Developer: CHILLINGO
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Is there anything new that can be said about pirates? Probably not, which is also why Chillingo’s new iPhone game, Pirate’s Treasure, seems more than a bit tired from the get-go. You’ve seen this before, albeit with a variety of different themes. Pirate’s Treasure is a twin stick shooter where players control a crusty pirate (complete with peg leg) who has to outlast and outblast timed waves of enemies to proceed to the next level, where, yes your trust pirate has to, once again, outlast and outblast waves of enemies to proceed to… get the idea.

The good news is that the game looks and sounds great. You play from a 3/4 view, and all character and enemies are rendered in colorful 3D. Watching your pirate shuffle around on his peg is entertaining, and his colorful comments are pretty funny. Anyone familiar with Johnny Dangerously (are there any left?) will appreciate your pirate’s cry of “Son of a biscuit eater!” when he is hit by an enemy. There are other clever touches as well, such as the feather on the pirate’s hat changing color to indicate health level. It’s all rather nicely executed; there simply isn’t much a game to hang it all on. There is the ability to level up movement speed, shooting speed, etc through purchases made at a store, but the game still becomes repetitive way too quickly.

The really bad news about Pirate’s Treasure is, like so many twin stick shooters on the iPhone, the use of virtual controls is a hit and miss affair. Provided you hold your iPhone and manipulate the control sticks with your thumbs, you should only have slight problems…but note that you WILL still have problems. The analog control scheme just doesn’t transfer well to the touch screen. If you’re going to have joysticks, you need tactile feedback. Otherwise your fingers eventually slip from their intended destinations.

Pirate’s Treasure is an acceptable game, particularly for only $1.99; I’d just like to see developers do more with their talents. It’s not enough for a game to look and sound good – it needs to make you want to come back for more. Even in short bursts, Pirate’s Treasure gets boring quickly, and that’s just not a good thing. Unfortunately, this is one treasure that should have just stayed buried.

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