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Video Game / Abandon Ship

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Abandon Ship is a naval Roguelike game developed by Fireblade Software. It entered Steam Early Access on February 21st, 2018 and had a full PC release on October 22nd, 2019.

It is best described as a Golden Age of Sail-era version of FTL: you have the sector-by-sector exploration, one-on-one ship duels where you target each other's vulnerable spots, random events resolved through text and a menacing threat that'll come after you if you spend too long in one sector. Here, it's a massive Kraken, which is powerful enough to be worshipped by a cult that makes up the primary power in the world. Your captain has rebelled at the start of the story, however, and must now find the way to slay the kraken to break the cult's stranglehold over the world.

Compare to Convoy for a Post Apocalyptic take on the FTL formula and Crying Suns for a more narrative-focused version of the same. If you are looking for a more serious and narrative-driven naval roguelike with Lovecraftian elements, check out Sunless Sea and its successor Sunless Skies.


Tropes present in this game:

  • Acid Attack: You can have an acid mortar as one of your ship's weapons. It leaves a hazardous pool wherever it lands onto the enemy's deck, ensuring that their crew will stay away from that spot until it clears. Shooting this shell onto the enemy's gun emplacement will thus temporarily disable it, and provide you with a heavy advantage. There is also a variety of Haliphron that can do this, as well as the Kraken itself.
  • After-Combat Recovery: Your ship may have had half its deck on fire while also taking on water from a hull breach like crazy, but once you had sunk the opponent, minor problems like these are automatically considered resolved on the world map.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Cult eventually attacks and burns Landfall, the largest city in the game world, rendering it unusable.
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  • Apocalypse How: Towards the end of the main campaign, the Cult sets their sight on causing the Slumbering Giant, a massive volcano, to erupt. This is mentioned to potentially cause a chain reaction of smaller eruptions that would 'turn half the world to ash.'
  • Cannibal Tribe: These inhabit the tropical islands to the south. They can attack your ship if you fight too close to their isles.
  • The City: Landfall, the old colonial capital of the Empire and the largest settlement in the game.
  • Citadel City: The Redoubt, a port in the region of Land's End that is considered all but impenetrable. At least, until the Cult starts using devilrock...
  • The Cult: The Cult of Haliphron, a society of Kraken worshippers, is the primary antagonist of the game. While there are several lesser cults to other gods throughout the world, they are the most prominent.
  • Damage Over Time: Any shots that hit the hull below the waterline will result in the ship taking on water and sinking. This can be mitigated by sending some crew to man the pumps (while also repairing the breaches), but only up to a point.
    • Likewise, incendiary shots from mortars will set the ship on fire, which will again result in a continuous damage unless it's been put out.
  • Deadly Gas: The Forsaken Seas are covered in toxic fumes spewed forth by the volcanic vents that litter the region.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Several, actually. Aside from the Kraken, the Cult makes use of the Haliphron, which are effectively Deep Ones, as boarding troops. There is also the Mother, a Giant Spider goddess that controls the Spider Islands, the Great Snake of the Writhing Atoll, and the Devourer, progenitor of the krakens and the true god of the Cult.
  • Eldritch Location: The Haunted Seas. Trying to enter sees you dragged through a whirlpool into a nightmarish realm filled with ghosts and undead. Escaping takes you through a variety of surreal and horrific locales, and by the end it's unclear what exactly even happened.
  • Fog of War: Once you arrive to a new area, all of the markers will be initially hidden by such a fog. Visiting a lighthouse instantly reveals the entire map, however.
  • From Bad to Worse: At first, it seems like the Cult's ambitions are limited merely to summoning the Kraken against their enemies. Then they start causing volcanic eruptions in a bid to warm the seas enough for the frozen Devourer to break free.
  • Grim Up North: The northern seas are incredibly bleak, with icebergs constantly ramming your ship, gale force winds, and Cult fortresses everywhere. This is also where the Devourer is, trapped in a vast ice sheet.
  • Heel–Face Turn: You do this at the start of the game, escaping from the Cult, stealing a ship, and setting out to stop them and the Kraken.
  • Hellhole Prison: The Pit in the Northern Remnants is heavily implied to be this.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: The Kraken is the object of the Cult's worship, and their greatest weapon. Your job is to find a way to kill it. And then it turns out there's more than one…
  • Lovecraft Lite: There is a huge tentacled abomination worshipped by a cult all over the world for sure. However, it is also eminently beatable with enough explosives.
  • Madness Mantra: Cultists to the Mother of the Spider Isles seem to only be able to say "Mother knows best" over and over.
  • Morale Mechanic: Present, and it can be adversely affected by events like stumbling across a derelict ship whose crew had starved to death.
  • Multiple Endings: The main campaign has two, depending on whether you choose to surrender to the Devourer's power or blow it to hell with a shipload of devilrock.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Some of the questlines can end like this, notably helping Aldous in the Silk Keys and working for the Necromancer.
  • Patrolling Mook: Some of the enemy ships are assigned an area to patrol, and will start pursuing you if you venture into it.
  • The Plague: The Black Pox, a virulent disease that has been isolated to the island of Rotholme. Played With in that by the time the player arrives, the inhabitants have managed to get the disease under control, and even managed to weaponize it.
  • Retired Badass: In the Silk Keys, the players can come across Aldous Spiderslayer, a former knight famed for defending the Silk Keys from the Giant Spiders to the south. He turns out to be a Fallen Hero, having been corrupted by the Mother.
  • Save Token: Captain's Logs, a finite resource that can be used at a given port's magistrate to save the game.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The farthest northeast part of the map is home to a massive ice sheet containing the frozen bodies of dozens of kraken, as well as the Cult's true object of worship, an utterly titanic Eldritch Abomination called the Devourer.
  • Shock and Awe: There are electric guns mounted on swivels, which can potentially stun much of the enemy's crew with chain lightning.
  • Shout-Out: Occasionally, flavour text when looting a ship describes you discovering a series of wooden sparrows carved with the letter 'J.' The first one is great, but they grow less interesting the more you find.
  • Sniper Rifle: Getting one and assigning a crew member to it will allow you to pick off the enemy crew one by one. If you have already destroyed their own cannons, you can potentially finish the combat entirely through sniping, without needing to risk getting your crew killed or wounded during the boarding action.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: A major plot point is the discovery of devilrock, a mineral explosive that only detonates when it coms into contact with water. You use it to kill the Kraken by making it into depth charges. And then the Cult figures how to use it...
  • Subsystem Damage: You can attack gun emplacements, sails, hull, etc, and your enemies can do the same.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: You weren't simply a member of the Cult, you founded it after discovering a Place of Power and making a deal with the Devourer that led to you sacrificing your family to the Haliphron.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: In the far southwest players can come across the Blast, which is a massive desert with a strange tower in the center. Attempting to reach it momentarily turns the game from Ocean Punk to Desert Punk.
  • Vestigial Empire: A large empire once controlled much of the game world, though by the present day they have all but collapsed. The player can find the remnants of their ships, from which they can loot Captain's Logs.
  • Villain Protagonist: The Sword of the Cult campaign has you play as a disgraced member of the Cult of Haliphron, attempting to climb back up the ranks after failing to stop the player in the main campaign's introduction.
  • The Wall Around the World: There was an effort to build one of these around Landfall, but it turned out to be too expensive and the project was halted. These days it's simply a curiosity, know to sailors as Joseph's Debt.
  • Wild Card: The snake cultists of the Sea of Serpents can help or hinder you, depending on the mood the Great Snake is in when you encounter them.