Tis the season of new demos and I am excited to see so many great visual novels in development! The indie scene has always offered a wealth of unique stories that appeal to a wide range of gamers. There is always something new to discover, so if you’re not playing indie games—you are missing out!
One of the titles that should be on your radar is the Sin Sister’s pirate themed indie otome game, The Spanish Privateer. Follow 18 year old runaway, Isabel Carlota de Castilla as she joins a privateer ship to escape a unwanted marriage to a man three times her age.. It’s a high seas adventure, full of action, new discoveries, and of course romance.
The Spanish Privateer was originally developed for the Otome Game Jam back in 2018, but it wasn’t until the Kickstarter campaign launched last month that this game came to my attention. The game offers three love interests: the ship’s captain Rico; stoic first mate, Flint; and flirty lute player, Lark. Since the game is set on a Spanish ship during the “Golden Age” of Piracy, the game does feature a fairly diverse cast—Lark is half Scottish, Flint is Black, and Rico hails from Puerto Rico. The demo is roughly 2 hours long and reads like a cross between the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie and the Voltage Inc. game, Pirates in Love.
Carlota is the daughter of an affluent Spanish family—well educated and raised in the lap of luxury, she leaves her comfortable life for the freedom of the open seas to avoid being forced to marry. However, once she boards the ship, Carlota learns that life on the sea might not be the safe haven she imagined it to be. She will need her wits about her if she is ever going to cut it on a ship full of pirates.
I really enjoyed Carlota, she isn’t your typical damsel in distress and while she may not be as skilled as her male counterparts, she doesn’t shy away from danger. She’s witty and quick on her feet, even participating in battle alongside her fellow crewmates (with varying degrees of success). She is a pretty well established character from the start, but you can shape her personality (diplomatic, bold, or witty) and let me tell you some of the dialogue choices had me ROLLING! There was one early on where she legit told the crew to call her su majestad and I AM HERE for MC who aren’t afraid to crack that whip. Her interactions with the guys were also fun, she is well aware of social norms between men and women, but when one of the LI’s pulls the “you’re a woman” card, Carlota shuts it down.
This is still a sanitized fantasy, so the story doesn’t delve into some of the less than savory implications of a lone woman on a pirate ship—I think the worst we get is a couple of the crewmen trying to look up her shirt as she climbs up to the crow’s nest. Lute can get a bit handsy, but he’s noble enough to stop when Carlota calls him out on it.
Though, I did want to note that Carlota does mention needing cotton rags for her upcoming period and ya know what, I appreciate that being included in the story. I always wonder how otome heroines take care of themselves when they’re on these long adventures… I mean periods don’t stop just because we’re on a high seas adventure…
The Spanish Privateer has a nice balance of “realism” and fantasy and while I get that this is a game, I like to see stories that are a bit more grounded. Rico makes it clear that he is a privateer and not a “pirate”, that he is contracted by the Spanish government to pillage and plunder for political reasons (and survival). Now that doesn’t mean they don’t get into their fair share of scraps, buuuut, it’s clearly meant to be more noble than your run of the mill swashbuckling piracy. Each of the LIs has their reasons for being on the ship and I kinda like that their motivations vary from character to character. Out of all the guys I think, Rico is my favorite, outwardly he is pretty honest and good natured, but whenever Carlota starts to pry into his past he changes the subject. I wanna know what he’s hiding! Flint is a close second, since I like my stoic otome guys—and y’all need to see this man’s blush, it is too cute. Personality wise, Lark just didn’t do it for me, I am not really a fan of flirty types, but I will admit that his backstory got to me and I want to know MORE!
This is a demo done right! It sets up the story and the characters, but leaves you wanting more. The Spanish Privateer is an exciting ride and if this demo is any indication of what is to come, I CAN’T wait for the full release! So, if you’re looking for a high seas adventure to sink your teeth into, definitely give this demo a try and while you’re at it—throw your money at the Kickstarter campaign before it ends on May 14, 2021!
Where to Play the Demo: Itch.io