A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pirates of the Caribbean: Tides of War is a free-to-play game based on Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise. The app lets players become pirates, which means engaging in all kinds of piratey behavior: fighting, drinking, gambling, and stealing goods from merchant ships. Combat frequently involves cannon fire between ships, hunting sea monsters, and the occasional duel between sailors without any blood. Women occasionally show cleavage. Players can join online alliances with players from around the world, and in-game chat allows them to join or listen to ongoing conversations; inappropriate language and/or subject matter can crop up.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: TIDES OF WAR lets players join their favorite sea dog, Captain Jack Sparrow, and build their own pirate island empire in the Caribbean. You start by fortifying your own island fortress, hiring different kinds of pirates, starting farms and mines, and trading with sea captains in other ports. Then it's up to you whether you take on the Caribbean as a lone sea wolf or join a pirate alliance. Either way, this app has everything a would-be pirate could want: resource gathering, shipbuilding, hunting, fighting, researching, upgrading -- and gives it to you wrapped up in the rum-soaked kerchief of Disney's favorite sea captain.
Is it any good?
App gamers have learned to keep expectations low with movie tie-ins, but this movie-based app is more than an alternate revenue stream. For one thing, it offers a ton to do and doesn't make you pull out your wallet to enjoy it. For another, it does a great job of explaining initial gameplay concepts, helping you gain mastery over them and then introducing new ones.
The app is surprisingly sophisticated. What's most impressive is how it eases you into each new activity, making what could be a barrage of complicated information into a rising wave that's fun to ride. Between researching; upgrading ships, buildings, and equipment; crafting items; and hunting monsters or rival pirates, you could be easily lost or overwhelmed, but Pirates of the Caribbean: Tides of War gives you all the information and feedback you need. Moreover, it couches it all inside a magical Disney-ish storyline that asks you to help an amnesiac Capt. Jack get back his lost memories. This actually is the app's only weakness. At the moment, only a small portion of this tantalizing narrative is available; the rest is "coming soon." Even so, there's plenty to do, and thanks to the app's generous free-to-play setup, you don't have to be as rich as Blackbeard to play as long as you want. Previously, wannabe pirates could only dream of running away to sea; with this app -- yo ho, yo ho, this pirate life's for you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of pirates and lawbreakers in general. What makes people want to become outlaws?
Think about how entertainment companies like Disney make money. Do they sell products or feelings?
Discuss how big stars like Johnny Depp convince fans to buy movie tickets. Do you have a favorite movie star?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Pricing structure: Free (Contains optional in-game purchases.)
- Release date: May 11, 2017
- Category: Strategy Games
- Topics: Adventures, Pirates
- Size: 351.00 MB
- Publisher: JOYCITY Corp
- Version: 1.0.0
- Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 7.0 or later, Android 4.1 and up
- Last updated: February 11, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.