If you can think of something you’d want to do in a video game or fantasy life, then chances are there’s a VR app out there for you. Furious Seas, a new Early Access game from Future Immersive, was custom made for swashbuckling pirate fans: a pirate ship combat simulator that’s light on realism and heavy on fun.
I’ve never considered myself a “big fan” of pirate stuff by any means, but I’d call you crazy if you ever went to Disneyland and didn’t ride the Pirates ride at least once…or twice if it’s really hot outside. In this VR game you get to be the Jack Sparrow of your very own ship as you steer across the open seas and blast cannons at enemy pirates that besiege you from all directions.
Furious Seas is a thrilling game, no doubt. The water effects are absolutely gorgeous and I never once felt sea sick or motion sick while standing at the helm of my ship. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that this is the best looking water I’ve seen inside of a VR headset to date. Sorry, Skyrim VR.
As of now there are only three chapters. Each chapter consists of setting sail, fighting a few pirates, then taking on a boss ship at the end of the chapter. As the captain you can’t move around the ship at all, but instead are stuck at the helm behind the wheel.
To steer you have to actually physically spin the wheel around in whichever direction you want to go and two bells above your head tell the crew to either slow down or speed up. It’s a good system, but since you don’t need to worry about wind direction at all it feels a bit like you’re steering a slow-moving tank rather than an actual boat.
Combat actually had a bit of nuance to it that I didn’t pick up on until I was in the middle of the third chapter. When you grab a cannon to shoot, the crew on that side of the ship will also shoot their cannons. If they’re ready and able, your trajectory indicator will be wider — to show the full breadth of all four or five cannonballs. If they’re not ready yet, then it’s a single straight line to show just your personal cannon.
You can shoot your own cannon very quickly, but the crew has to reload between shots. Since this is just a single player game right now your crew interactions are quite limited, but there is a ton of potential to expand on the system. If you could have different crew members with different abilities/perks (such as faster reload speed, larger cannonballs, different types of cannonballs, etc) that’d help with the depth and customization a lot. I’d love to see actual ship customization features and various mission types (like treasure hunting, cargo delivery, etc) to mix things up.
The voice over quality, across the board, is pretty low. Both the quality of the recordings and the actual performances themselves stick out and don’t really gel with the rest of the game’s aesthetic, but that’s an easy fix for the developer if they choose to change it. I’d have loved multiplayer support — both competitive and cooperative — and a free roam mode that gives you a large area to sail around and explore. There are tons of ways that Future Immersive can expand on this concept and I’m excited to see how it evolves over time.
Furious Seas is currently live on Steam Early Access with official support for Rift, Vive, and Windows VR. During the Early Access period the developers at Future Immersive intend to add more chapters and gameplay elements, and hopefully (fingers crossed!) multiplayer support. There’s an interactive roadmap where you can vote on features you want to see next.