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iPhone  header logo

Pirate's Treasure

For: iPhone

A shiny thing

Product: Pirate's Treasure | Developer: GameLab | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Pirate's Treasure iPhone, thumbnail 1
Twin-stick shooters are the first-person shooters of the touchscreen world. Play one and you've played them all.

Not only to twin-stick shooters involve the same sort of gameplay as first-person shooters, with endless streams of enemies to kill, but the control method is also as close as the iPhone gets to the classic mouse and keyboard combo.

Moving one way and firing rockets or laser bolts the other becomes as second nature. You're less concerned about what's immediately happening around you - instead, you look for future alerts, scanning the environment for new enemies.

At least, that's how I ended up playing Pirate's Treasure, GameLab's well-presented twin-stick shooter.

On the rocks

Unlike other shooters that offer endless survival, like Minigore, or challenge you with set levelsĀ as in the case with Guerrilla Bob, Pirate's Treasure breaks down into 50 locked challenges. Spread across six themed maps and enemy sets, access is controlled by the number of keys you gain by unlocking earlier missions.

Challenges range from killing 50 enemies, collecting 20 gold pieces, or earning 500 points - you might be asked to do a combination of all of them, perhaps within a time limit. Most are a matter of perseverance, but collecting gold pieces is tough, as they're dropped randomly from fallen enemies - and by randomly I mean infrequently.

For that reason, the game's third challenge - collecting a mere six gold coins - took a considerable amount of effort.

Extra salty seadog

At least you can gain a boost from the upgrade system, which uses your collected coins for helpful upgrades. Boosting your firepower and speed are key when tackling the earliest stages set on a sunny beach, since they provide you with a relative advantage.

The beach on which you fight is so confined, however, that you're likely to be caught by an enemy attacking from behind. Three collisions and it's Game Over as the Grim Reaper arrives to swipe you. Fortunately, you can see off-screen enemies thanks to the little skulls shown at the edge of the screen.

Your best bet is to move in arcs, channelling the chasing baddies into a line that you can target without rotating yourself too much. Your ammo is unlimited, so moving your character to direct your fire is the best way to play.

Due to this spatial limitation, the game's opening stages are a bit frustrating until you upgrade your pirate. At least you can replay levels multiple time to boost your gold total and upgrade more quickly than you would playing challenge by challenge.

Eight armed fighter

Your character's other abilities are more entertaining. Luck controls the likelihood of power-up drops such as the excellent flamethrower or health replenishment, while the Demon ability decreases the number of enemies you have to zap before you can transform into an octopus monster.

This is great not just because of the visual effect, but for the way it transforms Pirate's Treasure from shooter to Pac-Man rampage. Instead moving away from enemies, shooting them at range, you now charge directly at them, tentacles a-waving.

Unsurprisingly, the game does become samey by the time you've unlocked half the levels, which took me about two hours. By then, I had upgraded my pirate to the max, and the occasional boss stages aside the challenges started to blur together.

Sure, there are more maps, enemies, and a survival level linked to a global leaderboard, but this is a game that's front-loaded in terms of excitement.

This isn't to say you won't thoroughly enjoy the experience. Pirate's Treasure isn't revolutionary, but does slip effortlessly into the catalogue of enjoyable iPhone twin stick shooters.
Pirate's Treasure
Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan | 1 June 2010
Pirate's Treasure is a doubloon in the giant chest of twin-stick shooters: it's worth its weight, even if it's only one of many
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