Pixel Piracy is a single-player game which appealed to me greatly, here is exactly why. The game features nice, simple retro graphics as well as truly unique gameplay, and Pirates. Initially, I thought the game I would be getting myself into would be a WASD style platformer, but I could not have been more wrong.

When booting up Pixel Piracy you are first introduced to a simple menu consisting of resolution settings that beg you to select either the ‘Normal’ or ‘Normal+Vsync’ settings. Sure, these are limited options, but it is important to remember the game is in an early access state (Version 0.8.5 to be exact). It is close to release, but Quadro Delta (the developers) are consistent with updates and have plenty planned for the title.

The game looked pretty confusing at first, so I checked out the tutorial section for it, which was lackluster to say the least. I was completely lost but clicked through the various images shown below, but they just confused me even more. For a game like Pixel Piracy, real interaction is needed, so a video or playable tutorial would have worked wonders, but once again this could be due to the title’s current state.

I did try playing straight away without digging much further into the tutorials, but I got completely murdered, so I ended up watching a couple of videos which helped me a great deal to understand the game’s mechanics. After studying these videos my second attempt went brilliantly and the charm of Pixel Piracy began to shine through thanks to its story that is full of woe, tragedy, and lots of poo.


Before playing Pixel Piracy a mode must be chosen, so you must decide between Princess Mode, Hardcore Mode, and Arena mode. Hardcore Mode basically turns the game into a real harsh roguelike title. You will lose your entire save at death, and everything that goes with it, so use extreme caution while playing if you opt for this challenging mode. Arena mode on the other hand is pretty much what it says; you fight various enemies and work your way up the tournament ladder earning gold and more crew mates as you go. I personally found this mode a little boring because you have no real control over fights, but I do see the appeal for others. I went with Princess Mode, which allowed me to continue if I died and not lose everything, so the description of the mode may be harsh on the ego, but when I am getting first acquainted with a game, it feels pretty silly to just jump in blind.

There is a fair amount of customization in Pixel Piracy, not just customization of the avatar which you play, but a few questions asked beforehand to determine the things around you. Perhaps it was due to the early access nature of the game, but besides from the sword I was given for the question “How do you remember your father”, nothing else seemed to stick out as different based on the other questions and answers I had chosen. With a basic understanding of the game gleaned from my time with Princess Mode I finally set my game to normal to provide a fair, but challenging experience, and then made my character in my own image. Angry O’s journey into Buddhingtah was soon to begin!

For a 2D game, the atmosphere is surprisingly great

I started off on an island filled with pirates, 50g (gold), and nothing but a sword which would later be given to a pirate friend. My first mission entailed sailing somewhere in my ready-made watercraft to go plunder some treasure! I found myself arriving at an island on my poop filled vessel, and killed all its inhabitants and looted their dead bodies. It felt so satisfying to be that much of a cruel malevolent sea dog and get away with it! I took my treasure (which included a diaper I could wear to reduce the poop on my ship) and made my merry way back to my home island to sell my loot.

First there was one

Upon returning to the home island I had gathered enough money to purchase a new pirate and a new skill for said pirate. Floy was my best friend, and despite his silly hair, my love for him grew exponentially over time. He was the chief cleaner of poo, and a few hours later eventually became my student who would one day turn out like the great Angry O of Buddingtah. Floy and I sailed across many an ocean hoping to find great wealth and more, and that we did, but the game was getting increasingly difficult, so if we did not up our game soon, not only would I lose Floy, but we would starve too.

Then there was two.

Pixel Piracy features two very different bars excluding health, which are of paramount importance to the title. The first bar to focus on is morale; this is practically a good indication of how your pirate is feeling. A green face above the bar signifies that the pirate is good to go, a yellow one means he/she isn’t feeling so hot, and a red face requires immediate action. Morale reduces over time and can be raised by giving your crew items, drinking in taverns, paying a salary, or eating. The last bar is of great importance, even more so than the Morale meter. Hunger should always be high up, as not only can it result in death, but a troublesome Hunger meter also reduces moral. With the bond between Moral and Hunger your pirate and his mates should always have something to feast on, or your crew will not enjoy working for you whatsoever.

I own this island ya scurvy dogs!

After traveling with Floy for a bit it became clear to me that a new mate was needed, so I hired Randall Harlow for the purpose of cooking to help us out. I taught myself how to fish and gave Floy and Randall the ability to cook said fish. Our food supply was pretty much endless, so we had a good thing going, and it was clear if we kept our synergy up, we would soon be ruling the high seas. I did actually end up hiring someone else but he died in a great battle for a huge craft, but he annoyed me anyway so it was no great loss, and we got the ship.

As you sale across the vast ocean you will see little messages pop up with amusing quips from the team of pirates sailing with you, which does keep the game interesting despite the repetition of them. Quotes like, “I think I like you Angry O”, go a long way for a captain like Angry O, even if there’s a bit of trepidation in the quote’s message.

Another great feature of the game is being able to take over other pirate ships, or to plunder them from a safe distance. Plundering other ships makes it so there’s no need to build a ship from scratch. If you sail enough and build up your highly customizable strengths, you can soon find yourself captaining a powerful ship.

And his army grew ever stronger.

I had planned to play across more of the game but in the latest update to Pixel Piracy my save file was obliterated, and much to my disappointment, was subsequently sent to Davy Jones’ locker. The patch did fix some glaring issues for me including not being able to look up and down, and the crew not being able to pick up loot, so it is not all bad, so I will most certainly be returning to Pixel Piracy. I did thoroughly enjoyed all it had to offer, Early Access issues or otherwise.


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Tags : First ImpressionsHands-on PreviewPiratesroguelikeRPGSteam Early Access
Owen Hibbert

The author Owen Hibbert

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