Time to put on the pirate costume and do your best pirate voice, A’vast me hearties…So we be playing as Pirates on the Nintendo Switch.
On second thoughts, scrap the pirate voice, other wise you wouldn’t be able to read this review. As we all know, Nintendo Switch eShop is awash with Indie titles, and the latest to join the is Pirates: All Aboard!
Sadly, we start with disappointment. There isn’t a story to accompany the title Pirates: All Aboard!. It is combat focused and driven purely on being about the pirate and ship. One plus to the game is there is a practice mode that allows you to play against some AI controlled enemies for a certain length of time. This game mode allows you to get used to the controls and sail around a reasonable sized map, and the main aim is to sink the other ships by sailing around and hitting them with the on board canons. Dotted around the map is various power-ups that you can pick up and use with the press of the control stick, but these do have a cool down period, and they can increase your chance of doing more damage or dodging attacks.
However, the real combat happens when you can grab a friend or three and set sail and try to be the best in Death Matches or Last Man Standing. Death Matches last between opponents until one of the players have been defeated three times and Last Man Standing follows its name – be the last ship still sailing.
The concept of the game sounds great from the eShop listing, sadly it isn’t executed as well as it is made out to be. Starting off with the lack of choice seems to be one issue; you only have three ships to choose from. All three ships have pros and cons over each other, be it from speed with the small boat but less health, the medium sized boat is the all rounder and the larger boat being the highest health and more fire power but lacking mobility. The multiplayer mode offers differently sized arenas – depending on what ship you used, this could a be a good or bad thing. The arenas all come with their own challenges, as they will test your skill of sailing your boat around the terrains, sometime crashing in to an island, rocks or maybe even into your opponents. Regardless of the what it is, you will take damage from what ever you hit. Ideally, it’s best to try and avoid any of the island and rock formations in the arenas.
I noticed that the bigger the arena, the more the game felt like it was dragging on and the end was never going to come around. The choice of ship and getting the better power-ups makes all the difference with the longevity of the gameplay.
If battling it out isn’t your thing, the Endless Mode might be your tankard of grogg. This is where you sail from left to right avoiding rocks, fish, and cannonballs while collecting gold coins. One advantage of the game mode is the replay value, as I don’t think we had a single level repeated in set sequence. One thing to point out in this game mode is the control sensitivity – it is stupidly sensitive. The multiplayer side of the game runs at a snail’s pace, whereas in Endless Mode we kept finding ourselves accidentally crashing into walls many times over…we had to take our shoes and socks to keep count!
The game does come with some nagging issues, like the black screen just before gameplay – it often got us thinking the game had crashed. Overall visuals don’t really make full use of the Nintendo Switch hardware. The lack of choice is a key one for us, as we like to have a good choice of items. Sadly, not in Pirates: All Aboard!.
- Overall - 2.5/102.5/10
We really wanted to like this game based on how it’s worded on the eShop, but with the issues present and the minimmal gameplay – especially if you don’t friends to do battle with, there really isn’t much for you. Although Endless mode is fun and gives you a bit of a challenge, that isn’t the focus of this game.