Pirate Subs!!! Review

Did you know that pirates had submarines? Neither did we. We also didn’t know just how much fun blowing those submarines out the water could be. Thankfully, Pirate Subs!!! is here to educate us all. It’s a simple but fast-paced and incredibly addictive arcade game that will keep your swiping finger very busy.

When it comes to Pirate Subs, all you need to know is this: We don’t like them. Your only goal in the game is to destroy them all, and you have two tools to aid this task. Tapping on a sub underwater will cause an explosion that propels the sub out of the water and into the air. Then, using a swipe of the finger, you can crush the airborne sub with a torpedo, putting it out of commission for good.

It’s a simple idea, but the trick is perfecting the technique so that you can destroy as many subs as possible. There’s no end to Pirate Subs– you simply try to last as long as you can. Subs will keep coming at you in waves, some small, some big, some fast, and some slow. And you’ll also have to avoid harming the polar bears and killer whales that swim by. If you either kill an animal or let a sub get by you unharmed, you get a big red X. Once you collect three of them your session is over.

The bomb/missile combo.

Pirate Subs! has four different game modes, three of which essentially serve as difficulty levels. There’s the main mode, a much more difficult expert mode, and a slower-paced zen mode that removes the fragile wildlife from the equation. Then there’s time trial, which is almost exactly the same as the main mode except you only have one minute to blow up as many subs as possible. It’s perfect for when you only have a short amount of time to get in some gaming.

Part of what makes Pirate Subs!!! so fun are the simple but intuitive controls. It feels a bit weird at first, tossing around submarines with your fingertip, but eventually it becomes second nature and you’ll start getting into a rhythm, racking up combos for extra points. You can also thank the presentation. Seeing a sub crumple beneath your touch is incredibly satisfying, and the high-energy military theme music keeps your adrenaline levels high.

Melting ice caps aren’t the only thing polar bears worry about.

Really, the only thing we would like to see from the game is more: more modes, more types of subs, and more obstacles to deal with. While the core gameplay is very satisfying, with so little variation it could grow tiresome eventually.

Still, Pirate Subs!!! is one of those fun, challenging, and addictive arcade games that the iPhone was seemingly built for. You can pick it up and play for a few minutes at a time, but chances are you’ll dip in for another go to improve your score. And maybe another one after that. Who knew naval warfare could be so fun?

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