Epic Pirate Story is a Kairosoft inspired pirate RPG created by Epic Devs. You start the game by picking your pirate’s name, gender and the name of your Caribbean island. The plot is a simple but satisfying revenge arc against a pirate king named Duke A. Blizzardo who captured your father. Your starting island base is fairly bare: it has your house, a tavern (naturally since a pirate is nothing without his liquor), a harbor and a rundown sloop. Over the course of the game you amass fame through your exploits, acquire followers, seize treasure and build up your island until you’re ready to face Blizzardo.
Gameplay focuses on managing your followers, building up your island, going on quests and holding events and combat. Combat occurs on different islands, some owned by natives or filled with monsters, or out on sea and on the decks of enemy ships. In the beginning you start alone with no followers, you go on your first few quests by yourself until your fame meter has grown enough for you to acquire your first follower, Treep G. Woodbrush ( A homage to Guybrush Threepwood, a character from Monkey Island, a LucasArt pirate adventure game series). You start with just a knife in the beginning but the more quests you go on the more weapons, armor, items and treasure you acquire. Stats to keep track of include stamina, power, dexterity and luck. You can build up your island by spending money to construct various stat-boosting buildings like Crazy Joe’s Rum Tavern, The Dancing Monkey Disco and the Armory. You can also hold events that boost your stats once your island has developed enough. Events are as uniquely named as the buildings with names like “Feed a Shark Day,” the “Fish Slapping Contest” and the “Holding Breath Under Rum Contest.” Alas, these events are not visually depicted.
One of the big challenges Android RPGs face is building an appealing atmosphere and Epic Pirate Story does it well. Each new follower will demand a house to live in. If you don’t give them one you’ll see a speech bubble above their sprites as they wander the streets of your island complaining, “I’m homeless and I’m fearless, I’d rather just be fearless.” Then they’ll speculate that perhaps they could mortgage the pirate ship to buy a house. The characters have enough attitude and personality to make them endearing. Some of the choice quotes include, “Curses! The treasure tax is too damn high!,” “Is that a bottle of rum in your slacks or are you happy to see me?” and “Hamburgers. The cornerstone of any healthy breakfast.” The humor of Epic Pirate Story is tongue in cheek and parodies common pirate tropes like drunkenness and ragged clothing. For instance, the more your pirates go to the tavern and drink the higher their stamina is. Basic armor, which is full metal plate armor, has the lowest armor rating while leather undies provide a lot of protection.
Inventory management is an important aspect of ensuring successful combat and outfitting your party with more powerful swords, guns, armor and power boosting items like three-leafed clovers, skulls and rubies can make your character more effective. Combat occurs automatically on varied battlefield ranging from the middle of the sea to various desert islands and the decks of enemy ships. You can place your characters on the battlefield, which gives the game a tactical element. I liked to have a front line of swordsmen to hack and slash while the guys in the back acted as support gunners with their blunderbusses. Enemies are varied and include an octopus, barracudas, mermaids, crabs, bulbous whales, zombies, angry tribal natives, rival pirates and figures who look like British redcoats. Damage is exchanged based on your stats, what weapons and armor you’ve equipped your characters with and the toughness of your enemies. The difficulty scales up over time and you can definitely bite off more than you can chew if you’re not careful. Defeat in combat results in the loss of your items and forces you to retreat to your island to build up your strength on easier quests before trying again.
Graphics are pixel art rendered very similar to Kairosoft in bright and attractive colors that help convey the Caribbean atmosphere while characters are depicted as sprites, two-dimensional pixelated characters. The music is loud and upbeat but eventually gets repetitive. I just muted it and turned on Alestorm, a pirate themed folk metal band (Yes, such a thing exists!). To keep with the theme I had going, I drank some Captain Morgan and said “Arrr matey!” every so often while I was playing.
Epic Pirate Story is a great game but there are a few, make that several features that it lacks and that I really wish it had to make it a bit more like a Kairosoft game. First on my wish list would be to have the option to expand beyond my one island and seize control of and build up other islands. That would give the game a Ninja Village/ Dungeon Village strategy element. Second, I would like to have my island suffer from random enemy raids, natural disasters like hurricanes and monster attacks. I’d need to think about whether I could afford to stake my followers on quests or whether I need them to hold down the fort in the face of an enemy attack. Third, I would have liked the option to have ship-to-ship combat with the possibility of upgrading my ship with cannons. The game automatically upgrades your ship as you progress through quests but the only real change is visual and an expanded carrying capacity allowing you to take more followers on quests. Finally, I would have liked more island improvement options like having events depicted visually and being able to construct a lighthouse, a granary, coastal fortress and walls.
My excessive wish-list notwithstanding, Epic Pirate Story is a great game. It was addictive enough for me to make a night of it. I played a good six hours at a stretch, something I rarely do for non-PC games. If you have any doubts check out the free version, which, believe it or not, has all the same features of the paid version. Game developers take notice: this is the way to treat your fans.