Sid Meier’s Pirates! for iPad

Sid Meier’s Pirates! for iPad

Take to the high seas as an old classic sails into its new home

While iDevices are known for their revivals of classic games, this isn’t the 1987 edition of Sid Meier’s Pirates! that you may remember, but the lesser known 2004 remake. The app features much better visuals than the original and it retains the gameplay that made Meier’s simulation so popular to begin with.

For those who’ve never played Pirates!, expect a deep and varied experience that’s initially overwhelming, but proves to be fun and compelling. It essentially gives you the entire Caribbean to explore and conquer by sailing around, trading with the islands you reach, recruiting crew members, battling other ships and invading settlements. In practice, this means a lot of different mini-games, the highlight of which is the land battles. Massively improved for the remake, these turn-based sections are especially well suited to the iPad format and the careful, thoughtful way in which touchscreen games can be played.

There’s also a new mini-game in which you can romance the governor’s daughter by dancing with her, each piece of footwork gaining you favour with the heiress of your dreams… assuming you’ve earned a high enough rank and bought enough smart clothes to win an invitation to the dance in the first place.

The real brilliance of Pirates! is that it’s entirely up to you whether you indulge in all the aspects of its world or just pick bits and pieces to do. The original was a true pioneer, offering you a seemingly infinite number of possibilities to play with, and this update retains that, while also making it perfectly palatable and playable on the iPad.

Rated 5 out of 5

As fun as it was in 2004 (and 1987), Pirates! feels right at home on iPad.