GET YOUR GAME ON: ‘Scallywags’ worthy of your doubloons

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First Posted: 7/23/2013

Do you know why pirates are so cool? They just AARRRR!

If you need more proof, download “Scurvy Scallywags in The Voyage to Discover the Ultimate Sea Shanty” for IOS or Android. Developed by acclaimed developer Ron Gilbert (creator of “Monkey Island”), “Scurvy Scallywags” is a Match 3 puzzle game that shares a lot of similarities to “Bejeweled” but has a jaunty pirate theme and clever RPG elements.

The high seas adventure starts out with the character customization screen. You can design the look of your scallywag with all sorts of options, such as faces, swords, hats, tops, and pants. Then you get to pick where you want to go from a treasure map and set sail. When you get to your destination, you have to complete puzzle boards by sliding around pieces to match three of each symbol to make them disappear and rack up points, gold, and power-ups.

One thing I noticed that separated the gameplay from “Bejeweled” is when you eliminate pieces, the new ones flow in based on direction of where they are eliminated. If you destroy pieces on the right of the board, the replacements will come in from the left, and so on. Another very different thing is your character is on the game board itself. As you eliminate symbols, your little pirate moves around the board toward the empty spaces.

The game board is littered with all sorts of different icons, like swords, poison, rats, gold, and several others. You need to collect the gold and avoid getting caught by the poison, rats, and other traps. Periodically in the puzzles, there are enemies that want to halt your progress. You need to avoid them and match up sword icons to increase your fighting strength. When you level is greater than the number under the enemy, you have to strategically maneuver your way around the board until you are next to them and a fight will break out. If you defeat all of the enemies, you will complete the puzzle.

As you progress to different islands, the difficulty increases, and there is the occasional introduction of a new rule that switches up the gameplay a bit. Nothing is ever too drastic, but it is an interesting change a pace and makes you think a little differently. Each time you kill an enemy or finish a puzzle, it unlocks all sorts of booty, such as clothing and new weapons. By unlocking new weapons and clothing, you can raise your abilities, such as increased attack or even passive abilities such as turning gold into swords. The most handy perk I found was the ability to hop around the board to the nearest object; this was great for collection quests.

Completing puzzles unlocks scenes of a play, which move along the story of the game. When you finish a level, you unlock a verse of the Ultimate Sea Shanty. I do love a good shanty, and this one is particularly humorous; I did really look forward to hearing the next hilarious verse in the song. The only real annoying thing about the game is when you die, you have to spend your gold to revive yourself, and you have to start the levels over. This can lead to some frustrating levels, especially in later levels where it becomes more expensive to revive yourself. There are in-app purchases if you want to spend some money on customizing your ship or guy, but I didn’t spend the extra cash.

Overall, I did really enjoy “Scurvy Scallywags.” It was a charming puzzle game, with silly music and laugh out loud dialogue. For a $1.99, you can download this addictive game and have hours of fun on your phone. So if you like pirates or are just looking for a fun new distraction while you are in a waiting room or marooned on an island, “Scurvy Scallywags” is worth a few doubloons.

-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at