Puzzle Pirates (2003)

Day #02

I be pick’n me pirate. Yar or something, I guess.

Before Login

My previous day in Puzzle Pirates was underwhelming. Lots of generic puzzle games that weren’t terrible but definitely didn’t provide enough entertainment value to justify my time. It played very much like something I’d expect on a casual games site, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for someone seeking such an experience, but definitely is out of alignment with someone seeking a classic MMO experience. Is there a story here? Not sure. If there is, I haven’t found it.

GOAL: To complete the initial missions and hopefully start some sort of story.

Actual Cost of Playing

Puzzle pirates is free-to-play with a cash shop. The cash shop uses a currency called doubloons. Here’s the breakdown of how much doubloons cost:

Not sure how much items cost yet, but I’ll take a look tomorrow. There’s nothing I’ve needed yet, but some of the cash shop items are available for gold. The gold price for the cheapest pets were in the 75,000 gold and up range and given I’ve only made 924 gold in two hours of playing — it seems to be these items are geared toward long time players or those willing to hand over real money. Nothing appeared to be explicitly pay-to-win but further investigation is necessary to determine whether or not that is actually true.

Want to advance past a certain rank? Or take part in certain content? You’ll have to subscribe. Subscription costs are as follows:

$10 per month seems a bit high for this game but it’s also a bit unique as a pirate-themed puzzle MMO with a few RPG elements thrown in. I won’t be subscribing unless I discover something much better than I have so far, which is the same basic puzzle games I could play elsewhere.

Housing & Pets

You can obtain a house and pet for relatively cheap when you start the game. Sure, it’s a pet rat, a bed made out of trash, and the house itself is a slum studio apartment, but it’s better than nothing. You can customize the house, which might end up being the most enjoyable part of this game if I end up with enough gold to buy anything to decorate it.

Big Chicken the rat, some old newspapers for a bed, and a random crate — in a one room slum apartment. Being a pirate sure isn’t easy these days.

More Gameplay

I was awarded so little swords as pieces in this round that even the most skilled player would have been unlikely to do much.

These puzzle games appear to rely heavily on RNG in a way that’s not obscured. Sure — games in general rely on RNG in the code — but good games tend to obfuscate the RNG so that the gameplay feels more dynamic and skill-based. Not here, unless there was something I was missing which is a possibility. Had I received a fair number of swords, this puzzle would have been at least moderately enjoyable. As is — not so much.

This game appeared to be a bit more fair and was fun for a few minutes. The frequent pauses in gameplay to inform you how your obviously computer AI crew mates are doing was unnecessary, but perhaps that mechanic has more relevance later in the game.

Reflection on Today’s Experience

I really don’t like this game so far. The pirate theme is fine. The graphics are good enough. The puzzle games aren’t bad. The housing feature is okay. When all of the mediocre-to-above average components are added together, the resultant game doesn’t become greater than the sum of it’s parts. There’s an audience for this style of casual MMO and if I had long-time friends playing this with me, I’m sure my opinion would be much different.

I am curious how much better this game is if you bring friends along, so I will bring Aun Meg (my beautiful wife who tolerates these games to spend time with me) along to see if the experience is any better. If it doesn’t improve, I might break my typical approach of playing blind and look up how much the content changes later in game and if it doesn’t change much, I might move on to a different game much earlier than expected.

This game definitely isn’t going to win over most people who aren’t already fans of puzzle games and casual gaming communities.

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