If you're a subscriber to the AppSpy channel on YouTube then you'll know that I've already been hands-on with the soft-launched version of Plunder Pirates.
I enjoyed the time I spent with it, and I especially appreciated the tip-top presentation that set it apart from other strategy management games that have flooded the App Store.
Now the game is out globally I've got a chance to revisit it, a chance I've grasped with two firm hands (well, one firm hand and a hook). Is Plunder Pirates an enjoyable experience over the course of a full week of play? Together we're going to find out.First impressions
As much as I'm sure a lot of people involved with the creation of Plunder Pirates would like me to avoid using the name Clash of Clans, it's an obvious comparison.
Because this is a strategy management game. And strategy management games were popularised by Supercell's money-spinner.
You have a headquarters on an island that must be defended from invaders, and to do that you'll build defences using resources you gather over time.
You can only set in motion a couple of building actions at once, and you can train troops with their own various strengths and weaknesses to fight for you in real-time battles.
You clear rocks around your base to make room for more buildings. You expand, you compete, you conquer.
There's clearly more to Plunder Pirates than a simple case of cloning, even after just a couple of hours with the game.
But the important thing to take away from these first impressions is that if you're totally sworn off of the strategy management genre, this isn't going to change your mind.Day 3: Broadening my horizons
After a few days with the game I'm starting to see into the depths of Plunder Pirates, and discover more of what lies beneath the surface.
In addition to resource and defence structures, there's also a category simply titled buildings. In this you find all sorts of additions to your island that improve and diversify your troops and modify your general strategic approach.
To that end I've created a guild, and you should come join it! Search for the "Pocket Gamer" guild, and you'll find it no problem.
I'm yet to figure out what I can do with it, if I'm honest, except for changing my flag colours and leaving a Message of the Day, but I'm sure with time I'll learn.
In addition to exploring a giant map for treasure, sea monsters, and AI opponents, I've also spent a fair wedge of time organising my island to better suit my play style.
All the resource buildings are in one area so I can quickly collect their output, and I've begun putting up walls around the buildings I find most vital.Day 7: Guild wars
The Pocket Gamer guild has gone from strength to strength. There's 14 of us at the moment, and that number is growing every day.
Together we group funded a perk at the Blacksmith, which gave us all additional strength when attacking opponents. It lasted for 24 hours, and we kicked butt that day.
There are messages between shipmates every so often, and it feels like we're working together to see the good ship Pocket Gamer rise to the top of the leaderboards, where it belongs.
Additions and improvements to my island have been coming thick and fast. My Academy allows me to give my pirates extra skills during battles, such as more health or attack power.
I've upgraded my galleon so that I can explore even further reaches of the map, and my defences are, at the moment, quite strong.
There are some minor quibbles I could make about Plunder Pirates. It's frustrating to not have a marker that denotes a building that may receive an upgrade, for example.
It was added to Boom Beach, and it's sorely lacking here. The visuals get quite busy too, but that's mostly because they're so highly detailed, and it's a totally acceptable trade off.
At the end of my week with it, I find I'm still loving Plunder Pirates. But I'm loving it in the way that one might love a worn-in sofa, or a favourite spot in the park on a warm day - it's undeniably great, but it's very very familiar.How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below. Click here to learn about our free-to-play review policy.