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Windward is a piratical action game without the naval-gazing

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The life of a pirate is supposed to be a thrilling one. Non-stop debauchery, murder and plunder, topped off with a bout of syphilis, and an inglorious death as your body is hurled into a canal. By contrast, you spend most of your time in pirate sims shifting corn and tobacco, haggling with merchants for a 10% reduction in the cost of yarn. That can be fascinating in its own right, of course, but sometimes you just want to load up a ship with cannonballs and blast another vessel to smithereens. Enter Windward, a team-based multiplayer action game that's just washed up on Desura (opens in new tab) .

Windward is a game of fast-paced naval combat, much like the old Psygnosis title Overboard! (opens in new tab) It's less about the price of gunpowder and more about its application, as you upgrade your vessel, discover randomly generated booty, and attempt to send the other team to Davey Jones' locker, which he's stupidly left at the bottom of the sea. While the game is available on Desura for £6.99, or 970 pieces of eight, there's also a limited free version (opens in new tab) on the official site, so you can see whether Windward floats your boat.

In honour of the Desura release, Tasharen are giving away a bunch of free game keys (opens in new tab) to players who submit their favourite Windward moments so far. Obviously that will involve playing the free version first, with "bonus points for telling it as a story from your captain's perspective." Either that or you can plunder the following video for inspiration.

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.