As promised, a quick dedication to our first Facebook page commenter, Samantha. This one’s for you!
Review by Chris
As this is the Grog Boat, I feel obligated to review a pirate themed game from time to time, lest I lose my street cred with the youngsters. I stress the word “themed” because Plunder Pirates for the iOS follows in the tradition of those Facebook games we’re all familiar with. You know, the ones that stretch the meaning of the word “game”, invitations to which you receive from people who loosely fit into the category of “friends”.
What are you getting into when you download the free to play Plunder Pirates? Well, you build a pirate hideout, explore the seas, fight monsters and rival ships, and conduct raids on nearby forts. It is a game that requires a great deal of patience, as it can be several minutes for a battle with a giant shark to be completed. You won’t be doing anything but waiting in these six minutes, but if you’ve recruited enough pirates, they should handle the task for you.
You do get to pick from which part of the shoreline you can deploy each pirate during a raid, then sit back and see if your configuration survived the traps and defenses of the enemy fort. I did enjoy these raids; however I was limited to the first two available pirate types, as I did not have enough time to amass the resources needed to build the buildings needed to recruit the other pirates.
You can also create and join guilds, and even attack the bases of other users. This can make for a fairly social experience. As casual games go, this is a big plus.
As you may have guessed, this is a relatively hands-off game. The in-game currencies are gold, grog (hey, that’s half of our name) and gems. But in reality, gems are the true currency. After all, they allow you to speed up recruitment of pirates, exploration times, idle battle times and can replace the raw materials for other buildings, meaning that your initial allowance of these gems will be swiftly depleted if you are the impatient type (like me). There are gems to be found on the high seas, but you can easily spend more than you can recover. Like Tiny Tower, your experience will be brief stints of activity, followed by periods of waiting for resources to gather. Mapping out the seas in the single player campaign is enjoyable, as you never know what may be ahead, but suffers from its obligatory wait times.
So why have a game with so much away time, anyway? Well, The Game Theorists on YouTube provide a great explanation of the benefits of this play model here, however for the people who want to dive into adventure, gem-driven shortcuts are made more attractive. They can also be a quick way to burn a hole in your pocket.
Below, I’ve screen capped the prices for the different gem bundles (they go higher, but you get the picture). If you are thrifty and patient enough, you may not end up spending that much money on your experience with this game. But it is best to keep a close eye on your purchases, as micro-transactions can pile up without you noticing.
Now, do I love it? Do I hate it? The answer to both is “no”. I really don’t feel too much about it either way. It is, at its core, a pirate-themed version of the many types of mobile games that already exist, and if you honestly like them, and you love pirates, this game is for you. It plays well, it looks great and it has freakin pirates!
As for me, I am instinctively weary of games that discourage you from actually playing them, and see these types of games as a way for people to fill in brief moments of time between their busy schedules consisting of tennis club, dentist appointments and burning forever in the darkest pit of hell.