This piratey puzzler should come with a serious health warning sticker plastered over its App Store page: play this game for more than half an hour and you’ll still be prodding away at three in the morning, a column of drool seeping slowly from the corner of your lips. It’s fiercely addictive even at its most frustrating.
The premise is simple: get your pirate ship from the left edge of the screen to the right. Each level has a number of randomly generated obstacles that block your path, the most prevalent being floating cannons which you can set off with a poke, thus destroying other obstacles such as icebergs and volcanoes. However, some cannons need to be activated before use, which can only be done by shooting them with another cannon first.
The result is a game of great strategy, where you have to seriously think about future moves before firing off each cannonball. You also have a number of enemy ships to contend with – destroying these bags you loot to upgrade your ship, but some have the power to fight back, so you have to be careful about getting your own ship too close (until you upgrade to fire-proof sails, at least). Things get even more complicated when you progress far enough to add extra ships to your fleet, which gives you more chance of making it to the other side, but also means you have to think harder about clearing enough obstacles from their path.
The upgrade system is just one of the reasons Plunder! is so addictive, as you’re always just a few treasures away from that battering ram or on-board cannon. Get to around level five and the difficulty ramps right up, and you’ll need to do some serious grinding through earlier levels to earn enough loot to give your ships a sporting chance. You can always cheat and buy some gold with real money if you wish, but we were happy to bash our way through completed worlds to try and beat our high scores.
The HD version of Plunder! is for iPad only, and comes with a multiplayer version where you can take on your friends, competing for the most loot earned. The iPhone version is SD and misses out this feature.
In all, Plunder! is a smart, addictive little game that’ll keep you occupied until the wee, wee hours. Arr.
Plunder! HD is free to download and try. It costs £1.99 to unlock the full game