PlunderNauts

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
PlunderNauts App Poster Image
Space-themed saga pokes fun at pirates; cartoon violence.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

The game forces you to maneuver your ship to get into firing position. This takes a while to learn and is never intuitive. The game's difficulty doesn't increase at an unreasonable rate, though. 

Violence

You'll fight in a series of space battles but always ship to ship. There's no blood or person-to-person combat. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism

The game uses an energy system, meaning there's a greater temptation to buy credits as you play, so your session isn't interrupted. In-app purchases range from $0.99 to $19.99.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know PlunderNauts is a pirate-themed action game that blends science fiction with the eye-patched scourge of the sea. The game is a series of battles, but they're done ship to ship and in cartoonish style, so the violence is minimal. Parents should be aware that the game promotes in-app purchases semi-aggressively.

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What's it about?

Players travel from star system to star system in a hunt for treasure, battling new ships almost every time. Movement on the battlefield is done by drawing lines on-screen, while battle is engaged by tapping on enemies when they're within range. Players can choose the weapons and extras they want on each ship -- and where they want to position those. Enemies must be on a specific side of your vessel for you to be able to fire upon them, meaning players will have to constantly maneuver their ships.

Is it any good?

PLUNDERNAUTS doesn't take itself too seriously, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to take its gameplay too seriously either. The game pokes fun at pirates and has a good space setting (and gorgeous art), but it's hamstrung by a few fatal flaws. Chief among them is one hampering the most common gameplay mechanic: moving your ship. Drawing lines on-screen gets old fast -- and distracts you from battle. Ships move slowly, so any sense of excitement is quickly muted as well. 

Adding to this is the game's use of an energy system, meaning you'll have to stop playing after a relatively short period and wait for your ship's energy to recharge -- or pay to have it done automatically. It's not a game that deserves to go to Davy Jones' locker, but it won't rule the vacuums of space anytime soon. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it is about pirates that makes them such an appealing theme in media.

  • Families also can talk about in-app purchases and whether it's OK to make them when playing PlunderNauts.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
  • Pricing structure: Free (In-app purchases range from $.99 to $19.99.)
  • Release date: June 19, 2014
  • Category: Action Games
  • Topics: Pirates
  • Size: 97.10 MB
  • Publisher: Blackflip Studios
  • Version: 1.3.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later

Themes & Topics

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