Like a lot of people, a life of piracy has always appealed to me. Swaggering around, drunk on rum, firing cannons at merchant ships and then robbing all of their stuff. There's a romance to it, mainly from centuries of stories that made the whole thing sound magical.

But if Tempest is anything to go by, piracy was actually a bit of a drudge. In this sea-faring action RPG you'll spend a lot of time bobbing around on the ocean feeling lonely. And then you'll see some shoreline fortifications and they'll blow you up.

It's another App Store RPG that mistakes size for scope, and it pays for it in the worst ways. You won't be singing jolly piratical drinking songs, instead you'll be mumbling to yourself about how you wish you'd just die of scurvy already.

Salty sea dogs

The game starts with a pitched sea battle. You tap a button to fire your cannons, line up your shots, and then get eaten by a giant, multi-tentacled sea monster.

Luckily you survive, and set out to take vengeance on the squid-thing. Because everyone knows that taking vengeance on animals always ends really, really well.

The game walks you through all the mechanics you're going to need. And it walks you through them very slowly. Which is fitting, because everything in the game moves very slowly.

You seemingly spend all your time on your ship. You'll stop off at ports, get a letter from a friend, then set sail again atop the briny deep.

Fights happen while you're on the game map, and you can tap a button to take control of them. You probably won't though, because they're not very interesting. There's a lack of tactics here that makes the whole experience feel decidedly flat.

You sort of swoop around the sea, trying to target your foe while staying out of their way. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Most of the time a battle will finish and you'll make a sound somewhere between a sigh and an “eh”.

Then you'll get another letter, go to another part of the map, and do the same thing. A game that gets repetitive in the first few minutes really isn't one that's going to get a recommendation here.

Down to the depths

And then there's the cost. This isn't a cheap game. And while it's polished in some areas, there are annoyances too. It chugs sometimes, and there are spelling and grammar mistakes that smack of a lack of shine.

Tempest wants to be a storm at sea, all bluster and noise and chaos. Instead it's a lot like standing in a cold puddle without any shoes on, while small children throw rocks at you.