Tradewinds 2
| Tradewinds 2

Aside from the cowboy, the most grossly under-represented semi-fictitious archetype from the past has to be the pirate. Despite everybody loving legendary tales of plundered treasure, talking parrots, missing eyes and prosthetic limbs, rarely do bearded men of the sea take starring roles in games, unless they're tied to a certain Johnny Depp movie. (Or, admittedly, if you go back to the LucasArts adventures of yesteryear.)

Still, the current darring-do of old Jack Sparrow may provide Tradewinds 2 (itself a disguised version of a well-loved original, albeit in this case a previously existing PC casual game) a fighting chance of impressing mobile owners thirsty for a swig of rum and a case of the scurvy.

They will have to be hardy sorts though, as it's initially easy to cast it aside as only providing a shallow pool of nautically-themed playability. And certainly, it's a little basic graphically, while first impressions may suggest it'll be about as solid as wood-wormed decking.

Yet, after about ten minutes you start to get the feeling there's more depth to Tradewinds 2 than you first imagined. The game sees you hopping from port to port, chatting with barkeepers and governors, gathering objectives and carrying out tasks for cash rewards.

Once you set about your seafaring tasks, however, the gameplay can largely be divided into two elements.

In traversing the remotely populated map screen, you're randomly forced into battles with other pirate ships. While your upgradeable cannons pummel away at the enemy, tapping various numeric buttons sends over more powerful artillery that's pricey to replace but extremely effective. While this basic model lacks real substance, it makes for a certain simplistic fun.

Aside from warring, you also need to trade in goods, buying and selling and taking advantage of bank interest rates and moneylenders. Again, things are straightforward and easy to grasp, and it's this simplicity that gives Tradewinds 2 its appeal. While there are plenty of engrossing, deep mobile strategy games available for those with time on their hands, there are fewer suited to quick bouts on the bus or train.

There's also the fact that the dialogue in Tradewinds 2, while far from revolutionary, is actually quite enchanting. Always tongue-in-cheek, regularly self-deprecating, and even slightly saucy at times, when combined with the alluring naivety of the graphics it makes it hard not to warm to the whole experience.

Of course, if you're looking for the next big mobile strategy release, you're not going to find it here. But if you just fancy dipping your toes into some light strategy, or losing yourself in an uncomplicated affair, the high-seas and lowly crew members of Tradewinds 2 could be your perfect mate.

Tradewinds 2

While Tradewinds 2 has few hallmarks of an innovative strategy game, you might be surprised by how hard it is to put down this intuitive trade and combat game
Will Freeman
Will Freeman
Will Freeman is the former editor of trade publication Develop, having also written for the likes of The Guardian and The Observer.