This remake of the 1987 PC classic isn't so much one game as an extremely well put together collection of simple but fun minigames. All of the different modes in Sid Meier's Pirates!: Live the Life have completely different gameplay, but with the help of Disney-style pirating (pillaging, but no raping) and swashbuckling they weave together to form a highly entertaining experience.
As a young Orlando Bloom-esque character whose family is sold into slavery when your father couldn't pay his debts, you lead a slave revolt during the trip to the New World, commandeer your captors' ship (and a puffy shirt) and set out to find your family… and maybe make a buck or two from piracy while you're at it.
Starting with a small ship and crew, you sail the scenic Caribbean Sea from an overhead view, navigating between ports and hunting for vulnerable looking cargo ships. Getting close to another ship zooms to a closer-up view for a ship-to-ship combat game. Using the wind to your advantage, you must outmaneuver your opponent and evade his cannon while lining up yours to fire.
Once they're softened up, you can either sink them to the bottom or board them. This zooms in once again to a fencing game between you and the enemy captain. While the crews fight in the background, you try to drive the enemy captain off the ship and into the sea. Win the duel, and the ship and her cargo are yours to do with as you please.
There are several other optional minigames, such as dancing with governors' daughters, treasure hunting, port sieges and escaping from prison. You can also trade between ports to build a fortune without firing a shot, or win favor with various European governments to earn bonuses at their ports. Simply put, there are a huge number of things to do in this game, and all of them are worth doing.
If you missed the original game 18 years ago, you should definitely pick this up - it could be another 18 years before they make something this purely fun again.