Assassin's Creed Pirates has the old-school swagger of a game that doesn't really care about reality.
It might occasionally drizzle some historical facts around its swashbuckling subject matter, but the core of the game is so chock full of nonsense that you'll barely even notice.
It's far too busy letting you dodge cannonballs and sail around on the breath of an infinite and ever-following wind, while the wooden wreckage of another destroyed ship instantly disappears to the bottom of the shiny sea.
It is, in short, a stupid game. But it's stupid in most of the right ways, and its flagrant disregard for anything resembling common sense makes for an experience that, while repetitive and basically meaningless, will keep you entertained.
You wouldn't steal a galleon
If you're expecting a mobile version of everyone's favourite free-running clumsy murder simulator then you're going to be upset. The game only has eyes, and legs, for the sea, and any time you're not floating on the briny deep you're in a cartoony cut scene.
You play as a salty sea dog called Alonzo who, for some inexplicable reason, is given his own ship by a notorious pirate called La Buse. Alonzo is then left to pillage and plunder as he, and you, see fit.
The flimsy story wraps around Assassin's Creed's bibbly-nonsense sci-fi canon with little effort at all, and is happy to leave you in the past with a ship, some cannons, and an overwhelming desire to nick stuff.
Your ship, which you can upgrade with perks, handles a bit like a bumper car. You tap a button to make it go, then tap the same button again to make it go a bit faster. Tap another button to slow down, and tap it again to chuck out the anchor and stop.
Swiping a finger around the lower half of the screen turns your ship. And a spritely vessel it is too, happy to pootle around with little-to-no man handling required.
Most of the time you don't even have to bother with steering at all. Just tap on the map in the bottom left corner and you can draw a path to your destination and nip there in a matter of seconds.
There are a series of quests and challenges to complete on the map, and when you've done enough to reach a high enough level, you can move on to the next chunk of the map and the next set of challenges.
Most of them involve combat in one way or another. And most of the combat involves waiting, as you wait for your invisible crew to ram cannonballs into your weapons.
Meanwhile, the opposing crew is doing the same, and when they're ready you'll need to tap some dodge buttons to shift your ship a few feet to the left or right and avoid the hail of their fire.
It's beyond silly that you can do this, but it also provides some of the best moments of the game. Especially when there's a clock ticking down and you know another good dodge will bag you a special spider weapon that will muck up your foe's weapons and let you have a pop at them.
Other missions involve racing through checkpoints, stealing treasure for a mysterious monk, and sneaking past patrolling vessels to attack a moored ship and nick all of its shiny things. Yes. You have a sneaky ship.
Assassin's Creed Pirates, then, is a game that doesn't have much to do with Assassin's Creed, or really that much to do with pirates. Or even reality. It's a big wobbling jelly of make-believe, and special magic cabin boys who make your ship go faster.
For all of its flights of fancy, though, it makes for a reasonably entertaining blockbuster romp. There's nothing filling here, but as a quick snack of swashing, buckling, sterling sea shanty sing-a-longs, and ship-on-ship violence, it's worth a look.
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