Reviewed: June 5, 2010
Released: May 28, 2010
App Store Price: $1.99
Developer GameLab made a lot of really brilliant choices when it came to developing Pirate's Treasure on the iPhone. There are a lot of really small tweaks that make for a very enjoyable experience. Un-pausing the game starts a three second timer to help you easily slip back into the action. There are options to reduce the graphical power of the game, which reduces some of the visual flair, but makes the game run smoother -- something I would recommend doing. There is an achievement system structured very similar to the one we are so familiar with on the Xbox. The levels are presented in a Mario Galaxy format, in the sense that you do not have to complete every level in a specific order, nor do you necessarily have to complete every level to get to the end of the game. For all these good ideas, developer GameLab forgot to think one very important thing through.|
Why would you create a twin stick shooter, a genre defined by it's twitch gameplay and required accuracy, for a system who's only method of control is sloppy and inaccurate? Action games on the iPhone are difficult, and often frustrating, and Pirate's Treasure can, at times, be a showcase as to why. That being said, if you are playing iPhone games you are already aware of the pitfalls of playing games on it. Pirates Treasure has a lot of the same control problems that plague other action game on the iPhone."
Pirate's Treasure uses the typical virtual controller system. Two virtual control sticks are situated on the bottom left and right hand corner of the screens. The left provides movement to your peg leg limping pirate character, and the right both aims and fires your gun. This, as with most games on the iPhone, means that your thumbs are taking up a lot of visual real estate. Enemies can and will appear from under your thumbs, and you just have to blow them as best as you can. Once you get the hang of rolling your thumbs on the screen to control your character, and you come to the realization that pressing harder on the screen does not make the game any easier to control, you will realize that you have a pretty fun and surprisingly expansive little shooter.
The game is broken up into seven different stages of varying visual styles. There are a number of levels in each stage, each with different requirements for their completion. One level may have you killing a set number of enemies, while another might request that you collect a certain amount of gold from your fallen foes. The collected gold can then be used to level-up your pirate with a simple, but very rewarding leveling system. You can also turn into a super-powered octopus, which is pretty sweet.
The graphics are good, but there are some hiccups and slowdown, which is why I would recommend lowering some of the settings, at least on the iPhone 3G. The faster 3Gs will likely help boost your overall performance. The visuals don't take enough of a hit to hinder the overall experience when you do this, and you get a game that just simply runs better. Upon meeting the end boss of the game, which had a humorous surprise that I will not spoil here, I found the game unable to load the battle. The application would quit and shut down. It was only after a phone restart and lowering the settings, that I was able to finish the game.
The music is of the typical pirate seafaring kind. It's nothing particularly groundbreaking, but it fits in perfectly and has high production value. Your pirate ambles about shouting clichéd pirate banter, talking about wanting booty (the gold kind, not the hip-hop kind) and saying things like, "show me the money!," or, "this is getting old," which is funny is a self-referential kind of way, but also partially true.
At $1.99, I can confidently give Pirate's Treasure a recommend. The technical issues are manageable, and the controls can be frustrating, but they get the job done. With achievements, high scores and leaderboards, an absurd amount of challenges across all levels, a fun leveling system, and a pirate style that really works with the setting, you end up getting a lot for your $2.