Uncharted Ocean is a decent pirate game, but being a mobile port, it lacks the engagement and immersion of other heftier titles.
Uncharted Ocean is an open-world sailing RPG developed by Hirabbit and published by Locojoy, that released on Steam on December 9, 2019. Not to be confused with Uncharted Waters Online, Uncharted Ocean was originally released as a mobile game in August 2018. You can see and feel this as you play the game on the Steam version, but this does not detract from the gameplay experience. The game’s trailer doesn’t do it justice either as while it does show ship combat and hand-to-hand combat, which is as clunky as it looks, the story has just enough depth that keep driving me to play more. There’s no voice acting so this is certainly one of those games for when you’re looking for a quiet chill game to play.
Uncharted Ocean is set between the 15th and 17th centuries when European explorers sailed the seas to open new alternative ways to Asia, when the Ottoman Empire blocked the land routes. This period was characterised by the rivalry between Spain and Portugal, the advent of colonisation and general exploration. You get this feeling of exploration straight away given the world is covered in a ‘fog-of-war’ and you need to explore in order to find new ports. There is a new player tutorial which is mostly helpful but there were still some things i had to figure out for myself. One of the early quests asked me to buy 99 sausages, however my ships hold could only fit 45. It took me ages to work out what was happening as I had sold everything i could to try make room and was tearing my hair out. I had to reduce the number of sailors I had on the ship which increased my storage capacity. This severely limited the distance I could sail on the ocean, so I had to buy the sausages, hand in the quest and then readjust the number of sailors before I could leave the port. A better explanation as part of the quest would have helped alot.
The initial chain of quests were quite simple and uninspiring initially, and whilst the game tries to explain each of the gameplay systems, I still had to dig through menus and click each location in a town to remember what I had to do. When sailing on the water, you can click the quest description in the log and it will tell you automatically start sailing you there, unless you don’t have enough crew/supplies, at which it gives an indicator as to how far you can travel. Your sailors require food and naturally the bigger your ship, the more sailors you require and the more food you’ll need to provide. Early on in your Uncharted Ocean playthrough, you can just make it to the next port, and later you’ll be able to judge how far you can go versus your objective. Often, I had to leap frog my way to the objective, discovering new ports and research in the process. Ship sailing speed is influenced by the wind speed and power. You can’t see too much through heavy clouds/fogs, while storms always bring damage to your ships in some form. There are also random events that popup that you need to deal with, such as seaweed on the rudder, shipmates getting sick and other hurdles. You can purchase items to deal with these at a cost, you just need to remember to restock them.
Once in a port you can visit the residence which is where the main quest npcs are located, but later can obtain side quests. There’s a tavern where you recruit shipmates with specific skills and can buy ale to replenish your treasure hunting fatigue, a shipyard to build and refit ships, and you can even invest in the port and become it’s mayor which opens up more opportunities within that port. Things such as research upgrades and discounts on purchasing items will be unlocked in that port. Some ports also have black markets where you can buy rare items and commodities. Recruiting crew members who have specific skills is the way to advance your ship and your fleet. Each tavern has specific crew members, so refer to the walkthrough if you’re looking for specific skills. For example, it’s wise to grab a crew member with high knowledge early as that will help you dig and discover better items and treasure early in the game. I didn’t discover this until later and was getting frustrated as to why I couldn’t dig up certain items. This is another system that wasn’t explained well by the game and had to learn the hard way.
There is a section in the game’s log titled walkthrough, but it’s more an information vault as you really need to know the specific thing you’re trying to find first. If you know this, then it is very helpful by informing you which port to find it in. This comes in handy once you get about 4-5 hours in when the quests ask you to find specific items or to level up your crew personnel skills to certain levels. Treasure hunting becomes a good part of the game here, searching ruins with pickaxes and explosives (if you can find the right black market sales). Outside of that I relied on the story progression and learned as I sailed and explored more of the world. Once you get the hang the general gameplay loop though, Uncharted Ocean’s story quests lead you on a decent treasure hunting trail. I started to get deeper into pirate territory and I was still using the base ships you get from quest rewards, so I was getting dominated a lot in ship combat.
Trading goods is also possible between ports and this is a good money maker for you. You earn a decent amount of coin following the main questline as you learn. By the time I felt in control of the game I was up around 500,000 credits and able to upgrade my ship nicely. In saying that, it is also very easy to run out of money quickly if you’re not paying attention. I thought I would invest a couple of hundred thousand credits in some of the ports so I could unlock research, but at this time I was entering heavy pirate territory. I would be sailing along and then up would pop a high-level pirate which would wipe me out in a couple of hits. Each time you’d be faced with a hefty repair bill as well as the usual food supplies for your sailors. I tried running between ports trading goods but couldn’t avoid the pirates and had to load a much earlier save game which set me back a couple of hours.
Later in the game you will face huge armada fleets as well as world bosses such as the Kraken, Leviathan, Poseidon and Siren, to name a few. I didn’t get to experience these given my game setback but watching gameplay videos, it was clear I would need to invest a lot more time into the game to be able to afford the necessary ships and crew for my fleet. If you’re willing to put some decent hours into this game, you’ll be rewarded with much better ships, crew and treasures to find.
Overall, Uncharted Ocean is a decent pirate game, but being a mobile port, it lacks the engagement and immersion of other heftier titles. There are times when I feel like playing a pirate-themed game, and with the simplistic gameplay of Uncharted Ocean, it’s one I can play without having to think too much. This is a mobile port, after all, and good for those quieter chill gaming sessions. If you’re looking for an in-depth pirate game, there are plenty more out there with much more engaging story and gameplay.
This review utilised a Steam key provided by the publisher for review purposes. Uncharted Ocean is available on iOS and Steam.
Written by: @ChrisJInglis