feeling of anticipation is felt when traveling into the many worlds, brought on by new faces and self aware dialogue. The antagonist of the game comes in the form of an arrogant bee known as Capital B. Puns, plays on words and destroying the 4th wall are what the game does best. The snarky dialogue between the two heroes is endearing and while Capital B’s dialogue will never match the wit of Gruntilda (the antagonist from Banjo-Kazooie) he still has some funny lines that take a jab at corporate culture. Characters also make the iconic goofy mumbling noises made famous by Playtonic Games previous franchise.
These characters are spread throughout a variety of gorgeous environments accessed by jumping into magical story books that have been stolen by Capital B. Players start on a busted up pirate ship that Yooka and Laylee call a home and move onto the main hub world known as the Hivory Towers. This is where you’ll find the world bending books, starting with the jungle level, Tribalstack Tropics. Players will move onto various other whimsical areas such as a frozen tundra and a flashy casino. Although there are only 5 zones, they each have two versions that require players to expand the world in order to grab all the collectables. When expanded, the books contain new challenges to take on and introduce more characters to meet.
An arcade like multiplayer is included as well. It lets friends compete against each other in various mini game activities. These are fun diversions from the story but ultimately they feel a little forced but ultimately don’t detract from the excellence that is the campaign.
Yooka-Laylee is a truly wonderful experience that is a must buy for anyone who enjoyed Banjo-Kazooie or any retro platformer. This indie game is a Kickstarter success story that shows the true power of the platform and independent developers. Hopefully it inspires more small time game developers to go against the grain and develop outside industry norms.
Gigamax Games is dedicated to giving our fans a look at all the latest games and industry updates. Make sure to stay tuned for more early previews and reviews and if you’d like to see some gameplay of Yooka-Laylee make sure to check out our sneak peek let’s play below.