Paradox Entertainment’s Spring Lineup

Paradox Entertainment has been a very successful small publishing house. The Swedish publishers had a major hit with Magicka, and in addition to announcing Magicka Vietnam, they also had a slew of new titles to show off. With budget prices, it would be easy to pass these games off as side notes, but underneath the surface they have some real potential.

Pirates of the Black Cove – A lighter take on pirate adventuring, developer Nitro Games is mostly known for making darker titles like East India Company, Raven’s Cry and Commander: Conquest of the Americas. They seem to love pirate titles, and Pirates of the Black Cove is no different, fusing RTS elements with character personalization and reputation development.

Pirates of the Black Cove has a couple different areas to focus on. First, players control their pirate leader in a pirate town with a pirate mansion. There they can select new missions, talk to people for advice, and upgrade the town with new buildings. This is important if you want to get the right places constructed, as you’ll need them to help the right troops to pillage and loot nearby towns.

With certain buildings, players can recruit pirates with different skills. I was shown a mission to rescue a pirate’s daughter, in which I journeyed to a nearby island. From there the game uses typical RTS controls, breaking up the squad of six to deal with different enemies and problems. Saving the princess was simple enough, and afterward the game moves on to ship battles.

On the sea, players will take on various ships. Positioning yourself to fire cannons involves charging alongside them, but special attacks like homing cannonballs make things easier. It looks like Pirates of the Black Cove will be a light pirate RTS for PC gamers. It’s a little on the ugly side, unfortunately, and there are some noticeable bugs, but hopefully Nitro can iron some of these problems out by launch time this summer.

Defenders of Ardania – Tower defense games are a dime a dozen, and oftentimes they only cost a dime to boot. Anyone willing to send out a tower defense title had better have a good game plan. Most Wanted Entertainment is not only making Defenders of Ardania offer tower defense, but tower offense, as well. Instead of just dropping some gun and laser towers in front of a defensible unit, players will be deploying troops to take on the opposing side. It’s a mechanic that is surprisingly fresh, making Towers of Ardania feel like a modification of an RTS.

Players can send out anything from thin and fast units to flying ones or heavy brutes. Each of the towers will be better at eliminating specific types, and should players struggle, they can buy magic spells and modifiers to better assist them. The single-player game should offer good training for this offensive-oriented fantasy tower defense, and the multiplayer should make these battles much more dynamic. Keep an eye out for this one on PC, PSN and XBLA.

Mount&Blade: With Fire & Sword – Mount&Blade: With Fire & Sword is a special little game. Developed by TaleWords, a Turkish game studio known for tactical action games, With Fire & Sword is a spin-off of the main Mount&Blade franchise, and if you don’t know anything about the series, just take a look at the top Steam games. This franchise is typically one of the most played around thanks to the invested communities in Eastern Europe. With Fire & Sword is coming to the States, so gamers here can now get involved into the tactical squad-based battles of this franchise.

Players can invest heavily into their character for this action role-playing game. They will strengthen their troops as they progress, define their roles, and take on enemy troops on the battlefield. It’s not the best-looking game ever, but it is deep and flexible, allowing players to create an accurate and unique character from the 17th century. I doubt it’s going to click with everyone, but fans of deep action RPGs should be pleased as punch.