Sid Meier's Pirates! for iPad

App review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Sid Meier's Pirates! for iPad App Poster Image
Classic swashbuckling adventure fun and engaging on iPad.

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A lot or a little?

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

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.

What 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.

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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

  • Device: iPad
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release date: July 21, 2011
  • Category: Adventure Games
  • Size: 436.00 MB
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Version: 1.0.4
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.2 or later
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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