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Tradewinds Review

Developer: Sandlot Games Publisher: Astraware
Release Date: August 2, 2004 Also On: Palm and PC

One of the great classics on the Palm platform is Space Trader. I used to spend hours with that game, whether it was in class, during breaks, eating lunch; it was just a great time waster. In a good way, of course. Tradewinds takes all the great things from Space Trader and polishes them up a little bit.

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The object of the game is to make a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time a la Dope Wars. The difference between Dope Wars and Tradewinds is that TW does everything with so much more substance. There is a choice of 4 characters (kind of used as a difficulty setting), there are animated towns and seas, there are epic sea battles and even run ins with authorities.

The game is very easy to get used to and is simple enough for anyone to pick up and play but deep enough to keep even experienced game players interested for more than enough time. At different ports you will find a market to trade at, a shipyard to buy new and upgrade existing ships, the port authority to collect bounties and the local pub to exchange stories. All of these places play an important part of the game as they all help you out in one way or another.

You can get all this stuff from any other trading game, so why bother with Tradewinds? Because of the style. I am completely blown away and the energy this game exudes from the tiny screen of my Clie. It actually feels like you are traveling from port to port and leading a merchants (or pirates, for that matter) life. In every port there is a very detailed screen that shows all the available locations that you are able to go to. Every city is different than the one before it and they never get old to look at.

The sound is even amazing in the game. This is one of the only games that I have played with a real song playing in the background and it really helps to put you in the mood of the game. The battles, ports and other locations all have other sounds that is unique to that site but the soundtrack is the big winner here. Astraware is also proud to point out that the game features full stereo sound. I can’t think of any other non-Zodiac enhanced game that supports that. Great sound from this one.

I do believe twenty dollars is a lot to spend on basically an updated version of Space Trader, but it all seems worth it. If you’re into the trading aspects of games and are looking for something to whet your appetite then this is the game for you. If you’re content with Space Trader I still recommend trying the game and seeing if it’s for you, I’m sure it’ll convince you. For everyone else, download the trial, you’ll like it.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 6
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 7.8
Written by Chris Review Guide