Ahoy! me hearty Pirates and shiver me timbers as GGUK play on the Nintendo 3DS and take Jack Sparrow on a swash-buckling adventure. Developed by Traveller’s Tales and published by Disney Interactive Studios, the new game spans all four of the much loved movies, including the new “On Stranger Tides”.
The LEGO mini figures are back for this Legotastic platformer. As with the previous LEGO games, things revolve around a central hub. Along the dock you can first access ‘The Curse of the Black Pearl’ where Jack Sparrow begins his adventures.The gameplay remains the same as you begin to unlock characters with special abilities and smash everything to smithereens to discover the ten ship bottles, four red bricks and 16 coins in each level. The Nintendo 3DS top screen shows the play area, while the bottom screen shows you the selection of characters available and the interactions involved when you’ve unlocked each character. Each scene is filled with complete LEGO goodness alongside puzzles that usually involve breaking lego into pieces in order to rebuild it into something valuable or discovering items.
The first chapter of Curse of the Black Pearl is where Jack Sparrow begins his adventures in Port Royal. In true pirate fashion, anyone and everyone with a wooden leg and parrot are trying their best to avoid the local authorities. As a LEGO mini figure I take the form of Will Turner. My objective is to get some kind of work shop fire place working again and looking around the room, all I can see is a random carrot laying on the floor and a donkey with a lost look in his eye. In my head, I know somehow these two go together in some kind of puzzling way, because in the centre of the room is a mechanism and wheel. Slowly, but surely I coax the donkey towards the carrot, which then allows the mechanism and wheel to turn.
Some of the environments you will have to analyze in search for clues, and other times you simply smash your way through bricks to build something practical to help you in your task.
Exploring the environment, you can use the new feature of Jack Sparrow’s compass to help you discover something of importance, such as the next piece of a puzzle. Pressing the B button allows a path to clearly show where to walk in order to find the item. If you change to the small dog character, he can dig where X marks the spot providing you give him a bone. Later on in the game, you’ll have the chance to experiment with other animals, such as bringing seeds to a parrot, in order to fly into areas that are only accessible to the bird, or find a banana for the monkey who needs to go inside a small opening.
Some of the underwater scenes I’ve enjoyed the most as you dive into the sea to discover more depths of lego fun. During your time under the ocean, you will be able to swim and discover lost treasures. Players will need to think fast on their feet as your air supply is limited and only a nearby clam shell will provide you with more oxygen. During your journey you’ll come across several animals which you can ride or collect as an objective. Some of the characters will have use of the grapple hook to pull down ladders or unearth another way into an environment. Progressing through the game, players will enjoy the excitement of rolling around in a massive hamster ball which tramples enemies and unlocks switches, or getting out their gun to fire targets that reveal hidden areas.
In Davey’s Lost Key area you come across Bootstrap Bill who will be able to use his special lantern to ward off the octopus that keeps watch over treasure chests and be able to walk into green coral and appear somewhere else. One of the funniest scenes, and lego certainly have plenty of them, is where you have to make your way over a coloured grid to collect a key, only to see Davey Jones fast asleep and snoring.
The island is a beach filled with green palm trees and bright red crabs clambering around in the sand. Will Turner and Jack Sparrow have to collect these crabs and add them to the crab pool in order to be rewarded. There’s also an opportunity to sit in a small row boat and row through a set of gates in order to win a red brick.
Most of the bosses are easy to defeat, from a giant crab to the Kraken. This may involve running back and forth, transforming LEGO into bells and firing cannons at the beast in order to defeat him. Once you’ve completed the story mode, it’s time to play the free mode which allows you to play with any of the characters you have unlocked and replay levels to hopefully find all of the goodies that you didn’t originally find first time round. The combat consists of some light sword fighting which is determined through a selection of button bashing prompts as characters lock swords and commence battle. You can even hear the noise of the swords as they hit against each other, making the scene even more realistic.
Once you’ve unlocked the story mode and free play, it’s time to do some more exploring at Port Royal which has a selection of shops. Inside the tavern, you’ll be able to purchase characters, red bricks, hints and story sequences, which is great if you need to relive some of the extraordinary cutscenes this game has to offer.
I’ve played a fair amount of Lego games in my time, from Star Wars to Indiana Jones and Harry Potter, but I’ve enjoyed this one the most. The game felt like it was something a little bit more than just frantically smashing everything in sight to pieces. The idea of the compass and introducing the use of different animals are a welcomed addition to the game. I’ve played the game on the Xbox 360 and 3DS and both have been very good. The only downfall about playing the game on the 3DS is that the graphics did appear to look slightly washed out, whereas the Xbox 360 version was bold and colourful, and you won’t gain any achievement points.
The handheld version of LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is great fun and offers solid gameplay. I’ve throughly enjoyed experimenting with different characters, laughed myself silly at the humorous cutscenes and have loved every aspect of what this game has to offer on the Nintendo 3DS.
3D Effect was great and proved fitting for the environment within most of the game levels. Although at times, the 3D effect felt a lot stronger than previous 3DS game titles I’ve reviewed in the past.