OMG, we were ROFL when we saw the ninja vs. pirates battles in this game! Actually, we think that particular internet meme is a bit played out, kind of like the LOLcats in Meowcenaries or the Chuck Norris jokes in Bring on the Pain. What makes OMG Pirates special is the incredible animation and old-school arcade gameplay, not the overused ninja vs. pirates premise.
In OMG Pirates! you play as a nameless ninja, who swears revenge on all eyepatched and peg-legged plunderers after your village is burned to the ground. The controls are extremely simple and approachable, and it doesn’t take long before you start unlocking new combos and special moves. Most of the moves are timing-based, and they all look very impressive.
Your ninja will dispatch these cute cartoon pirates with over-the-top violent style, slicing each one in half after a certain number of slashes. Unfortunately, after ten or fifteen minutes you’ll notice that each enemy dies in practically the same way (sliced across the waist) and most of the enemy types are just color swaps to denote that they’re tougher versions of their brethren. More enemy types would have been a treat, because we enjoyed fighting all of the riflemen, bombers, and swordsmen who stood in our way. The three boss battles in the game are also good fun.
Feel our steel, dishonorable dog!
Disappointingly, the storyline in OMG Pirates! doesn’t go too far to take you to interesting locations. The initial ninja village becomes a beach, then a ship’s deck, then a pirate hideout and bar, and finally a volcanic island. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before in The Secret of Monkey Island, and we wanted the level design to become more varied and interesting as we progressed. No traps, powerups, or puzzles serve to break up the constant hacking and slashing.
When you beat the game, you’ll unlock a hard mode and survival mode, but by then you may be all hacked and slashed out. The game’s mechanics are rock-solid, but they don’t necessarily feel better the second time through. Once is enough for this ninja/pirate adventure, and it’s a great two or three hours. Maybe in a future update some bonus missions will take the gameplay in new directions.
OMG Pirates! is short and sweet, so it’s an excellent game to show off to jealous friends and families (provided they’re not squeamish about cartoon blood). But it doesn’t go quite far enough to satisfy our deeper lust for battle, so it falls short of a Must Have game for everyone.