It’s been a while since pirates sailed the seven seas, especially the Caribbean, plundering treasure and messing with the various colonial powers. This era is partly brought back to life in films, but you also slip into the skin of pirates in video games. Sometimes serious, sometimes funny, sometimes in space! There are some good games that do a good job of putting the pirate life on screen. You can find some of the best in our list, with the five new additions at the top:
One Piece Treasure Cruise (Android, iOS)
One Piece Treasure Cruise is a mobile game based on the popular manga and anime series, One Piece. The game is developed and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment and is available on both iOS and Android devices.
In One Piece Treasure Cruise, players take on the role of a pirate captain and lead a crew of characters from the One Piece universe on various missions and battles. The game features turn-based combat, where players must strategically use their characters’ skills and abilities to defeat enemy pirates and progress through the game’s story.
Players can collect and recruit a wide variety of characters from the One Piece series, each with their own unique abilities and special moves. As players progress through the game, they can level up their characters, unlock new skills, and upgrade their equipment to become stronger and more effective in battle.
In addition to the main story mode, One Piece Treasure Cruise also features various events and challenges that offer special rewards and bonuses. Players can also join or create their own pirate crews and compete with other crews in multiplayer battles.
The Curse of Monkey Island (1997 – PC)
Guybrush Threepwood’s third adventure almost looks like an animated film. Well, at least in relation to the release year. Today the game is showing some signs of age, but it still looks pretty. And, of course, Guybrush is once again faced with a few problems that he has to find a solution to.
The engagement ring Guybrush gave Elaine was stupidly cursed. This can happen when bagging the one from a Zombie Pirate’s Treasures. The good news is: the curse can be broken. The bad news: According to the voodoo lady, Guybrush’s death is the only way to do this. It takes about 30 hours and more to find a solution to this problem.
Port Royale 4 (2020,2021 – PC, Xbox Series X/S, PS5, Switch, PS4, Xbox One)
In Port Royale 4 you don’t have to be a pirate, but you can! And it’s always good when you have a choice. Taking place in the 17th century, you fight for dominance among the colonial powers in the Caribbean. Either join one of these parties or pursue a pirate life.
So when life as captain and administrator for one of the colonial powers gets too boring for you, hoist the pirate flag and do your own thing in the Caribbean. Of course, you should be careful because the big nations are trying everything to defend themselves against the pirates. In the fourth part of the series, the naval battles take place for the first time in a turn-based system.
Space Pirates and Zombies (2011 – PC)
Pirates don’t always have to sail the world’s oceans. In Space Pirates and Zombies you fly through space and take care of not just a single ship, but a fleet that is growing bit by bit. You can switch between these individual ships and issue orders or give the AI certain specifications.
Explore the galaxy, and you will find new components with which to build ships. You also invest research points in new technologies that benefit your fleet. With this, you fight your way through a randomly generated galaxy in which a lot of missions and dangers await you. And I haven’t even mentioned the intergalactic zombie epidemic that’s spreading…
Pirates: Rulers of the Caribbean (2003 – PC)
With Pirates: Rulers of the Caribbean, Ascaron once developed an offshoot of the Port Royale series. Here the aspects that were otherwise in the foreground at Port Royale moved into the background. Instead, the pirate life is the focus, and your goal as a buccaneer is to amass as much treasure as possible. Which is anything but easy at first with your small ship, but being a pirate is not child’s play.
You’ll take on early enemies, get some loot, and over time you’ll, secure larger, more heavily armed ships. Traders, pirates, and large convoys are cruising around, and you can ambush anything that looks like a worthwhile target, from ships to cities, of which there are 60 in total. There’s plenty for you as a pirate to do!
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Treasure Island (2008 – PC)
Embark on this adventure in search of a legendary treasure. In classic point-and-click style, you start your journey as Jim Hawkins. There are puzzles to be solved and mysteries to be uncovered as you combine objects and examine items in your 3D inventory.
In contrast to many classics, however, Treasure Island is not a 2D adventure but rather combines its point-and-click mechanics with 3D graphics. The basis, of course, is the template by Robert Louis Stevenson, along with all the original characters and locations. All of this is accompanied by an orchestral soundtrack and a voiceover with well-known actors standing in front of the microphone.
Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag (2013, 2019 – PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U)
For many – myself included – the best part of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series. Not because pirates and assassins necessarily go together so well; no, rather, it’s the wonderfully implemented pirate scenario that inspires at this point. As young Captain Edward Kenway, you’ll deal with legends like Blackbeard as you cruise the ocean in your own ship and your crew sing pirate songs.
The Caribbean is well implemented, and there is a lot to do in 1715. Of course, this is all embedded in the conflict between the Templars and Assassins, which runs through pretty much all parts. But no matter whether you explore Kingston, Nassau, or numerous other locations, the pirate feeling comes up here from the first moment. In this respect, it’s not only one of the best Assassin’s Creed but also one of the best modern – although it’s already a few years old – pirate games.
Sea of Thieves (2018, 2020 – PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S)
Playing pirates with others is what Rares Sea of Thieves makes possible. Whether you’re sailing the ocean, fighting ship battles, exploring islands, or conducting raids, the virtual pirate life is diverse in this shared world adventure. This means that you can encounter other crews at any time, never knowing beforehand whether they will be friendly or hostile to you.
Among other things, as I said, you explore numerous islands or look for sunken ships in order to find mysterious artifacts there. While this isn’t a classic pirate fantasy, there are also fantastical elements like skeleton captains and other supernatural things. Bit by bit, you build up your own reputation and accumulate treasures, just like a real pirate. Arr!
The Secret of Monkey Island (1990, 1992, 2009 – PC, Amiga, Sega CD, PS3, Xbox 360, Atari ST, and more)
One of the adventure classics par excellence is the first Monkey Island from Lucasfilm, which in the meantime was called LucasArts. Doesn’t matter. You don’t actually play a real pirate here because protagonist Guybrush Threepwood wants to become one. To do this, he first has to discover the secret of Monkey Island, which leads him to Mêlée Island.
There it is a matter of putting together a crew for this daring undertaking. In classic point-and-click fashion, you explore the environment and use the Verbs interface to interact with the game world. In general, the game is full of humor and always worth a trip. Also, in the later published Special Edition, which modernizes the graphics – but you can switch between the old and new look at any time with the push of a button!
Lego Pirates of the Caribbean (2011 – PC, Mac, DS, 3DS, PS3, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360)
Pirates are also available as block figures. This is not about the classic pirate sets from Lego, but rather about the implementation of the Pirates of the Caribbean series in Lego video game form. And with the typical humor and with a similar process as you know from all the other Lego games that have already existed.
But that doesn’t bother you if it’s presented in such an entertaining way as it is here. Play as Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbossa, Davy Jones, and countless other characters from the films and relive content from the first four films. A suitable pirate game for both the younger and the older target groups. And where’s my rum now?
Sid Meier’s Pirates (2004 to 2012 – PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, PSP, Wii, iOS, and more)
Ah, one of the classic pirate games, you think now. But wait a minute, I’m actually not talking about Sid Meier’s very first Pirates – which is good, of course – but the 2004 remake, which he personally developed with his studio Firaxis. The remake remains faithful to the original in terms of gameplay. However, a 3D engine makes everything a little more modern.
Also, in the new edition, you sail through the Caribbean, plundering cities and other ships and looking for hidden treasures. You know, just what pirates do all day long. And as I’m typing these lines and seeing when the game came out, I’m like, hey, Firaxis, how about a new Pirates? Or with a remake of the remake? The classic would have deserved it. Give me more pirates!
Steamworld Heist (2015 to 2020 – PC, 3DS, PS4, Vita, Wii U, Switch, iOS, Google Stadia)
Who says pirate games always have to be set in the Caribbean and at sea? Most of them do, but Steamworld Heist literally goes high. Here you play pirates in space! Or rather: steam pirates. You are the captain and fight your way from one ship to the next, not only to shoot down the opponents but also to bag the loot.
The whole thing is set up as a turn-based strategy game and you can also perform artistic shots to overcome obstacles with them. Gradually you improve your crew and fight your way through the procedurally generated levels because numerous challenges await you in the vastness of space. Great game that not everyone has on their radar. But you should!
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (1991, 2010 – PC, Amiga, iOS, PS3, Xbox 360, and others)
Guybrush Threepwood is back and once again takes on zombie pirate LeChuck. The sequel to the terrific Monkey Island is no less terrific, and this time Guybrush sets out on a quest to find the legendary Big Whoop treasure, leading to yet another hilarious adventure.
Part two builds on the successful predecessor and goes a step further with everything. Humour, dialogues, staging, everything is just right here. The Verbs interface returns as you solve classic point-and-click puzzles set in the Caribbean, only to experience a real WTF moment towards the end. It should not be missing in any pirate collection.
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire (2018, 2020 – PC, Linux, Mac, PS4, Xbox One)
The second part of Pillars of Eternity focuses on pirates! And at the same time, you pursue a renegade god in the role-playing game sequel on land and sea. Nothing is easier than that. With your ship you explore the Deadfire archipelago region and discover new places on the islands, get to know their inhabitants, and destroy opponents who are lurking there for you.
Your ship serves as the basis, you can develop and improve it – as well as your crew – to improve your chances of survival on this journey. You will be joined by seven different companions with different classes and abilities. The game builds on the classic Dungeons and Dragons gameplay and is definitely worth checking out for RPG fans.
Risen 2: Dark Waters (2012 – PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
In the second part of the Risen series, Piranha Bytes sends you into a pirate scenario that takes place many years after the end of the first part. You are sent as a hero to put a stop to monstrous creatures from the depths of the sea that brought seafaring to an abrupt end.
So you set off to look for a way to get rid of these creatures. From the third-person perspective, you explore the vast world using well-known RPG mechanics, learn new skills and make decisions that can have different effects as the story progresses.
Blackwake (2020 – PC)
If you like playing pirates with other players, you might want to take a look at Blackwake. This multiplayer FPS relies on teamwork and cooperation while on the high seas. You fire cannons, sink ships, or board them from the first-person perspective.
Up to 54 players – crews consisting of up to 13 players – are on the move on smaller and larger ships. Of course, you also have to repair your ship, supply it with supplies, and choose different equipment. It is played in three game modes, and different maps and customization options are available.