Following its exclusive 30-day launch on Google+ Games, the Israeli-based developer Plarium has unleashed Pirates: Tides of Fortune onto Facebook. Out of Plarium's reportedly 12 million monthly active users, 3 million of those play Pirates on Vkontke, making it the number one game in Russia's largest social network site. Since the Google+ launch, Plarium claims the game's player count is now at 5 million.
Available in English (not counting the "Pirate English" option), French, German, Spanish, and Russian, Plarium's game is hailed for its use of voice acting. But the only character you'll be hearing is Pirate Queen Anne O'Malley, whose sole, smothering picture is plastered on every mission notice. This isn't to say the rest of the game isn't pretty. Pirates: Tides of Fortune is a high quality package through and through. But the gameplay is as slow as a galleon weighed down with gold.
Maybe I'm just not used to social strategy games, but here's what we're dealing with: The tutorial mission tasks seem neverending. Buildings can only be built one at a time. Tasks require a combination of several resources -- primarily rum, wood, and gold -- which are dished out at different rates. If you want to send resources to someone, then it'll take you at least a minute. If you want to raid someone, then it'll take you five minutes. Another disappointment is that you won't get to see an attack. All you'll get in the end is a notice of whether you've won or lost. Kixeye's Backyard Monsters, this ain't.
The game seems to enjoy making things take forever. For example, nearly every little action in the game can be rushed or "boosted" with Rubies, the game's regular currency, which you can buy with Facebook credits. I can understand social strategy games being large and complex. But the amount of complexity in Plarium's game feels cumbersome and there's a mighty learning curve for the average Facebook gamer.
Click here to play Pirates: Tides of Fortune on Facebook now >
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