Cheap Shot: Embargo

“Avast ye mateys!”, “Shiver me timbers!”, and “Dead men tell no tales!”: These are just some of the exciting pirate slogans you’ll hear again and again while slowly steering your wooden wreck into oncoming cannonfire in Embargo, a naval combat game that puts the “Arr” in “Rip-off.”

Red-hot boat-on-boat action!

18th century ship battles may have been notoriously slow, but Embargo could have at least tried to make them a bit more exciting. You can tilt the device to steer, tap an icon to unfurl the sails, and fire cannons on either side of your ship using teeny tiny little action buttons.

No matter what you do, though, you’ll probably just drift along, painfully unable to trick your opponents into the right position long enough to fire your cannons. You can’t even aim the cannons precisely, which might have made a big difference.

If you do choose to part with $1.99 for this terrible-playing game, at least you’ll be able to enjoy the dramatic orchestral track that plays continually. The visuals aren’t too shabby, either, even though the interface needs a major overhaul. Most importantly, though, the ships are no fun to control, making us want to lock this game in a trunk and toss it overboard.

Editor’s Note: Cheap Shot is a new review feature where we pick a game that costs $.99 or $1.99 and give it the quick review treatment. While you won’t find a 1-4 score or our usual pros and cons, you will get a direct assessment of the game based on a one-hour playthrough. You’ll still find our full-length, regular reviews for other games.

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