Yo-Ho Kablammo

Ever since the release of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie and a certain internet battle involving ninjas, the gaming world has been inundated with a variety of swashbuckling pirate themed games hoping to cash-in on the craze. Canalside Studios were quick to jump on the band wagon when they came second in Microsoft’s XNA Dream Build Play competition way back in 2007 with Yo-Ho Kablammo.

It’s your standard affair; you captain an anonymous red pirate ship with a rather feminine heart upon your sails, attempting to collect X number of mines in time or sinking your enemies until all X number of their lives are diminished, with a couple of spicy power-up crates to use along the way. It’s not going to reinvent the genre, but that’s not the aim here, and the concept is sound enough to be a casual yet addictive XBLA game… that is until I am forced to express an opinion on the controls.

To describe them as slightly clunky would be on par with describing Pringles as only mildly addictive. Your turning circle is worse than an American Supercar on an English country lane, you will be constantly firing starboard instead of port and then vice versa because of the confusing trigger firing system, and the game itself is very unforgiving. Especially when you are scalded with several seconds of motionless floating for having the bald-faced cheek to accidentally touch anything on the map that isn’t a mine.

Even if you are able to ignore the horrible controls, the challenges do little to save the day, by simply making you collect more mines in a longer set time or having to face two or three enemies at once instead of one. I struggled to such a point, that I believed multiplayer could be the saving grace, if only for the amusement factor… I’ll have to get back to you over how good it is, as after nearly a week I have been unable to find a lobby with any player other than just me, myself, and I.

These gripes really drag down both the fun and addictiveness of the game, because if you’re not bored by the same challenge premise over and over with more enemies, you’ll begin to become frustrated with the interface instead of the game’s challenges. We have finally reached a time in the genre that we at least expect a free-flowing control system which doesn’t leave us gnawing at the joysticks mid-gameplay. Taking into consideration that this release has a striking resemblance to a certain PlayStation 1 game from back in 1997, issues which were absent from that game should most definitely not be rearing their ugly head over a decade later.







5 responses to “Yo-Ho Kablammo”

  1. pungent sponge avatar
    pungent sponge

    excelleny review mate

  2. Jonny Harris avatar
    Jonny Harris

    I think that the best games are ones that look fun to play when you see your friends playing them. When I saw Alex playing this game, it was more than painful and when offered the controller, I passed, big style. I thought you were going to give this game what for, as an rehashed piece of rubbish it was, but ah well.

    This game might have been more fun on an iPod touch, I don’t know why I say that.

  3. Duncan avatar

    I thought as far as reviews go, I laid into it pretty good. ;P

    I really don’t see this making a successful iPhone port anytime soon…

  4. Steve avatar

    Woo! Well done on a great first review Dunk.

    I saw this in Inside Xbox earlier today and was tempted by it, thankyou for saving me the points (and the hassle of having to buy them in the first place).


  5. Peter Pipe avatar
    Peter Pipe

    Good reivew! I had the same problems with controls but noticed that you can change them and the second control set is much better and improves the game greatly!

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