The match-3 genre is a crowded one on the iOS store. Only a few stand out from the rest as being notably different. Maybe they add a few new mechanics or change the styling up a bit. Or maybe they do what Ron Gilbert and his small team of developers did and throw so much depth to it that you are never reminded that you are playing a simple match-3 game. Scurvy Scallywags in The Voyage to Discover the Ultimate Sea Shanty (phew) is a highly customizable, challenging, and interesting match-3 game that everyone should be looking at who have grown tired of the genre.
Scurvy Scallywags has a lot going on and brings a few new concepts that makes this feel different. Puzzle pieces do not just drop from the top anymore, but actually come in from the direction that you swiped. This really does make you stop for a second and get used to puzzle pieces flying in from all directions. Your pirate takes up a spot on the board and the goal is to destroy all the monsters that are also on the board. Some light RPG elements take place here when matching swords builds up your hit points; match or exceed the enemies hit points and it can be defeated by matching your pirate up against the enemy.
While the hit point aspect seems light, there is a lot more going on including customizing the pirate itself with plenty of different gear. You can upgrade the armor that can give you stat boosts and have a pool of various skills that you can take into battle. These skills could bring in another pirate to help you fight or leap across multiple spaces to help get away from enemies who might have more hp than you. You can also build ships that include their own stats with boosts that can range in reducing enemy health by a certain percentage or making it easier to find treasure. You collect treasure throughout the game that include pieces of ships that you put together to build.
Scurvy Scallywags has quite a bit of challenge. You sail around to various maps based on a play you are acting out where enemies get harder the further you go. If your HP does not match the enemies when you match up with them, you lose a heart. Lose three hearts and its game over. It’s like a Rogue-Like except you get to keep your stats. You can choose to spend your gold to resurrect your pirate though, it just all depends on how you want to go about the situation.
The game looks great and helps by constantly changing up the puzzle pieces. Ron Gilbert is known for bringing humor into his games but Scurvy Scallywags seems light on the humor. Sure your pirate can wear a skirt and a gold helmet and some of the skill and armor descriptions might make you smile but this isn’t trying to be deliberately funny. While some might like the throwback music that is reminiscent to Ron’s past, I tend to get annoyed with the repetitiveness of it and play the game muted. With this said though, I don’t see myself stopping the game anytime soon.
Scurvy Scallywags is on my front page where it will stay for quite a while. I keep returning to it if I find myself with a few minutes to spare. It’s perfect for those quick gaming bursts and is enjoyable for long periods as well. Scurvy Scallywags is $1.99 on the apps store and is definitely worth the asking price. It brings some unique twists to the match-3 genre that can easily reel you back in.