There are few songs to be found in Pirates: All Aboard, but the ones that are there are fun, energetic and convey the concept of jovial piratry quite well. Sometimes the music feels a little too epic for the actual gameplay, but I certainly do appreciate the effort that has been invested into this aspect of the game. The tunes are crisp, clean and appear to be live recorded as opposed to being synthesized. I occasionally found myself humming the tunes to this game for a short while after which is always a good sign of a well-composed soundtrack.
Visuals and Performance
Pirates: All Aboard is by no means the kind of game that would push the Switch to its limits. Sometimes this is not a factor as even some simple games still end up being buggy, but this one is thankfully stable. I never had any bugs or crashes, and the resolution was stable in handheld mode.
Surprisingly, this is one of the few Nintendo Switch titles which supports the function of video recording. I was genuinely surprised to find it present here, and I always appreciate seeing the effort made to incorporate such functions into these games.
The Multiplayer Mode Is The Core Experience Here
Pirates: All Aboard is a game which is intended for multiplayer audiences. There are two primary modes to be found here, and one of them is indeed the multiplayer mode which pits up to four players controlling one of three different ship types. In this mode, you will sail around a circular battlefield engaging in cannon-based combat against your friends. Of the three types are two larger but slower ships with higher defenses and can shoot cannonballs from both sides but not from the front. The small ship is much faster and is capable of shooting other ships from their blind sides in the front or rear, but it is left defenseless on the sides. The main objective of this game is simply to chase down the other players and sink their ships across one of the seven maps. You can play this mode with a Death Match or Last Man Standing ruleset. These are fairly self-explanatory, so I will not delve into this too deeply here.
Periodically, you will find power ups littering the stage which you simply need to cross with your ship. These have a variety of effects from passive abilities such as one which increases your damage and active abilities which give you a special attack or movement options that can be temporarily activated by pressing the analog stick.
Gameplay Is Slow And Leaves Little Reason To Revisit
I found the gameplay to be too slow for my tastes. Two of the three ships take far too long to maneuver through the stages, and it didn’t have enough content to hold my interest for very long. Even the stages their selves didn’t offer much variety aside from general size and placement of obstacles. At least having some unlockable ships with a variety of inherent abilities and significantly better stats would have gone a long way to improving this experience.
Practice Mode Is Naught But A Small Distraction
For players who can only play this game single player, there are two options: a practice mode and Endless Run. Practice mode is essentially the same as the multiplayer mode except that you play against CPU opponents with a timer of roughly five minutes trying to take down all of the enemies or as many of them as possible until the time runs out. You have the full choice of three ships, but you are unfortunately unable to choose one of the rulesets or the stage, so there isn’t much reason to play this way. The reason to buy the game this mode is not.
Endless Mode Is Fun But Repetitive
The most entertainment I derived from this game was in the endless run mode, however there are only so many times you can avoid the same obstacles and rock formations while achieving a sense of satisfaction. In Endless Mode, you simply take control of a fast ship that sails along a vertically scrolling screen, and you must gather coins for extra points and avoid obstacles along the way. As you progress, the speed gradually increases. However, you will quickly realize that you are simply seeing the same patterns over and over again. It is fun trying to beat your highest score and the repetitiveness helps you predict how to most effectively choose your path to any given obstacle. Unfortunately, this quickly got old, and I found myself not really desiring to pursue it any further after I had broken a score of 1000 points.
*This review was written by Brian Myers for switchwatch.co.uk.
After 20 minutes of playing, I had seen everything Pirates: All Aboard had to offer. The content felt a little lax, and I would not envision myself paying $6 for two repetitive game modes. The game was previously on sale for $3, and I find that to be a much fairer price for what you get, so if you have any intention of buying this game, I would recommend waiting another similar sale occurs.
* A review copy of Pirates: All Aboard was provided to Switchwatch by Qubic Games.
Fun and Whimsical Music
Quickly Gets Repetitive
Very Little Meaningful Content