Pixel Piracy Review

Avast. Pixel Piracy is an indie side-scrolling real-time strategy video game with rogue-like elements, developed by Quadro Delta. In the game, players construct a pirate ship, hire and train a crew, and guide their crew toward notoriety as renowned pirates.

Pixel Piracy is from the same team that brought you Terraria and, as you can see from the gameplay video, it the same 8bit style graphics and look. Pixel Piracy has a slight twist to it, though; unlike Terraria you don’t go mining. Instead, you set out to be the best pirate of the seas, and a pixelated one at that.

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Pixel Piracy offers a pirate’s booty of customisation to your little 8bit pirate. Choose from many faces, clothes, and hats. Having created your own little 8bit pirate, we advise to play through the tutorial first as there’s a lot to learn – being a pirate isn’t easy you know! You start the game on a little boat that is all yours (me hearty). Before you even think about setting sail and trying to defeat fellow pirates you will have to gather resources and, most importantly, a crew. At the start of the game you’ll only have enough gold coins to by a single crew member.

Controlling your Pirate Captain and the crew is where things get a bit awkward. In controlling both Captain and crew simultaneously, the game takes on a twin stick mechanic.  Using the Right analogue stick to pinpoint the location to which you want to move, and Right trigger to confirm it, seems simple enough. Unfortunately, you crew moves really slowly -you will find yourself spending a lot of time waiting for your crew to join you, either on your fleet of ships or the islands you explore. It’s quite possible to travel to one of the many vendors and purchase food, rum (can’t forget the grog!) and weapons before your crew has caught up with you.

Crew members, when you have more than one, can be split into groups and set different tasks – one group left to protect your ship whilst another group is taken into battle, for example.

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This open-ended Pirate adventure is heavy on the inventory management – it’s important to keep your every-growing crew happy, fed (and supplied with grog) – and focused on an RPG mechanic that sees you building and strengthening your crew.

As you progress through the game your Pirate Level will increase as you and your crew learn new skills – as your level increases you’ll be able to do battle with more and more of your fellow pirates. Victory sees your defeated foes shipless, their precious resources captured to bolster your own. The blocks from the defeated ships are used to expand your own boat, vertically and left and right; the only limit on building is your imagination (and resources). Defeat enough Pirates and you could end up with the biggest boat of the pixel seas!

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With the pedigree of Terraria and a similar visual style we naturally had high hopes for Pixel Piracy. Sadly, the experience here falls short of Terraria (and we recognise we are measuring Pixel Piracy against a true classic).

The game employs the same visual style as Terraria (albeit with more pirates and rum) and your little pixel pirates are lovingly rendered in 8bit form. The music, too, suits the game, a comedic take on a sea shanty that, far from being irksome, is a fun listen as you build and battle.  You’ll find yourself whistling along when your favourite ditty reappears.

The game is priced at £11.99 on the Xbox Store.

Check out our gameplay video!

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Fun in short sessions, it falls some way short of its shipmate Terraria.
  • 6/10
    Overall - 6/10
6/10

Summary

Pixel Piracy is a fun game, although frustration levels rose from time to time as we stood around waiting for our painfully slow crew to catch up with us. The neat pick-up-and-play mechanics are perfect for shorter gaming sessions – something to while away 15 minutes at a time, rather than settling down for a longer session.

Pixel Piracy does suffer from a largely unflattering comparison to Terraria – the very specific Pirate setting is fun but somehow the game lacks the engaging quality that made its open-ended shipmate such a classic. Terraria fans may want to check it out, but those interested in the visual style or resource management aspects of the game would do better to pick up (the similarly priced) Terraria for a deeper and more engaging experience.

Mediocre.

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