2K Games and Firaxis Games, the creative minds behind the Civilization series have just ported another of their classic games to the iPad. “Sid Meier’s Pirates! for iPad” is a simulation game where you sail the seas of the Caribbean in the 1600’s as a pirate (surprised?) on a quest for gold and wenches… well there may not be wenches but there is gold aplenty me hearties.
You play as a young pirate whose family has been kidnapped, and your quest is to get them back while picking up a few buried treasures and building up your pirate fleet along the way. Pirates! let’s you participate in all your favourite pirate activities such as bombarding ships and towns with cannon fire to capture them, sword fighting with nefarious ship captains, and there is even a mini rhythm game where you get to dance with the daughter’s of the various town Governors (quest for booty?) by tapping the screen in time with the music.
If you don’t feel like saving your pesky family you can also spend your time sailing the seas and doing some lovely pirating. There are four main factions that you can either ally yourself with or harrass and plunder: the English, French, Spanish, and Dutch, as well as American Indians who you can persuade to attack nearby settlements. The trading system offers something for all those management types out there with different supply and demand at different ports allowing you to maximise profit from your ill-gotten plunder.
The controls are all easy to pick up such as using swiping motions during swordfights to control which offensive/defensive move you do, and tapping the screen while at sea to control the direction of your ship. It all controls quite well which makes the game fairly easy to play and understand, and it offers hours of entertainment. In the time that I have spent playing it I have had a couple of instances of the game crashing, but it has an auto save feature which makes those moments only a mild interruption. If you’ve ever played the original game on the PC or just love to play out your fantasies of being a pirate then I would definitely recommend getting this game.
There are also versions of Pirates! available on Xbox 360, PSP, Wii and PC.