Sometimes, games really aren’t what you expect them to be. Tribetoy’s Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing is one of those games.
Going into it, I honestly thought it was going to be a game full of busywork looking at screenshots. I thought I’d spend nearly all my time managing my crew rather than actually engaging in any action myself. I’m glad I gave it a go though, to see what it’s really like. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have discovered just how engrossing it is.
By playing Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing, you’re entering a deadly competition. You’re taking control of an airship with a small crew, and competing against others to indeed be the last captain standing. But doing so won’t be easy. Competing in events is pivotal to the whole experience, earning points that will determine your position on the leaderboards.
Sometimes you’ll be left to explore environments at your leisure, allowing you to to take down enemies and collect loot until you’re happy with your points haul. Other times, you might be up against the clock, forced to search for and collect items under pressure. Events get more interesting, however, when you’re actively competing against another captain. Do you engage in competition in a fair manner, or do you try to take them down? The choice is yours, but you never know, you could end up regretting your actions further down the line.
You see, Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing almost feels like a Telltale game in ways. As you make your way through events, you’re often engaged in dialogue by your competitors, and your choices affect how the game plays out. I thought I’d made a friend at the beginning of the game after helping a fellow captain who was struggling to take down a group of enemies. Only a few events later, however, he told me that he’d put a bomb on my ship and would only remove it if I gave him 1,000 points. I told him he was bluffing and he took offence. And yeah, it turns out that there was a bomb on my ship. The damage it did to my hull made competing in the next event a bit more troublesome.
The fact of the matter is, though, that bombing my ship wasn’t the best idea. There are two ways to stay in the competition in Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing, you see: earning points or being popular. Periodically, the two captains at the bottom of the leaderboard are put head-to-head in what is called The Culling, which is basically a popularity contest. Needless to say, with my ship bomber being in the bottom two, you know who I voted for.
He didn’t walk though. Other captains liked him, apparently, and so he remains in the competition for me to try to eradicate another day. I made a friend in the captain that I tried to save from elimination though, who promptly gave me a nice weapon which they no longer have a use for.
And so that’s how Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing has managed to utterly surprise me. It’s a game in which your ability to build and maintain relationships is just as valuable as your ability to aim. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there is some management of your crew to be done, as I suspected. But it’s never arduous. You merely move your crew around to optimise your ship’s functions, and direct essence to the skills which you feel are most important. And of course, your priorities change throughout the course of events.
So, if you want to pilot an airship, compete in a competition to be the best, and manage relationships along the way, I urge you to give Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing a try. You might come away from the experience just as impressed as I was.
Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.