Parents' Guide to

Tortuga - A Pirate's Tale

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Set sail on a course to become a pirate legend.

Tortuga - A Pirate's Tale packshot

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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Yo ho, yo ho -- Is a pirate's life for you? If you don't mind superfluous text and an abundance of micromanagement sound appealing, then Tortuga – A Pirate's Tale might fill your sails. Who would have thought that being a 17th Century pirate took so much administrative work? Between recruiting new deckhands with booze, getting information from sources with booze, and boosting the morale of your crew with a cut of your profits and, you guessed it, a few more rounds of booze, it's hard not to think living the life of a buccaneer had more to do with paying off a monstrous bar tab than anything else. Then there's the matter of dragging yourself from the local tavern over to the Shipmaster where you'll drop even more coin just to keep your fleet from springing a leak. If you have anything left, you'll need to invest in a few extra tricks for your ships' arsenal. After all, it's hard to strike fear into the trade convoys by taking them on in a dinghy. Finally, before raising anchor, you'll need to barter with your own crew, making grandiose promises of loot and plunder just to make sure they vote you back to Captain for another voyage, instead of dumping you overboard as chum for the sharks.

While a lot of the game involves the minutia of micromanagement in port, eventually you do get to take to the wide open seas. Sailing your ship is a simple and oddly relaxing experience. Once you find a suitable target, though, it's time to raise your flag and dive into some ship-to-ship naval warfare. These turn-based ship-to-ship battles are where Tortuga finds its groove. It's a lot of fun to move your fleet of ships around, jockeying for position and lining up for those perfect broadside attacks. There's a lot of strategic thinking involved too. Do you lob a volley of shrapnel to shred the enemy's sails, gaining a movement advantage? Do you charge head-on at ramming speed, staying out of their cannons' line of fire? Or maybe you sit back and let your foes sail into a well-positioned trap? There are lots of options available, especially when you use the environment to your further advantage. Unfortunately, as much fun as the battle are, they're often over as quickly as they begin. This usually leaves players working their way back to the nearest port and starting the cycle all over again singing, "Yo ho, yo ho! It's administrative work for me."

Game Details

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