REVIEW: Pirates! Quest for Booty

Despite what the double entendre title and some of the screenshots may say, Pirates! Quest for Booty ($1.00) is a mostly serious attempt at an adventure game. And a legitimate one at that. Although the occasional skin and the entirely-text-based exploration aspect of it may bring to mind Team Shuriken, Bandana Games‘ newest take is a far more worthy (and far more lengthy1) idea.

Pirates! Quest for Booty - Screen

Seems like a trap… Is a trap.

If you can get used to that idea. Though I’m old enough to remember the days when these games were the highlight of digital adventure, the thought of rummaging through lines of text placed over stock photographs isn’t exactly appealing to the modern palate. It’s no surprise then, that ‘playing’ Pirates! requires lots of reading, lots of staring at same-y, reused images, and even more ‘Go North / East / South / West’ directional commands. Oh, and a healthy imagination to fill in what the words on-screen can’t completely describe.

As Pirates!‘s anti-hero / scurvy… well, pirate, you’re saved from execution and given a task to recover the missing fragments of a magical mirror, one that supposedly holds the secret to eternal youth. This requires you to purchase a ship and crew, then explore several islands / locations, gathering up the pieces and completing several side quests. Even with the limitations of text, the game manages to create an ‘open world’ of sorts, allowing you to freely explore most islands in the order you choose, coming back to them later once you’ve acquired certain items or advanced the plot.

These places vary in size, ranging from large ports and smaller settlements, to zombie ships, or an island inhabited solely by women. The game does a good job of making each area feel different from the last, despite the similar theme that ties them together. To break up the monotony of the text, there are side activities, such as gambling, and even combat …in a way. Random encounters pit your crew against an enemy, with you winning out by having a numbers advantage and / or by choosing the correct attack (melee, ranged, sneak attack, etc.). It’s not a particularly deep system, but it does toss a light dose of RPG tactics into the mix.

Pirates! Quest for Booty - Screen2

As with any adventure game, though, there’s a fair amount of backtracking and wandering around, either looking for the next story ‘trigger’ or randomly stumbling into a quest you can now complete. A handy map fills in as you explore and marks important locations, but it’s still largely up to you to figure out what comes next, or where to go. That’s both a vital part of games like this, and a shortcoming. Not all clues and / or directions are straightforward, meaning you’ll need patience for some segments or puzzles.

With all that considered, Pirates! Quest for Booty is still better than most games of this type that I’ve tried. The emphasis on exploration— and your choices regarding that exploration— gives it more playability and weight, with some very capable voice-acting adding personality to the environments and characters. It’s a decent-sized adventure that’s totally worth a look …if you don’t mind all the text …and don’t shy away from cheesy pirate jokes2.

  1. I guarantee you won’t finish this game in fifteen minutes. Team Shuriken should take notes. 
  2. What is a pirate’s favorite letter? RRRRRRRRRRRRRR

31 thoughts on “REVIEW: Pirates! Quest for Booty”

  1. For some reason I cant reply directly to the comment. Thx for the code Tim and Bandama games, this will be my 1st boobTeam Shuriken style game I play, and its seems it will be a nice first experience. As for my wisdom, I think its comes with my age… or lack of it XD

    1. Ah, you’re welcome, and good luck on this virgin experience. Although, it’s a not a true Team Shuriken experience, because this one is actually considered a ‘game’, not just a money grab. 🙂

    1. I seem to have this problem of not being able to reply to the right comment so just act like that was my standalone comment for this review and how great this game is, 10/10, keeping my faith alive, yea. Pirate boobs ftw.

    1. It does well with what it has.

      Text or not, the minigame helps to break up the routine a bit, as does the voice-acting. Without it, I think it might have been too much like Halloween Scream 2, which was the Dev’s previous text-adventure from last year. You definitely have to applaud the extra work that went into this one.

  2. How’s the site is going? Just curious because I used to be on here everyday and I just really feel like xbligs are running on farts right now. It could just be me, but everything I was anticipating to come to 360 looks like they aren’t coming and I don’t blame them. It’s hard for me to care anymore.
    I was also wondering what you plan on doing when the service finally does die? Some of my best memories are from xblig. I think I’m just going to skip this current gen altogether and go back in time one console generation at a time. Idk, sorry for rambling. I think something might’ve been in those cookies I ate. Byyaaaahhh!!

    1. Always, always ask what’s in the cookies before you eat them. ‘Cookies’ like that have ruined careers and relationships. 😉

      The site is going… steady, for the most part, but I was just saying the other day that daily views have been slipping more and more since last summer. I’m still seeing interest in certain titles (and boob games, of course), but the ‘overall interest’ in XBLIG is certainly down. I can’t blame you— and I can certainly understand— how you’ve moved on from the service. There are plenty of games that look to no longer be headed to XBLIG, but I am still convinced we’ll see some good games this year.

      So long as MS supports the 360, I think XBLIG will still see games released. The quality has always been up and down, of course, so we’ll have to wait and see what kinds of games will come out of it.

      As for post-XBLIG plans, I can’t say. If the ID@Xbox program on the One ever takes off, I might consider adding that coverage here, or re-start up Indiepitome, which was my failed experiment to cover indies across all consoles. Turns out running TWO sites and holding down a full-time job is pretty much… well, impossible. 😀

      Thanks for stopping by, though! Who knows, maybe XBLIG will surprise us all and live longer than anyone expects.

  3. Fancy an adventure on the high seas, poor hygiene, and sketchy pirate friends? Then you need Pirates! Quest for Booty in your life. I have FOUR codes to give away1, courtesy of Bandana Games. You know the routine; reply to this comment, and a code can be yours.

    1. Yes, I realize this giveaway is a little late. But I forgot to list it this morning. I am sorry. :/ 
    1. Well, hit me! At least there’s an actual game underneath, not only the usual fanservice!

    2. I’m so lucky…I was going to buy it yesterday but only didn’t because I had the wrong HDD in and then it got late…so yeah me…I’m in for some free boobies…er uhhh I mean booty…Pirate booty even.

    3. Tim….please correct me again. I think my predictive typing thing is messing me up….ooooops wait….I’m on my computer and I meant to say BUY not GUY!! LMAO

    4. Wait, wait, wait. You are telling me this is a good adventure boob game on XBLIG? My math teacher was short on boobs so I suck at math, are there any codes left? I love point and click games on PC, but I think is a genre that will never get too much attention on consoles, unless you are tTelltale. Im currently playing Hadean Lands on Ipad (also the infinity blade trilogy) is an interaction fiction, I like the genre but can be frustrating having to use imagination, the puzzles can be WAY TO HARD, I spend like two days just to get out of the 1st room, yeah I suck. But as they say Tim, dont judge the boob until if it is in your mouth, it make not look appealing but the taste can be incredible.

    5. Code is headed your way! Still ONE game left, for whoever wants it.

      Haha, that last line had me chuckling for a bit. Where the hell do you come up with these pearls of infinite wisdom? 🙂 I’d say it’s more adventure than boob game, but the screenshots seem eager to show that side of it off. Actually, the Telltale games and others like it don’t bother me; it’s more interactive than text, and you can usually move around the environments and explore. With text, it just feels too limited to me. Pirates! does a good job with it, though, so you should enjoy it. I’m just too picky, I guess.

  4. Hey Tim, I just wanted to commend on the nice job you’re doing. Even though I’ve strayed away from XBLIG in favor of focusing only on games that are worth my short free time (in other words, Nintendo games), I still have a blast reading your reviews and it’s also a nice overlook on what’s left of XBLIG after its heydays (if there ever was such a thing). Keep it up, man!

    1. Well, thank you, man. I appreciate you taking the time to read these articles, and even more for the comment! Thanks! 🙂

      You’re doing it right; can’t complain about Nintendo’s games. They’re well worth anyone’s time.

      XBLIG is probably well past its ‘heyday’, but I know there’s others on here that still have faith in the service. I talk about its demise, but even I have an optimist side that says there should be a handful of really good games still left in the pipeline. I’m glad this site can be one of the few places left that showcases those gems.

    2. @ImTheMetalLord: You must have hit the first reply button you saw… Old age does that to a person. Unfortunately, I only have the power to edit comments, not place them in their proper reply threads. 😛

      All kidding aside, age ain’t nothing but a number. Not to mention that whole ‘Time is an illusion created by Man’ line. We’re all dying in the Sylvia Plath sense of the word anyway1. 😀

      1. Yeah, that’s a Fight Club line. :) 
    3. “You must have hit the first reply button you saw…” Now those things going on in my inbox are starting to make sense… I know I can unsubscribe, but I don’t feel like it.

      Anyway, since I’m back, I’d like to add that I don’t see XBLIG completely fading away anytime soon. Not until MS pulls the plug on the whole system, anyway. As a dev myself, I know we’re a crowd though to crack; even after XNA was officially discontinued, community support has kept it alive and kicking… Ok yeah, it has kicked a little harder in the past but stubborn programmers are not willing to move on, something akin to “old habits die hard”. The Team Shurikens of this world are still gonna be around for a while, which is not all that bad – at least laugher ensues 🙂

    4. Yep, sorry about that. It’s easy to get our threads mixed up. 😀

      True, true, and you know Team Shuriken has to be making money on it, otherwise, why bother? I just wish they’d spend a little more time working on these things before releasing them. Pirates! is a much more complex text adventure, and that will pay off for anyone interested in the genre.

      Agreed, community support is probably the only thing keeping XBLIG alive. It was nice to see the forum posts and other Devs helping out last summer, when XBLIG went down for a few weeks. MS is making money off you guys, so it baffles me that they seem to care so little about the service. I realize it’s not a high priority, but still, at least assign one guy to the thing, so there’s a clear line of communication between developers and them.

  5. Pirates and booty, old school text adventure and boogies (EDIT: he means boobies), and to top it all off Tim’s stamp of approval. I’m in then. I skipped it originally because well you know…these type games are not games after all for the most part. But I love me text based adventures for some reason. Ever since I first played Zork. OMG Did I just age myself?

    1. Man, you’re part of a dying breed then. 🙂

      I just can’t get into these games for the long haul. I watch videos of things like ASCII dungeon crawlers / roguelikes, and I cringe. I respect the genre and the style, and I certainly wouldn’t judge anybody for playing them and enjoying them, but it’s just too basic for me. I guess I need moving pictures to fully appreciate the gameplay. 😀

    2. Haha, I edited it up above. I just thought you were using some form of slang, and I left it at that. Jeez, priviledges revoked for the day. 😛

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