Pirates of Freeport is not impressive. It comes from the small Korean studio Wow Effect, whose lineup of mobile games is limited. You likely won’t find yourself awestruck by the character and environment art, nor moved by the music. Still, there’s much to be said for the game’s charm, storytelling, and its many options to fit different playstyles. Whether you choose to be a witchy nomad, a renegade marine or an unsavory buccaneer, your innate talents and your crew will ensure your survival – and prosperity – in the many seas beyond Freeport.
You’ll start out by choosing your captain. The captain is like other crewmates, but they must always be present on the ship, so it’s important to pick someone whose skill set is a good match for how you’d like to play. After that you’ll buy a small sloop, hire a crewmate, and set sail. Your first few voyages won’t be much to write home about, but they’ll be an important step towards your goal of nautical infamy. Pick some fights, roll some dice, and you’ll return to Freeport with a fair amount of gold.
Investing in your ships will let you stay out at sea for longer and bring in more loot. On the other hand, investing in new crewmates is a good way to diversify your skills. This is particularly important due to the variety of skill checks you’ll come across in different encounters. Certain areas favor specific stats over others, but it’s always good to keep a balance between your combat and survival skills.
The Power of Loot
Another way to invest in your crewmates is with gifts. During your travels, you’ll collect items that you can gift to your crew. Gifting items to crewmates will help them level up faster, while also giving them certain stat bonuses. Give your crewmates tarot decks to increase their luck, or an explorer’s compass to improve their exploration and survival stats. Outfitting each crewmate with a variety of items is essential for survival in the later areas of the game, as you’ll need more than a lucky dice roll to slay a kraken or plunder a marine base.
Furthermore, beyond the basic skill books and equipment, there are some truly unique items to reward those pirates with an appetite for adventure. Whether you’re hunting a kraken, helping to reunite a mermaid with her long-lost sister, or trapping the elusive Snowfire fox, you’re sure to be rewarded with strange trinkets that vastly change the way you play. New items also become available as you change up your crew’s professions. For example, using a renegade marine to fight a naval officer might yield a curious item that prevents all physical ailments…but then again, that might just be maritime legend.
Alongside normal progression, Pirates of Freeport offers ads for just about everything. You can watch ads to speed up ship repair times, earn a bit of extra gold, or even save yourself from starvation with a crate of food. Beyond that, you can open new save slots, cure crewmates’ illnesses, and increase morale at the click of a button. Of course, partaking in these ads does dilute some of the game’s core mechanics, but they are nonintrusive and completely optional to the player. They also serve the benefit of completely removing microtransactions, which is a relief to many mobile players. At no point in your journey will your progression be locked behind a paywall, nor intentionally slowed to entice you into buying premium currency. Indeed, Pirates of Freeport is truly free to play, which is a refreshing change from the current microtransaction-heavy mobile environment.
A Peculiar Trinket
Pirates of Freeport is not impressive, but it’s far from forgettable. Its simple mechanics matched with its unexpectedly creative storytelling makes it a worthy way to spend some free time. If you’re ready for adventure, Pirates of Freeport is ready for you.
Is It Hardcore?
Yes, with room to grow.
A few minor bugs detract from Pirates of Freeport’s overall experience, but its charm and entertainment value are still leagues ahead of others of its kind.