An adventure that might not be worth writing home about.
Clumsy Pirates is a run of the mill iOS puzzle title. Like many of its brethren, it is serviceable, features a cute mascot, and has a three point reward scale at the end of each level. This isn’t to say that Clumsy Pirates is not a bad game, it just doesn’t do much to stand out.
The player’s primary goal in each scenario is to reach the stage’s exit at the top of a multi-tiered pirate ship before a timer runs out. The on-screen character is not under direct control of the player, and will simply walk and automatically interact with any items placed in their path. Think of Lemmings, or the Mario Minis games. The player can place a limited amount of bubbles that will carry the pirate up one level (or in some cases, two) and the pirate will also climb ladders to ascend.
There are obstacles to resist the player’s progress, such as fires, holes in the floor that the pirate will fall through, and walls. Players must use judiciously placed bubbles and their knowledge of the pirate’s behavior to get to the top of the stage while circumventing these challenges.
While Clumsy Pirates is conceptually simple title, I found that both the controls and timer were frustrating elements of the game. While the only interaction the player has with the screen is tapping to place bubbles, the timer and obstacles require that the player tap with precision and speed. Some levels are best played if the player immediately drops a bubble in front of the pirate, and I can never quite place the bubble properly with such immediacy. If the urgency was removed (perhaps a planning stage could be added to each scenario), the player would have time to think and more carefully place bubbles. As it stands, the game can feel too frantic for a puzzle title.
Clumsy Pirates isn’t a difficult game, and optional coins to collect allow the player to add challenge to each scenario. These coins are used to unlock special “night” levels- which can also be unlocked via in app purchase.
The graphical style of Clumsy Pirates is its most standout feature, while not entirely unique (also see: Plunderland) the cartoony visuals are a pleasant addition to an otherwise bland pirate experience. The extent of pirate flavor outside of the visuals are some cheesy bits of pirate flavor text, the pirate soundtrack, and the character’s voice- which gives the impression that the devs were trying to make the pirate sound literally retarded.
I can’t honestly say that Clumsy Pirates is a bad game, but in the vast sea of puzzle apps on the App Store it doesn’t do much to distinguish itself from similar titles that cost a full dollar less. The entire experience felt functional but wasn’t memorable- the game is simply passable.
Clumsy Pirates is a universal app, available for $1.99.