Three Rings Design's Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates was a unique title for a number of reasons. In addition to being a cute, family-friendly game built around a notorious culture of high-seas skullduggery, it was also a massively multiplayer online title built around puzzle-game mechanics and casual-gamer appeal.
Three Rings' upcoming PC strategy game Bang! Howdy is another rare offering: a micropayments-driven MMO under development in the US. While the San Francisco-based development house hasn't pegged a release date for Bang! Howdy, it announced today that the game's public beta testing session will begin next month.
Set in the Wild West, Bang! Howdy combines real-time and turn-based strategy elements in short rounds. Players can customize their avatars with a variety of thematically appropriate clothes and accessories as they work through five different environments, unlocking new units, scenarios, arenas, and game features along the way.
When it is released, Bang! Howdy will be free to download and play, but players will be able to purchase new items and features for the game through micropayments. For more on the game and signing up for the beta, check out the game's official Web site.