Review: Pirates: The Key of Dreams (WiiWare)


Publisher: Oxygen Games
Players: 1-4
Genre: Action
Cost: 1000 Points

A 10 dollar game about pirates? Hell yeah, sign me up! Along with zombies, ninjas and Hulk Hogan, Pirates are one of the many things God put on Earth to make life for us mere laymen more worth living. Unfortunately this may not be the game you want it to be. When I first heard of it I didn’t think there was any way it could be anything other than awesome. Well here we are, ten bucks later, and I can readily admit that I was horribly wrong.


In Pirates: The Key of Dreams you are given a mission by a British Navy admiral at Port Royal to track down and obtain the Key of Dreams, an item said to make whomever possesses it a master at battle. The catch is the Key of Dreams is currently held by a fleet of pirates, and in order to infiltrate their base and retrieve the Key you are given a small (or large if you pick easy difficulty) pirate ship so you can get into the pirate base with more ease.

Problems arise, however, when other naval fleets begin attacking you because they mistake your ship for a real pirate ship. This makes getting out of Port Royal far more challenging than it should be, as you’ll have to fight through several fleets of ships before you can get on to your real mission.

Unfortunately the story is played out with bland pop-up screens containing screen after screen of text with minimal voice-over. Well, minimal is probably an overstatement. The only voice acting in the game consists of overly cheesy, poorly executed “Aarg”s. They are really pathetic and annoying.

That’s not the only flaw with sound design, however. The biggest flaw in audio is perhaps the fact that there is almost no background music during gameplay. Instead you get the occasional repetitive sound effect of water splashing or something exploding. When the music does play, however, it’s pretty catchy music that just yells pirate.

And the graphics. Man, the graphics. The suffice, I suppose, but that’s about it. The ships have no animation to them whatsoever, water is bland, surroundings all look the same, and particles are really lame. They aren’t absolutely terrible or mind numbing, but they are just far too basic and lacking in polish.

The single play mode features 10 levels to play through, but after the first couple you’ve seen about all the game has to offer. Through every level you sail to through the same obstacles fighting the same enemies, looking at the same bland visuals, with the same pethetic audio, collecting the same pick-ups just to reach the same goal. With little to no variety, Pirates comes off as one of the more repetitive games I’ve played in a long time and isn’t at all worth the $10 cost of admission.

The multiplayer, on the other hand, is pretty fun. For a while. You and up to 3 friends can play head to head in one of several maps with access to changing a few options like what ships you use and how many ships you have to destroy in order to win. But like I said, it’s only fun for a while. The overall lack of polish on the game itself kinda takes a little away from the entertainment as it just isn’t all that fun to keep doing the same thing over and over in a drap environment. Though the entertainment to be had in multiplayer is fun and fairly hectic for a while, it definitely doesn’t hold out.

Final Words

When I saw the first shots of Pirates I assumed it was a strategy game, a genre in which the Wii needs more titles all around. While there is a little fun and amusement to be had, especially in the multiplayer, Pirates is definitely not worth the 100o Wii Points (10 smackers) it costs. 500 points, in fact, would be pushing the envelope a little far. This is one your definitely gonna wanna skip out on and save your doubloons and galley space for better games like World of Goo or Evasive Space (review soon).


  • Pirates are cool
  • Multiplayer is pretty fun
  • The little music that does play


  • Ultra repetitive story mode
  • Bland Graphics
  • Almost no background music
  • The sound effects are lame
  • Multiplayer starts to run thin too quickly
  • 10 bucks? Really?


Overall: 4.87/10 (Not even worthy of scurvy)

Story: 6.5/10 (Fairly interesting premise, poorly executed)
Graphics: 4.0/10 (Bland and boring, lame particles, no animation on ships)
Audio: 4.0/10 (Sound effects are cheaply done, no background music during gameplay)
Entertainment Value: 5.0/10 (Single play is repetitive, multiplayer helps but wears thin pretty quick)

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