Ah the Pirates, the fearless romantic outlaw anti-heroes. Thanks to the certain movie franchise pirates are in again, but older gamers around you might remember Sid Meier’s Pirates from the ’80s and the remake which is 15 years old already. There are many other games celebrating pirate life, the most prominent of them being Assassins Creed Black Flag. Anyway, there is certainly something irresistible in the idea of traversing the sea, looting ships and living freely which universally attracts players all over the world.
Pirate games hаve come in all shapes and sizes, except for trading card games, but now that’s changed with the launch of Pirates Outlaws. This is a roguelike card game which tries to be a game like Slay the Spire, just on a mobile platform. Mobile-wise, this is more than welcome inclusion on a platform quite sparse with games of that genre. However, uniqueness doesn’t automatically imply quality.
It’s quite obvious from the name itself that Pirates Outlaws game contains all about pirates. In the beginning, you will choose your favorite class, ranging from a mere gunner all the way up to a cursed captain or a wealthy admiral. Each class has its own unique traits, like starting deck, unique ability or skin, although you will have to work hard to unlock all of them. There are six classes, and each of them has a certain price in gold. Good thing is that you will earn gold during each adventure.
The secondary currency in this game, equally important as gold, is reputation, which is necessary to earn if you want to unlock later classes. This also prevents players from just buying their way to victory by using in-app purchases. Speaking about currencies, this game costs only $1, although there is a bunch of IAP you can use to boost your experience.
Concerning the gameplay, Pirates Outlaws is a run-of-the-mill roguelike competitive card game, just pirate themed. There are three islands you can choose from as a starting point of your adventure, while the other two you have to unlock with certain amounts of gold and reputation. During your adventure, you will collect new cards to add to your deck, including new units, relics that provide passive bonuses and gold that you can spend on new cards and relics.
Each level represents a string of random events which finalizes with a boss battle. These boss battles are the biggest challenge in the game, and they will require all your skills and deck knowledge to win. After you beat the boss, the next area will be open for you to explore. Generally, you have to go through three different areas to complete a run. Most of the cards have ammo as a resource which you can replenish by playing an ammo card in your deck. Managing ammo cards requires the most of your skill because each round you have to play all cards in your hand and your hand doesn’t grow in size over time.
There are two major flaws we can think of about the battle system. First, it is completely devoid of animation. Which is a shame because developers took a lot of effort into presenting a lovable bunch of characters. Furthermore, the overall experience doesn’t feel very deep and compelling. Compared to their biggest competitor, Night of the Full Moon, Pirates Outlaws seem pretty bland and lacking the drive which would make players advance in the game.
This is mostly due to the fact that enemies don’t have a deck, they just deal a certain amount of damage or use a certain skill during their round. Which means the strategy for defeating them sheds down to simply smacking them down with the highest damage cards in your deck until the battle is over. Which is, to say least, underwhelming.
In conclusion, Pirates Outlaws isn’t quite up to the games it looked up to, like Slay the Spire or Night of the Full Moon, but it is still a good roguelike card game on its own. Also, it costs only a dollar to pick up, which might cause many players to give it a chance despite the relative roughness of the final product.