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Pirates: The Key of Dreams - WiiWare review

Definitely not a master of unlocking


  • Fun for the first level
  • Simple to pick up
  • Multiplayer free-for-alls


  • Little variety on offer
  • Ships slide all over
  • Story recycled for billionth time

Pirates in general are awesome, unlike this initially promising but ultimately drab and one-dimensional watery shoot ’em up. Shame, because we like pirates (couldn’t you tell?). It’s the 1800s and you assume the role of a Royal Navy captain who takes charge of a pirate ship in order to infiltrate the piratey brethren and recover the Key of Dreams, an ancient artifact that bestows great power on those who… blah blah yawn.

There’s no life on the ocean wave here; rather, it’s a life of navigating angular waterways in ports populated by fleets of enemy vessels, which you destroy either with standard broadsides or finite bow-fired weapons that you pick up as you make your way around the game world. Even though your ship handles like a Micro Machine (albeit it a less wheely, more watery one), it’s all quite jolly for the first level. But once you’ve progressed a bit further you realise how little variety there is on offer.

The backdrops and the nationalities of the ships you’re blasting are the only tangible differences between the levels. Okay, multiplayer free-for-alls add a little spice to the formula, but overall this is a yo-ho-no. More Cutthroat Island than Master and Commander, this seafaring shooter misfires with its repetitive gameplay and ships that handle like ice skaters.

Jul 22, 2008

More Info

DescriptionThis shoot'em up title is initially promising but ultimately drab and one-dimensional. Shame, because we like pirates.
US censor ratingEveryone
UK censor rating3+
Release date21 July 2008 (US), (UK)