Okay, so what if there’s a battle royale game, except the land is water, the collapsing ring is an ocean infested with giant sea monsters, and the players are all boats? That’s the basic rundown of Maelstrom, a new form of battle royale game that has officially made its free-to-play/open beta debut after a period of paid early access.
Maelstrom touts a variety of features to make it stand out of the battle royale mire above and beyond just its setting, like ships with various characteristics and attack styles, cannon fire that has physics and arcs that must be considered, and positional damage and cannonshot types to add a layer of strategy to fights. Ships can even be sunk by being boarded. All-in-all, it sounds like a more involved piece of battle royale gaming on the tin, though current Steam user reviews sit at “Mixed,” for whatever that’s worth to you.
So what does the free-to-play launch mean for the game itself? Developer Gunpowder Games promises that there won’t be any competitive advantages for purchase, no lockboxes, and no account advancement for sale, though progression can be sped up with the purchase of boosts. Other offerings in the game store include cosmetics, a battle pass, and bundles. The free-to-play launch also means those who bought the game in early access will unlock every ship in the game along with a variety of other goodies. The launch also brings an update with balance adjustments, quests, medals, and more.