Playfish Launches Pirates Ahoy!

Wow… it has a busy day for game launches! Another new title from a major developer has made its debut today: Pirates Ahoy from Playfish! The title is a Treasure Digging game, similar to Zynga’s Treasure Isle and zSlide’s Treasure Madness (the original).

Like those titles, players have an energy bar that refills over time. Players can spend their energy to dig up islands one tile at a time, in the hopes of discovering buried treasure. Along the way they will also dig up gold, and food, which can be eaten to restore energy.

The biggest difference between Pirates Ahoy and its predecessors is the game’s thematic strength. We have been saying from the start that treasure digging titles are a great opportunity to be more story and exploration-driven, and Playfish seems to have nailed this element. In Pirates Ahoy, players actually control a pirate ship sailing across the sea. Players win treasure maps by battling sea monsters, and at that point these maps are explored and dug up tile by tile.

Another twist in Pirates Ahoy is that treasures must be “restored” after they are found. Players must spend gems and metals to complete the restoration process. Right now the only way to get more gems is by occasionally digging them up at random, or by purchasing them with PF Cash. Our hunch is that fellow treasure diggers will eventually be able to send gems to one another a free gifts.

Like Treasure Isle, players have a home island they can expand and decorate. Again, Pirates Ahoy benefits here thanks to the strength of its theme. What players are actually developing is a functional pirate headquarters. Players can purchase workshops such as distilleries that earn coins over time.

Our first impression of Pirates Ahoy has been extremely positive, but we might be a little biased, because (as regular readers undoubtedly already know)… we love all things pirate themed. The actual treasure digging action itself isn’t very different from the other games out there, but by focusing on and heightening the sense of exploration and adventure (even the game’s soundtrack is swashbuckling), Playfish’s entry stands out from the pack.

Play Pirates Ahoy.

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