Crimson: Steam Pirates

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Crimson: Steam Pirates App Poster Image
Well-done pirate app most appropriate for teens and up.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The basic concept of the game is easy to grasp, and the game offers a good tutorial for users, but you'll need strong strategic skills to conquer later missions. 

Violence

As a pirate sailing the high seas, you'll constantly be battling other ships. The battles are shown from a top-down view, though, as ships fire upon each other. 

Sex

The women pirates (pictures of human models) are shown in cleavage-bearing, tight fitting outfits. The captain talks of playing a game of strip poker with one woman, though nothing is shown. 

Language
Consumerism

The game ships free, but only offers a single chapter of eight missions. Other chapters are available via in-app purchase for $2 each. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crimson: Steam Pirates is a high-seas adventure that requires strategic skills and thinking. It also features plenty of epic sea battles between ships, but the violence is seen from a birds-eye view and not graphic. The game does feature suggestive dialogue and pictures of human women in cleavage-enhancing pirate outfits, along with some ribald humor. And in-app purchases are encouraged as the game offers a short taste of levels, then requires you to pay for future chapters. 

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Is it any good?

Naval battles, for the most part, really haven't been done well on the iPad, but CRIMSON: STEAM PIRATES is a wonderful exception to that rule, offering one of the most polished, surprising adventures to hit the app store in a long time. The game deftly balances story and gameplay and throws in a number of surprises to keep players engaged.

Taking a page from Sid Meier's Pirates (the only other stellar pirate game app), the game uses a top-down view of the sea battles, but also folds in ship boardings and a local multiplayer mode. It's the story that's the real surprise, though. Instead of being an afterthought that's not worth your time, it's funny and thrilling. Having to pay for extra chapters is a bit frustrating, as it feels like there could be two versions of this game -- a free a la carte one and a premium one with all content unlocked -- but that's quibbling. Crimson has become the must-have app for strategy fans, assuming they're not too young. 

App details

For kids who love pirates

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