What would you get if you took Clash of Clans, put the characters in pirate costumes, and lavished it with ship shape graphics? 'Plunder Pirates' would seem like an obvious answer at first play, though once you get into the game you'll realize it has a bit more to it than that.
Set sail for paywall island
The overall concept of Plunder Pirates isn't a new one: build up an island with dwellings, mines and storage, then recruit a band of troops (in this case swarthy sea dogs), and level everything up. The ubiquitous wait or pay scenario is present of course, and there's a dizzying array of in-app currency to get your head around.
In this sense, Plunder Pirates is interchangeable with the aforementioned Clash of Clans, Simpsons: Tapped Out, Kingdoms & Lords, etc. However, there are some gameplay twists that make it worth checking out even if you're bored to death with this time-sucking game genre.
For instance, there are strong exploration and conquest elements to Plunder Pirates. At any point during the game you can recruit a band of pirates from the tavern then send them out on an adventure on the high seas. This 'Plunder' mode is split between exploring the seas (traversing a map to uncover sea monsters, new islands and enemies) and fighting rival captains (sending your motley crew in to try and storm other players' bases).
You'll need to protect your islands with cannons and fortresses if you want to survive, because sporadically, your town will be invaded by other players, so don't get caught with your trousers down.
You can also join guilds with others and check out who are the meanest pirates on the planet on the online leaderboards, visiting these players' islands if you choose.
All fingers on deck
Like most city-building games of this ilk, everything happening on screen seems a little daunting at first, with different menu options, currency types, and stuff to buy strewn everywhere. Thankfully you're guided clearly through everything when you first start playing, so you'll soon pick it up.
Plunder Pirates is arguably the fairest looking game of its kind. The crisp 3D world really comes to live in the palm of your hand. You can explore islands effortlessly from every angle by holding and swiveling your fingers around, then pinching to glide in and out of the lovingly-crafted cartoon world. The water effects are so realistic that you'll be wiping your screen in the fear that your phone got wet.
The medieval soundtrack in Plunder Pirates is so calming and relaxing that it makes it very easy to get lost in this dreamy virtual far off land.
A swashbuckling experience
If you're a fan of Clash of Clans-type games then Plunder Pirates is worth a look because it offers something that's not been done before. If you're someone with no patience or are anti-piracy then this game isn't for you.