You’ll please pardon me for coming into this review confused, because AC Pirates is a $5 purchase that started off feeling like a mini-game from the PC/console version, and then didn’t evolve into much else. I kept playing, waiting for the game to reveal the main character, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I was left with a crummy ship and a bunch of boring missions that I can’t imagine entertaining anymore for more than a few minutes.
Really, Abhimanyu? That bad? Well, to be fair, it’s not the worst game I’ve ever had on my device, but it’s certainly one of the least fun games I’ve bought — not to mention the expectations that come with the major-franchise tag. I dove in, hoping to feed buried treasure, but came up with only a skeleton of a game that will unfortunately dissapoint many a fan.
You play Alonzo Batilla, a seaman rescued and befriended by the notorious pirate La Buse. The friendly pirate not only frees you from a ship’s hold but also puts you in charge of your very own vessel, which you can commandeer to navigate and plunder the high seas.
In your quest to prove your worth as a member of La Buse’s pirate gang, you can sail across great distances to find ships to loot, and take down army ships when necessary (or when you have more firepower than they do). You’ll also be able to take on missions that involve careful navigation, and along the way, gather up a formidable crew and even upgrade to a better, stronger ship — all the better to pirate with.
While the concept sounds great, the greatly limited gameplay mechanics severely let down the experience. Navigating in first person only requires you to spin the helm to change course, and tap a button to raise the sails and increase speed. Guiding the ship across longer distances involves drawing a safe path on a map-like top-down view to your destination, avoiding obstacles and enemy boats.
The real letdown is the combat mode — all you have to do is select your weapon (a cannon or a more precise artillery gun), aim at your target with a rudimentary system and let fly. You’ll also need to dodge attacks, by masterfully tapping left or right to avoid being blown up. The mechanics work fine, but feel like those featured in mini-games that serve to break up the monotony of a larger third-person adventure like the PC/console Assassin’s Creed series. In a stand-alone game, they make you wonder why you’d ever spend time, let alone $5 of your hard-earned money on an activity as banal as this.
Should you buy this?
If you haven’t been paying attention thus far, the answer is a resounding no. The game is a low-value production from the very beginning, from concept to execution. Between the shallow gameplay, poorly rendered graphics, an overly complex upgrade system and no compelling moments to speak of in storytelling or action, this title is a complete waste of time. You’d do well to steer clear of this shipwreck and try your hand at something, anything else if you’re looking for a good time.