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Review: Plunderland - Arrggh There Be Treasure As We're Giving Away A Copy!

July 23, 2010


Plunderland is a brand new game that presents a unique mechanic where you guide a pirate ship on the seas. As the name suggests you will be plundering treasure for Captain Peg Leg’s ghostly spirit. It’s a side scrolling sea adventure where you will face British ships, island natives, and sea monsters.


The game features its own physics engine which controls the waves and the reaction of the ships to the waves, enemy fire, and your own fire. You control your ship by tilting, and fire your cannon by dragging your finger behind and below your ship to adjust the aim. The game features three campaigns with three beginner levels, seven empire levels, and seven sea monster levels. There are also three survival levels increasing in difficult from easy to hard that feature ten waves of enemies. Every level has a certain score to beat it, and score gold as well as pieces of cod to find in the levels. As you earn treasure you can spend it to upgrade your ship.

The Good

The best aspect of Plunderland is that it’s a unique game concept with outstanding style. It’s truly the first game where you play as a pirate despite the many pirated theme apps in the App Store. You actually direct the ship, and fire cannon balls against other ships doing the same thing. The game is extremely well made so it’s easy to do, and you’ll be instantly engaged in the action. Speaking of action, the game is pirating non-stop action that will have you hooked, and just won’t let you go. You simply float along until you run into an enemy ship, and then try to fire away as quick as you can with as much accuracy as possible while trying to dodge as much as you can. You will face ships that are bigger than you, and more well equipped, but you will simply need better strategy. The goal of the game is to plunder, and the fewer shots it takes to destroy an enemy the more treasure you earn. If you keep damaging enemy ships even after they’re sunk you earn more gold, and can even find pieces of cod. The treasure and pieces of cod set up allow for replay in trying to find all the pieces of cod, and earn gold on every level. As you progress in the campaign you will face plenty of variation, as well as plenty of challenge. To deal with some of the challenge you’re going to need a bigger boat so you can replay old levels to earn more treasure to buy ship upgrades. The survival modes are plenty of fun as they’re not endless, but still a long haul where you don’t get to refresh at every port in the level set up of the campaign. Not only do you have to face enemy ships, but also sea monsters including sharks that jump on board your ship and huge sea serpents. Also as you’re sailing along you will come across structures with cannons that have one weak point you need to fire upon. It’s a little mini Angry Birds style to add some puzzle elements to the non-stop action. There are multiple upgrades to pick-up along the way including treasure, ammo upgrades, and even spirit powers. You can pick up explosive ammo that causes serious damage, and a spirit power where you can pick up a ship and rip it in half with your fingers. The game isn’t just ship warfare as little people are included whether they’re your own pirates, native islanders, or British officers. You try to keep the pirates on your ship alive as long as you can, and kill enemy shipmates as quickly as possible. If you kill all members of a ship, it can’t fire upon you which makes it easy to destroy. Even if you destroy a ship, but not the people on it they can swim to another ship or invade your ship for some nice swash buckling action. When you reach an island you can shake islanders and destroy their idols for more treasure, but be careful as they will attack. The game always plays different based on your plan of attack when dealing with the various enemies, and reacting to the physics engine. There are a number of levels you will need to play again and again to finally beat whether it’s facing a difficult enemy or earning enough treasure to pass the level. The art style is magnificent with the cartoony sea world mixed with the era of British colonialism, sea faring pirates, and sea serpents on the map. The ship battle animations are outstanding with the various cannon fire, destructions of ships, and the body crunching blood squirting of the little people. The physics engine is well done highlighted by the boat reactions from cannon fire and the waves.

The Bad

The controls do get in the way from time to time where you’re trying to fire, but the game thinks you’re trying to pick up an enemy in the water or vice versa. Also when you pick up enemies the camera zooms in and when this happens you can’t see the ship locations to fire upon them. The sounds are a little bit lacking with the same cannon sound effects and screams of the different characters. The game is somewhat short lived as it just seems to go by so quickly. In actuality you don’t realize how much time you’re spending with it, and then all of a sudden you’ve completed the whole thing. There are really only 14 levels with three survival levels, but you will replay often just to beat some levels, earn treasure to be prepared for later levels, and to collect pieces of cod and gold awards.

The Verdict

Plunderland is a wonderfully designed game in every regard that presents something entirely unique and enjoyable. The game strikes a perfect balance of fun and challenge that will have you spending tons of time with the game. The theme of the game and the wonderful art style is enough to bring anyone into the game, but the gameplay is truly the best aspect to not only love the game yourself, but tell everyone you know about it. Plunderland is a must buy for $2.99 that reinvigorates gaming on the iPhone, and reminds you what enjoying a game is all about. *To Win a promo code for Plunderland simply leave a comment below with something pirate related and/or retweet this post. There will be one winner, and to be eligible you need to leave a valid e-mail address or follow us on twitter so we can send you the code. The contest ends tonight 7/23 at 11:59 PM PDT. US iTunes accounts only. Thanks and Good Luck.

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