Pirates: All Aboard!
Release Date: 13 April 2018
Price: $5.99 / £5.39
Reviewed by Josh Brant
Have you ever wanted to be a pirate and set sail on the seven seas, attack other ships, and search for buried treasure? The Nintendo Switch has been lacking in quality pirate adventures, however developer QubicGames is looking to provide that experience with Pirates: All Aboard!
This is no Sea of Thieves clone though, and while the building blocks are in place, it's not quite the pirate adventure we were hoping for.
Practice Makes Pirates
Pirates: All Aboard! pits you against other ships in top-down miniature naval arenas. It features three game modes to choose from, as well as a practice mode.
This allows you to get the hang of controlling your ship, and teaches you how to navigate from a birds-eye view perspective. There are also gold coins you can collect after destroying enemy ships to boost your score, and power-ups that you can try out before jumping in to the other game modes.
Deathmatch mode is exactly what you'd think it is, with you battling up to three other human controlled players in the same arenas that feature in practice mode. The gameplay mechanics see you firing your broadside cannons using the triggers, or trying to ram your opponents. It gets repetitive fast, and provides only a few rounds of fulfillment at a time.
You can customize how the matches are scored, either by having a certain time limit to see who sinks the most ships, or having a set number of galleons for each player. Even with the power-ups that allow you to turn faster or fire from the front of your ship, the bland gameplay still remains the same.
Pieces of Eight
Last Man Standing mode is almost identical to Deathmatch mode, but each player gets only one life and if they are sunk there are no respawns. The final mode, Endless, is basically an endless-runner where you move your ship side-to-side while it continues to move upwards. There are obstacles and other hazards to avoid, as well as enemies chasing you with bombs. The main goal is to collect as many coins as you can, with the route getting continuously more difficult to navigate.
As far as gameplay is concerned, that’s all there is to Pirates: All Aboard! Technically, there are no glitches or bugs to be concerned with, but that’s the least of its concerns. While there's nothing wrong with a multiplayer only title, as Sea of Thieves has demonstrated, the lack of incentive to keep coming back here is hugely apparent. The visuals aren’t anything special either, with the ships and water looking decent, but everything else appearing fairly non-descript.
There’s really not a whole lot to say about Pirates: All Aboard! You can see everything in the game in less than an hour and that’s about as much time as I imagine anyone would want to put in. The soundtrack is worth mentioning as it does feature a nice pirate-like adventure tune that can get you in the mood for the ship-to-ship battles and plundering. Unfortunately though, it's the only one, so can start to get tedious after constant repetition.
Overall, Pirates: All Aboard is only worth mentioning for the pirate aesthetic as there just isn’t enough to make for a compelling adventure. The main problem, though, is not the focus on multiplayer, but the lack of variety in the game modes to make you and your friends want to carry on playing. The gameplay is solid, albeit basic, and the graphics and soundtrack are serviceable enough, but it’s hard to recommend this title when so many other affordable multiplayer options are available.
Pros & Cons
+ Gameplay is mechanically sound
+ Graphics are bright and pleasant to look at
- Bland and repetitive gameplay
- Bare bones presentation and modes
- Replay value is tied to boring multiplayer modes