The internet loves two things: Pirates, and strategy combat games. Plunder Pirates from Rovio Stars combines war and sea-dogs, and the end result isn’t bad. Though it still feels like it’s siphoning directly from Supercell’s vein, Plunder Pirates does offer an interesting single-player campaign. That’s good news for anyone eager to see strategy combat games try for something beyond “Trash your friends’ fortresses.”

You begin the game as the captain of a rag-tag band of pirates. Your island fortress has been destroyed in a flood, and the remnants of what used to be your ship wouldn’t impress a toddler. This is no way for pirates to live.

Plunder Pirates Review

You immediately set to building up your resources. The stuff on tap should feel familiar if you’ve played Clash of Clans or any of its clones: You need gold mines, grog (which pays for pirate recruits and projects that can’t be paid for with gold), a headquarters, and a place to keep all your stuff. You also need to upgrade your resources in order to produce more gold and grog, and you need to upgrade the storehouses as well.

If this is starting to sound a bit familiar, that’s because Plunder Pirates is familiar. You deploy pirates to attack other players’ bases, which lets you rake in the gold and grog. In turn, rival pirates can pop up on your shoreline and give you a bad day.

Plunder Pirates certainly isn’t bad. It’s fine, especially if you want a combat strategy game with parrots and eye patches. but there’s no turning your back on the fact 75% of everything it offers has been done before.

That last 25% is where things get interesting, though. Plunder Pirates’ single-player campaign revolves around exploring an uncharted map. You chart a course, then send your scallywags sailing. Your rate of progress is reliant on water conditions (choppy and stormy seas take longer to sail through), but persistent sailors will gradually map landmarks, monsters, merchant ships, and rival pirate strongholds that can be invaded and conquered in old-fashioned Clash of Clans tradition.

Gradually unveiling new lands and ships is exciting, and it’s a nice change-up from the usual single-player rundown of attacking AI-controlled opponents, then defending yourself from them. That said, sailing the high seas starts to take a long time once you move out of the calm waters surrounding your home island.

Plunder Pirates Review

In fact, “waiting around” is the order of the day with Plunder Pirates, a bit more so than what we’re used to with Clash of Clans. Prices for resource and ship upgrades become sky-high quite early in the game, so unless you’re adept at looting other player pirates (and defending your own fort) with low-level buccaneers, be prepared to switch between Plunder Pirates and some other activity quite frequently unless you want to pay hard currency (gems) to finish tasks quickly.

That’s not so bad, though. As similar as Plunder Pirates is to Clash of Clans, it’s still nice to visit the seaside and occasionally blunder into the tentacles of an octopus. Plunder Pirates is a mild, pleasant brew, but you’ve tasted its kind before.

Want to get a peg leg up on the competition? Read our Plunder Pirates Tips, Cheats and Strategies.