Read “Opium Wars” on Wikipedia | High Tea is based in the 1800′s and you are a British smuggler, smuggling opium in China in return for masses of silver, which you can then trade for tea, thus bringing it back to Britain and making the British citizens happy with you! Watch out! When you buy opium and tea, you always want to buy it for the cheapest prices and then sell for the highest or you might just leave China empty handed and starve the British of their tea! If the British are happy with your efforts they might just award you with a new ship to help out with the trade! Here’s a quick word from the developer:

In High Tea you play a 19th Century independent British smuggler selling opium in China’s Pearl Delta. Buy cheap and sell high to make a profit and get the tea you need to keep Britain happy. Based on historical events, this game also shines a light on a questionable episode in the history of the British Empire.

High Tea

High Tea is all about multitasking, if you can trade with one group here, another here and get a third and forth ship here (etc) and bring back all of your ships and continue the cycle your going to have no problem keeping up with this already fast-paced action/historical game, but if you can’t you disappoint the British and leave China empty handed! Every time a port opens up for trade you only have so much time to get there before the traders (whom will happily take the opium off your hands) evacuate the ports. Luckily, many traders will buy opium off you so missing one trade isn’t too significant! The most important part of this game is buying the opium cheap and trading it with the Chinese for the silver, of which you can sell for ridiculous prices and therefore using that bit of extra cash to buy the tea. This game plays much like any other company/tycoon game. You want to make a profit, make sure that you’re only selling the silver when you can make a profit (selling it for a large amount of money) an then buying the tea for crazily low prices. I didn’t find that getting to my ships to their desired destination before time ran out was hard, but every once in a while you’ll miss some major trades due to all of your ships being out.

That gameplay was phenomenal. High Tea is truly a one-of-a-kind game that not only is enjoyable and has a unique gameplay experience, but also goes over an important time in history of which the British smugglers were making deals with China for tea. This is a rather education game that still has a fun side to it, which for many games, can be hard to achieve! On thing that I loved about High Tea was that Chinese officials eventually realized where you were smuggling and they’d put that harbor on high-alert, or in this game, the port is marked as “risky” and has an exclamation mark over it. This eventually spiced up the gamer as you has to be weary of where you were trading. Sometimes you sneak past the officials, or you could use a “bribe card” to get yourself out of trouble. Entering a “risky” area often gets you caught, from my experiences, but if you’re lucky you may just get away with a bit of silver in your hands. If you are caught you must either pay a fine, or forfeit the ship. Remember, it may be worth it to pay the fine, as with one ship down it may be hard to revert back to old ways as you’ll have less ships to smuggle opium and silver to pay for your tea addiction. The controls were okay in my opinion, you could decide where you wanted to bring your ship, but in the journey you can’t choose to redirect the ship. I’d love to see that be added to the game for if a grand deal sprang up and you don’t have any ships on stand-by.

High Tea

The graphics were superb! I love the variances of colors to show texture and the small details that actually made up those textures, such as the mountains or the waves. I wouldn’t have minded if the water was animated a bit, or if a cloud passed every now and then, but I understand that it is simply supposed to look like a map, so I’ll respect that, but just a bit of animation of other objects besides the boats wouldn’t hurt too much, or might even improve the overall look of the game. I wouldn’t have minded if the Chinese traders had different icons. Seeing the same person over and over again doesn’t really bother me, but just for the sake of the game other people included would also be a nice touch to the game, but for now it is equally phenomenal. The map design, which features China was amazing and even better than I’d hoped it would look, but there were a few perfectly curved coastlines that touched the water that didn’t necessarily look right. If you’d look a perfect map of that area you’d notice that there are more jagged edges and I would mind if some of the edges varied a bit more to make it look more map-like.

The music was perfect for such a game. It had a pirate-ish, Asia style to it, that not only fit the mood and setting of the game, but was also soothing. While the game was rather fast-paced it had a soothing and calming mood to it; in other words it’s not a game that you have to be totally concentrated or on the edge of your seat, such as in shooters, but has a more relaxed mood, such as you would find in a puzzler. The sound effects were definitely a big part of the game. For when you sent off a ship it was signaled by a bell and when you made a successful trade with the opium buyers it was confirmed by a rewarding noise. There were various other sound effects for doing things successfully, or failing at others.

High Tea had a very noticeably difficulty ramp. As the game moved on, signified by when your tea is to be collected, the number of “risky” locations would increase as your presence became more and more infamous. When this happened it usually payed off to have a bit of money in hand and to be cautious of where you’re travelling. I tend to have a very low escape rate when visiting “risky” area. In fact, I haven’t made it away from a “risky” area yet, so by my percentages and averages, it’s probably just best to stay away from those locations because nine times out of ten, you’re going to be caught! If caught, paying the fine can often leave you close to bankrupt and running low and money will often result in upsetting Britain! Make sure you have a suffice amount of money on hand at all times! Also, as the game continues you may choose to use your new boats.

The replay value wasn’t really there. Personally, I don’t see myself going back and completing the entire game all over again, although the game was extremely fun and enjoyable! While on any site besides Kongregate there wasn’t a high-scores table, thanks to Kongregate, with their Kongregate API and the kindness of the developer, the Kongregate score API has been established and there are currently three high-scores for opium sold, high-score and tea shipped. Obviously, if you’re truly into this game then go to Kongregate and try to beat the current high-scores! Although, besides the Kongregate API, there really isn’t much replay value on any other site version of the game. I’d suggest that the developers try to add at least an in-game high-score table to the game so that anyone, playing the game where the developer has allowed it to be, there is a leader board that not only people on one specific site, but all sites that contain this leader board.

In review, High Tea is an insanely addictive, tea-loving, education, one-of-a-kind kind of game that had sensational gameplay and was overall terrific in every aspect imaginable! The game has a perfect difficulty and it purely relied upon strategy (although, sometimes the prices could rise incredibly randomly) which I love about High Tea. The gameplay was of none other and the controls were fluent and responsive to my every command while delivering a simple and relaxed gameplay experience. The art was superlative and displayed a sublime map look to it as it detailed various locations and trade routes used to smuggle opium. The music was beautiful and create a surreal mood to the gamer that not only went perfectly with the game but also created a soothing and assuage atmosphere for this already prodigious game. In addition, the difficulty ramp rose perfectly as the user become more and more associated and as the user mastered and perfected the gameplay, which was already, recognizably, simple enough. The only small disappointment of this game was the replay vlaue. While the Kongregate API was established on Kongregate, other sites were simply isolated by the fact that no other score board existed for this game and that the only score board, indeed, lied in Kongregate.com’s version of the game. All in all, High Tea was a perfect game in every way and if you haven’t played it already then check it out over on Kongregate!

Play High Tea on Kongregate!