Pirate Games that place buccaneering and mercantilism firmly at the forefront have become a bit niche as of late. However, with Johnny Depp intent on resurrecting everyone’s favourite swashbuckler that we love to hate every other year or so in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, why not whet your appetite with these pirate games?
Here are IGCritic’s 10 best pirate games. Those few that will have you acclimatising to your new sea legs in no time, feeling the wind in your hair and breeze in your face as you do so.
10. Cloud Pirates
An intense and thrilling squad combat game which is free-to-play, Cloud Pirates (as its name suggests) forgoes the ocean and seas for the wind and skies. Simply choose your teammates & airships and set sail for the clouds. A gorgeous 3D art-style and tonnes of customisation options await you captain! Having just released last year, there’s still time to jump on board for one of the best pirate games out there to get in to today.
9. Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse
This specific pirate game might not be fitting for everyone due to its more playful art style and it being a lot less serious than what many hope to see in a pirate game. Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is a sweet and fun 2D side-scrolling platformer reminiscent of games such as Super Mario World and that blue guy, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse was the last game in developer Wayforward’s underappreciated series to make full use of a pixelated art-style, and the game is more gorgeous for it. Half genie Shantae is tasked to once again tasked to save sequin land from the forces of evil, this time against the pirate master. This entry’s pirate them ensures that there are many islands to explore, letting Shantae discover whether or not a pirate life is for her.
8. Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty
What do you get when you take everyone’s favourite intergalactic Lombax and robot buddy and fuse them with a journey of sailing the seven star systems rather than seas? You get Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty of course, the short downloadable platforming adventure and second part of the Future series that is often overlooked. With the help of space smugglers and Rusty Pete, you’ll guide Ratchet through underground caves and darkwater coves in an effort to realign with your trusty companion.
7. Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure
A loveable pirate duo you wouldn’t want to come across in the heat of maritime battle Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure was one of the original Wii’s short-lived adventure pirate games that simply bursts style as well as humour. As aspiring pirate Zack and his monkey companion Wiki, you’ll search through several locations and islands with the help of pirate friends “the sea rabbits” all in an effort to be the greatest pirate that has ever lived.
6. Risen 2: Dark Waters
Sticking closely to Caribbean tropics you’d traditionally expect to see in a pirate game but also injecting a fantastical tough, Risen 2: Dark Waters successfully built up the mechanics of its predecessor to make for a solid pick. It’s a third person RPG at heart, letting you build up your character’s skills, gear, and abilities and explore the in-game islands and oceans in order to do so. Whether trudging through dark caves or imposing temples, Risen 2: Dark Waters will have you laughing as well as searching for buried treasure.
5. Lego Pirates of the Caribbean
Say what you will about Lego games, but they have the unfathomable ability to take any license or movie property and make it fun to play with all the family. Lego Pirates of the Caribbean while by no means ground breaking, harmlessly lets you work your way through each of the four movies, building bricks and unearthing minikits along the way. Lego Pirates of the Caribbean was one of the last in the Lego series to make use of mime, relying on character motions to keep things fresh, and Lego Pirates of the Caribbean is all the more charming and enjoyable for it.
4. Tropico 2: Pirate Cove
Similar to experiences you might see in other construction and management simulation games such as Civilization (you may have heard of it), the Tropico series is one that still continues to this day, tasking players to stay in power as the president of an island whilst keeping political factions at bay. The Tropico series highlight has to be 2003’s Tropico 2: Pirate Cove which introduced a landlubbing lick of paint to the island management gameplay loop, requiring you to keep all the pirate inhabitants happy as the pirate king, and stealing their treasure when the opportunity presents itself.
3. The Secret of Monkey Island
A PC adventure pirate game in its purest form where you play as an awkward teenager named Guybrush Threepwood. The Secret of Monkey Island sets you on a path that will have you pointing and clicking your way to buried treasure in no time. Released way back in 1990, you can expect the game won’t be holding your hand, instead you’ll find yourself scratching your head often and chuckling at its witty humour and tone. This pirate may not be bloodthirsty but does have a knack for questing, and if doing things old-school isn’t quite your thing there’s always The Secret of Monkey Island 2009 Remaster.
2. Sid Meier’s Pirates!
Having been re-released more times than you can shake a stick at, if you haven’t already taken the 2004 version Sid Meier’s Pirates for a spin then shame on you, it’s widely touted as one of the most in-depth pirate experiences out there. An action strategy game that leaves no stone unturned, Sid Meier’s Pirates tasks you to manage various pirate-themed activities to help you facilitate your own style of play whether it’s through sailing, trading, or capturing as many ships as possible.
1. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
It was going to be a recipe for success from the very start, pirates + assassins = fun! Successfully innovating upon the ship combat of Assassin’s Creed 3, Black Flag integrated systems we’d originally seen in Far Cry except this time challenged you to explore anywhere on your trusty ship the Jackdaw. Whether it was when firing the cannon’s in the hope of raiding a man-of-war or simply sailing across the oceans whilst singing some annoyingly catchy sea shanties, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a highlight of the series for many.
Unfortunately there are not too many great pirate games out there with the seriousness of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag or Sid Meier’s Pirates but we can hope that the future will hold something similar.