It’s hard to get too excited about a match-3 game in this day and age. Scurvy Scallywags, however, refines what makes games like these so addictive, by tweaking the gameplay formula, and adding pirates to the mix. The story is entertaining, the game is fun, and even the in-app purchases are unobtrusive. All of these things factor into a pretty flawless experience.
Your pirates’ journey consists of traveling to different islands in search of fame, fortune, and the lyrics to the Ultimate Sea Shanty. The exploration of sites on the islands take place on a game board, and if by chance you’ve played a match-3 puzzle game at any point over the years, this will feel very familiar.
The unique twist here is that your pirate is also on the board. The game board is where all of the treasure (or junk) collecting occurs, and as you match items together your pirate will also move around the board. As you play, the board shifts in the direction of your last item match, which adds a nice bit of strategy. During exploration you’ll encounter numerous enemies that you can either run away from, or fight using your fists or one of the many power-ups such as a blunderbuss to attack from a distance.
As you clear each game board, you’ll gain experience. When you reach a new level you receive a point that you can place into one of five statistical categories: critical damage, dodging, sword power, gold value, and overall attack power (which affects both your sword and ranged weapons). You’ll also have the opportunity to purchase a new skill, whether it’s to escape from battle and return to the island you’re currently on or the ability to swap any two pieces on the game board even if they don’t match.
These power ups have a limited number of uses and a recharge time, so you’ll need to be smart about utilizing them. Skills can be swapped at any time while on the map screen, and can also be purchased from the in game store, where you can also buy clothing, sell off your junk, or build a new boat to help boost your pirates stats.
Scurvy Scallywags is the type of game where even though you’ve probably played it before in some other form, you would really be missing out if you didn’t give it a try. With iCloud support so you can take your game anywhere, randomly generated islands, more hats, shirts, and swords then you’ll know what to do with, this is a game that I’ll be playing long after I’ve finished the main game, and that’s not even counting the side quests. So create your pirate and build your boat, captain– you have some exploring to do.