Video gaming

Game review - Pirates of the Caribbean: Tides of War could plunder your pockets

Advertised as a free mobile game but with in-app purchases costing up to HK$3,000 apiece, this disappointing movie tie-in comes laced with opportunities to spend money to live life on the high seas

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 May, 2017, 3:00pm
UPDATED : Monday, 22 May, 2017, 3:35pm

Pirates of the Caribbean: Tides of War


1/5 stars

The latest instalment in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise was reportedly stolen by hackers and held for ransom recently, with threats of the film being released on the internet.

But the studio refused to pay up. Why, you ask? Because nobody actually cares about a new Pirates movie, not even the people who made it.

They’re all in it for the money, and there’s no better proof of that than with this mobile tie-in release, Tides of War - available on Android and iOS.

Before we go any further, here’s a glimpse into the game’s makeup: the most expensive in-app purchase in the supposedly “free” game costs an extortionate HK$3,000. That’s right, enough money to rent a coffin home in Hong Kong for a month, all to buy a ridiculous object in a game based on the fifth instalment of a movie franchise, itself based on a theme park ride about magical pirates. Just let that sink in for a minute.

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The gameplay, as you’d expect, has you captaining fleets, hiring crews, scouting islands, attacking ships, fighting off evil creatures and generally living the life of a seafaring scallywag. Not a bad formula to follow, if it all wasn’t so badly done and a totally unnecessary farming element thrown in for some reason.

Click and wait, click and wait, then click and wait some more. You can, of course, speed things up, but that comes at an additional price. It’s all about the property here, the loveable pirates getting into all sorts of laughable misadventures, and while crappy animations of Johnny Depp prancing about with that smirk on his face are constantly plastered across the game, it doesn’t make the game fulfilling in any way.

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Then when you think things just couldn’t get any worse, the game crashes. And when you load it again, the developer has somehow upped the difficulty, with no way of going back. How will you ever combat this wave of random terror? In-app purchases, of course.

It’d be shocking if it was not so expected. The Tides of War are certainly changing, but it’s now a battle against money-hungry mobile developers.