With all the video game piracy going around these days, developer Flashpoint Games has decided that it's time to fight cannon fire with cannon fire.
Pirates! Showdown is a slick, simple strategy game that's perfect for whipping out on the bus, yet still provides gameplay that's deep enough to keep more hardcore players interested.
Show and tell
You're provided with a vertical waterway, with your towns at the bottom, and your opponent's towns at the top. By sending ships up the screen, you attempt to take out the enemy ships and capture their land.
It's all about balancing your gold intake. You get a specific amount of gold each second depending on how many towns and structures you own, and you'll need to send ships out to capture them in the first place.
You can also upgrade your existing towns to make the influx of gold more rapid. It's all classic strategy game back-and-forth, and while there's nothing particularly new here, it's the streamlined method of delivery that makes Pirates! Showdown rather masterful.
There's very little to the game's controls - the most you can do is tap to send out ships, and tap to upgrade towns - and this simplicity does wonders for keeping the action light and enjoyable.
Pirates! Showdown is centred on fighting in numbers. Rather than just sending ships out whenever you have the cash, it's about biding your time, letting the enemy sneak towards you, then launching a full-scale counter-attack to sweep through their ranks.
Pirates! Showdown is a great pick-up-and-play experience, condensing a classic strategy game formula into its simplest, most accessible form.
But it also means that there's nothing particularly unique here for those people who have already played dozens of these sorts of games. You've probably played this game before, but with a different theme.
Meanwhile, once you've mastered the basic formula for victory, you can then essentially use the very same tactics to win most levels - although, in fairness, the game does provide lots of variety in the sorts of landmarks you can capture later on in the game.
It would be nice to see a multiplayer mode - it's a concept that is begging for one-on-one action, and this would definitely round off the package nicely.
But even without it there's a lot of fun to be had with Pirates! Showdown - especially if you're a newcomer to the strategy game scene.