From the mind of Ron Gilbert (The Secret of Monkey Island, The Cave, Deathspank) comes Scurvy Scallywags, the latest ‘match three’ puzzle game to hit Apple devices. Yes, it’s another puzzle game on iOS, but don’t let that discourage you.
It may not be the most original genre (we’ve already seen Tetris, Columns, Bejewelled, Puzzle Quest and a million other clones) but Scurvy Scallywags actually manages to set itself apart from the competition with an incredibly funny script and a number of gameplay tweaks. Anyone that has played any of Gilbert’s other games will attest to the quality of the script, littered with smart one-liners and genuinely amusing situations, which in itself is something of a rarity in gaming.
Taking place during a threatrical production revolving around a pirate’s quest to discover the ultimate treasure, Scurvy Scallywags has a deep roleplaying system, revolving around loot collection, character customisation and multiple bonus quests to complete.
While the gameplay mechanics are fairly deep, it’s still very easy to play. From the get go navigating the game world is very simple: your pirate has a ship at his disposal and must work his way through a series of islands, searching for pieces of the fabled treasure. Along the way you’ll have to take part complete simple puzzles that require you to match up three or more icons of the same type to work your way around the board.
Each board has a set number of powerful enemies on it and should you cross their path then you must fight them. The key to winning fights is to collect the purple Attack energy icons. Each enemy has a number written above their head, which indicates how powerful they are, in order to defeat them without taking damage you’ll need to have more power than them. Being as powerful as possible is essential as, once all of your health has been depleted your character will die. You can choose to pay to resurrect them using in-game currency, but if you haven’t got the cash then it’s right back to the start of the game again with a brand new pirate.
Fortunately all of your completed quests and unlocked items remain in your inventory, it’s just that your character’s rank will return to 1 and all of your experience will have to be earned again. Completing additional side quests can extend your character’s health and unlock new abilities, such as being able to leap to the nearest quest item on the board, or to fire a pistol at an enemy on the board.
In summary, Scurvy Scallywags manages to set itself apart from its competitors by featuring a genuinely amusing script, with charming music and artwork, and actually manages to breathe some new life into the genre of ‘match three’ puzzle games.
Great art and music
Simple and intuitive to play
Deep RPG system with item crafting, upgrade purchasing and dozens of character upgrades.
Can be very punishing after the first few islands (which can be seen as a cynical way of persuading players to pony up some extra cash)
Overall: 4 out of 5
We were given a download code of this game for free, but is available on The App Store for 99 cents for the launch period before going up in price to $1.99.