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Scurvy Scallywags Review
Review Score:

Scurvy Scallywags in The Voyage to Discover the Ultimate Sea Shanty, a musical match-3 RPG mash-up from Ron Gilbert and Clayton Kauzlaric (Beep Games), is now available from the app store. Featuring an innovative collapsing mechanic, great music, upgradeable skills, and tons more, Scurvy Scallywags manages to make Match-3s fun again.

Scurvy Scallywags Pros:

  • Terrific cartoony presentation and fun animations
  • Superb soundtrack and healthy doses of humor
  • Simple tap or swipe controls
  • Unique collapsing mechanic
  • Plenty of skills to equip, costumes and ship parts to win, and enemies to battle
  • GameCenter integration for achievements to earn

Scurvy Scallywags Cons:

  • Tendency for pieces next to the ones we intended to swap to switch places
  • Hard to see what piece is behind the enemies or our pirate on the board

Scurvy Scallywags puts you in the lead role in a play where a 16-part sea shanty has been stolen and spread far and wide. Your pirate character must travel from island to island, fulfilling item collection quests, building progressively better ships, and earning experience to improve his stats to better battle the baddies he meets along the way. The bulk of the game plays out upon 8x8 grids containing location-specific “junk” items, gold, swords, and enemies. Your pirate also occupies a space, and he is moved passively by creating matches. Whereas most Match-3s collapse everything downward whenever matches are made, Scurvy Scallywags uses an innovative mechanic whereby the direction of the item swap dictates the direction that the board collapses. This allows you a great deal of control over how your pirate moves around the board, either avoiding enemies or charging toward them.

Both you and your enemies have a badge number indicating the character’s strength. In order to increase your strength, you must create sword matches upon the game board. Battles take place by moving your pirate adjacent to an enemy, then swapping the two or making any other move that doesn’t separate them. If you have less strength than your foe, you’ll lose one of your hearts, bringing you closer to death. If your number is greater than the enemies, you will be victorious in battle, eliminating them from the board and earning experience. Eliminated enemies leave behind a treasure chest. Nabbing this chest will initiate a triple prize wheel that can earn you additional gold, as well as items used to build ships and articles of clothing. Completed ships offer permanent perks like reductions to skill cooldown periods and reduced enemy strength. Gold that is earned through matching, selling collected junk, or completing quests can be spent on items in the store, which are restocked frequently. You can also purchase skills that can have a significant impact on how you play. There are 5 slots at the top of the board that you can equip with these skills. Some are consumable, while others are reusable after a cooldown period.

Graphically, Scurvy Scallywags looks like most other Match-3s when it comes to the actual gameplay. Where it shines is in the silly theatrical cut scenes and the themed “junk” items upon the boards. Travelling from island to island offers a fresh look and interesting new graphics to enjoy, as well as new enemies to vanquish. The animations move swiftly, and creating big chains is exciting, albeit a little hard to follow exactly what you’ve earned due to the speed with which the indicators disappear. The music, as you can expect from a game focused on a theater performance and the recovery of a multi-part shanty, is superb and catchy. Controls require you either to swipe between adjacent pieces to swap or to tap on the two that you want to switch places. Activating skills requires a simple tap, too. While responsive and easy to use, we did seem to experience a few occasions where the pieces we intended to swap weren’t the ones that did so, but rather the pieces next to them. It could have been operator error, but without timers or points to create a feeling of rushed panic, we don’t think it was all that likely that we simply missed our target as our play style is fairly laidback and casual. The collapsing mechanic is very cool, though it does force you to slow down and think critically about the ramifications of your move before you make it.

Replay value is very good, as there are a bunch of levels to work through and you can continue to play even after finishing the game, leveling up your pirate and enjoying the experience. Gold is earned easily and there plenty of items to purchase that impact how you play the game. There are even a bunch of achievements to earn along the way. Once the collapsing mechanic clicked with us, we had an absolute blast with the game and really enjoyed the strategic undertones. A universal app for $0.99, Scurvy Scallywags is a surprisingly refreshing 4.5-Dimple game.

Scurvy Scallywags Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2013-06-06T22:13:33+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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