With a fresh approach to word puzzles, Word Pirate provides a fun experience for anyone who likes words or pirates.
Arrr, mateys. In Word Pirate, players are presented with a very unique mix of a classic word puzzle mini-game and an intricate storyline about pirates.
The game revolves around Lucy, the daughter of a wealthy trade magnate in the Caribbean, who decides to set sail on her own adventure. After she commandeers one of her father’s ships, she explores the seas and ends up fighting pirates, exploring the East India Trading Company, and learning all about the perils and excitement of life on the high seas.
Along the way, players will come into contact with pirates of all shapes and sizes, and they must be defeated to continue on with the story. This is not your typical pirate-fighting game, however. All “combat”is presented through the form of a word game. The core gameplay revolves around creating words out of a mix of jumbled letters. Players are shown nine letters and must create words of at least three letters each.
Each word that players create lands an attack on the enemy’s ship. Time is of the essence, as the enemy is constantly shooting at the player’s ship as well. The bigger the word, the stronger the attack. It takes just a couple 6-letter or 7-letter words to defeat a pirate, or a whole bunch of 3-letter and 4-letter words.
In between pirate battles, players move around a map to explore various ports and talk to other characters. At each port, there are shops where players can upgrade their ship or buy power-ups. Power-ups are mostly used for increased attack and defense power and restoring health. Players can also collect extra letters that can be used during the word battles. The power-ups are somewhat uninspired and generic. While they do add a level of depth and strategy to the game, it would have been nice to see some more different and unique power-ups to take that depth of gameplay to the next level.
One thing that is neat and unique about Word Pirate, though, is the fact that pirate-themedwords are given extra weight. That is, if players spell out “ship” or “grog,”their attack is a bit stronger than other unrelated words. By providing that incentive to spell out specific words, it makes the game a bit more intriguing and also reinforces the pirate aspect of the game.
Another great aspect of Word Pirate is the fact that there are several missions throughout the story mode. To mix things up, players are occasionally asked to guard a specific port or track down a pirate. Quests like this help to prevent any sort of monotony from going through the word battles over and over again.
The story in Word Pirate is genuinely interesting. There are a lot of puzzle and word games that have a storyline tacked on as an afterthought, but this game avoids that pitfall. It's compelling enough to keep players motivated to go through the entire game. It also doesn’t drag on, which is a big testament to the way the game mixes word puzzles and storyline together.
There are a couple of minor issues with the mechanics and design of the game. First off, there are a few scenes where a lot of text is displayed in a small text box, with a scroll bar that is kind of clunky to use. By either making the scroll bar a bit bigger, or expanding the size of the text boxes, this could have been avoided.
Also, during the word battles, players can either use the mouse to click on each letter on the screen to build their words, or type the letters on the keyboard. If players add the wrong letter by mistake, they can click on the misplaced letter to remove it. However, if they hit the backspace button, it deletes the entire word. This can be frustrating when they only want to delete the last letter of a 7-letter word. Given how important it is to spell out words as quickly as possible, this wastes precious seconds of time, and in some ways almost renders the keyboard control as useless.
All in all, though, these are minor gripes in what is one of the most refreshing and unique takes on word puzzle gameplay in what has become an otherwise very stale genre. The story mode takes a handful of hours to complete, and because of the nature of the core gameplay and the captivating story, it never feels trite or boring. Word Pirate is an excellent choice for anyone who likes word puzzle games and also has a soft spot in their hearts for swashbuckling adventure.
- Unique and fun twist on a classic word game; good music; easy to pick up and play; lots of missions keep the game interesting; captivating story
- Difficult to scroll through text boxes. Backspace deletes entire word instead of one letter. More power-ups would have been nice.