The Pirate: Caribbean Hunt – insert pirate cliché here – is the first game, from developers Home Net Games, to be ported over from the mobile market. While some gamers tend to ignore mobile games and see them as distractions, I can confirm that this free-to-play title is a pleasurable, fun, and deep experience.
The open world maps are filled with an abundance of pirate activities – parental guidance is recommended – in either the online world or in your own private quarters. Take the Caribbean Sea by storm, and build your fleet to an unlimited proportion to become the most treasure obsessed buccaneer of them all.
Gameplay is very reminiscent of the ship exploration from another well-known pirate title, Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. Being a port of a mobile game, the navigation is not as simple as pointing and clicking on a location with your mouse. Instead, you must battle against the wind, adjusting your upper and lower topsails accordingly to gain speed, while steering your ship portside or starboard using the rudder.
Naval warfare is simple, and it works well in conjunction with the navigation controls. It’s a simple case of choosing your ammunition and aiming your shots. These action buttons are accessed within close proximity to the steering controls, or on screen with your mouse. You’ll need to master these easy to learn mechanics when engaging the forces of the time, the British, French, and Spanish, as well as rogue pirates from uncharted online waters. Movement during battle, and in general, is slow due to the realistic distances and passages of time, but with the help of the optional speed adjustment, this will allow you to quickly tear apart merchant or hostile ships alike.
But remember to be prepared for war. At one point I found myself in battle without any cannon balls. Oops! So, I had to ram the ship until it sank, and I took a lot of damage in the process. Plundering cargo from other ships, forts, and harbours can be used to trade for gold or other items inside the fluctuating economy, and in-game events such as the British losing control over colonies, will affect the prices of the various items, like additional cannons.
Your new found fortunes can be used to upgrade your ships with special weapons, or purchase new ones, stockpile various types of ammunition, build up your own fortifications, hire crew, and repair damages to be ready for the next voyage. That could be anything from attacking port towns or merchant ships to escort missions. The choice is yours, Captain. But, remember to be mindful of your reputation around the Caribbean. Be sure to pay your crew on time, and balance your good and evil deeds. It will all have an effect on who is willing to deal with you.
Being a port of a mobile game, I’m surprised that it doesn’t suffer from any annoying access timers, or forces you into purchase screens every two minutes. Although there are options for in-game purchases, it is not pay-to-win. Everything is accessible if you are willing to put the time in, and I never felt any real reason to drop my hard earn doubloons on any items. It’s always good to have them available, this is how the developers make some money after all. You can also take advantage of the daily bonuses when logging back in. The rewards are the gamble of a dice roll, with the ultimate prize of a giant emerald, which you can use to add into your own pirate skill tree.
The graphics are decent, without being mind-blowing. They do enough to make the world feel believable. This game is built using the Unity engine and doesn’t require a high-end gaming PC to run. The sound effects are simple and effective, but it’s the cheery musical tune that really puts you into a scurvy mood, but the tempo will drop to build the suspense of a battle.
If you’re the kind of person who is completely drawn into the world of pirates, sailing the seven seas in search of treasure, then The Pirate: Caribbean Hunt will certainly offer that experience, and do it well. It is no Sid Meier’s Pirates or even Risen, but if you’re craving some high seas piracy on a budget or are looking for a distraction for a couple of hours, this game comes highly recommended.
Home Net Games are now working to bring another of their mobile games to steam with Zombie Defence. And if the quality of that game matches anywhere near this latest effort, then they are on the right track to develop even more quality games to the masses in the future.
Be sure to tell us all about your pirate escapades in the comments.
Tim Pearce is a freelance journalist and contributor to PN2. Go say hi over on MeatBaitMedia!