Free Games I Like: Choice of Broadsides

Written by Joe Martin

May 28, 2010 | 11:02

Tags: #adventure #android #free #free-games-i-like #im-on-a-boat #interactive-fiction #iphone #pirates

You can do a lot with the written word and I find it endlessly interesting that even the most beautiful and graphically demanding games are often judged on the quality of the script. GTA IV was praised for its serious story before anyone remarked on how big the world was, while Crysis is often slammed for the way the experience is wounded by awful dialogue.

With that in mind, please don’t be put off that my latest favourite freebie is a text-only adventure, because if you dismiss it out of hand then you’d be missing out on a great little title. A word can make a thousand pictures and all that.

Essentially a multiple choice adventure, Choice of Broadsides casts you as a young officer in the navy of Albion, a fictional country which is basically a stand-in for England. At the start of the game you’re but a junior shipmate, but through your actions you get the chance to woo eligible ladies, orchestrate naval battles, deal with mutinies and do all the other stuff that an 18th Century naval officer would do.
The game proceeds pretty much as you might expect of a multiple choice adventure; you click links to choose your actions and then read the consequences until you’re either killed or reach the end of the tale. It’s essentially linear, though the limitations on your interactions enable the authors to create specific paths through the game that can differ from one another quite drastically, and there’s a stats system which keeps track of your skills. It’s basically a Choose Your Own Adventure game.

What makes Choice of Broadsides a little bit special is the type of action you usually find yourself in, which tends toward more moral and tactical dilemmas more than simple ‘Do you go North?’ type questions. It’s been the stated aim of the development team to try and make players question why they are making their decisions, which is mostly done by attaching motives to your available options.

When a mutiny starts to rise on your ship, for example, you’re asked to choose both your responses and your attitudes – are you obeying allying with the officers because you’re dutiful or are you reluctant? Do you side with the crew out of sympathy, or because they outnumber the commanders? It adds a nice little twist to the usual, straightforward gameplay.

Underlying all that of course is the simple fact that Choice of Broadsides is a well-written and fairly long classic adventure. It makes an excellent lunchtime distraction or, if you’ve fancy downloading the iPhone or Android version for free, then a brilliant way to occupy yourself on your next boat trip. I’d suggest checking out Choice of the Dragon too, a similar game by the same developers.

Oh, and if you have a go then let us know how you finished the game below, naturally!
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