Sid Meier's Pirates! for iPad

Classic swashbuckling adventure fun and engaging on iPad.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The touchscreen interface works well in this game, as you simply tap to move your ship, tap to talk with people and swipe to sword fight. It's more of a thinking game than one that requires quick reflexes (for the most part) so the 9.7-inch touchscreen works well for this game.


The game has some animated violence between pirate ships (firing cannons) and between captains (sword fights). There is no blood, gore, or death seen in the game.


Many of the barmaids are wearing sexy, tight-fitting corsets, which makes their cleavage look very, er, pronounced. Perhaps this was the fashion of the day. Woman can also flirt with your character with some mildly suggestive dialogue.


There isn't any profanity, but some might not like the governors putting down the others (e.g. the British saying "slimy French" or "evil Spanish").


There is a "More 2K Games" option from the main screen, which takes you to the 2K Mobile website. One of the apps advertised here is a Duke Nukem soundboard.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There are references to alcohol and tobacco, plus a lot of the activity takes place in a tavern (such as accepting new missions, hiring crew, etc.). The character doesn't consume any alcohol when in the tavern, though.

Privacy & safety

Minor privacy concerns. Players can opt in to Apple’s Game Center to track scores and achievements, and for some games, challenge friends. With Game Center, players can send and receive friend requests using an email address or Game Center nickname, revealing the first and last name associated with each party’s Apple ID and, in the case of email requests, the sender’s email address.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Sid Meier's Pirates! for iPad is a strategy and simulation game first and action game second, therefore it might not appeal to young kids intrigued by the pirates theme. Also making it less young-kid-friendly are the sword fights, women dressed suggestively, and references to alcohol and tobacco.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Is it any good?


Absolutely. SID MEIER'S PIRATES!, the classic swashbuckling adventure from 1987, has been reborn on the iPad. Once again you set sail as a 17th-century pirate captain in the Caribbean. You'll hire crew and take on daring missions, engage in fierce naval battles, search for treasure, and plunder fortified ports. And what pirate game would be complete without sword duels with other captains?

But it's the deep economic and political elements of the game that'll likely keep you glued to the screen. While your pirate captain ages and gains experience and possessions, you can view the Status screen at any time for current standings, such as age, health, career status, skills, crew happiness, and more. Even if you’ve never heard of the original Sid Meier’s Pirates!, this iPad version features an engaging story, pick-up-and-play accessibility, and best of all, enjoyable gameplay (with high replayability) that lets you approach the adventure however you want.

App details

Release date:July 21, 2011
Category:Adventure Games
Size:436.00 MB
Publisher:2K Games
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.2 or later

This review of Sid Meier's Pirates! for iPad was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass