Boy, talk about a fun little game. Pirates of the Atlantic is a small game, but a fun one.
All of the action takes place on a single screen with a background that changes minimally depending on the level (or for every level this reviewer could possibly attain, and don’t think I didn’t spend hours on end playing). The player controls a single cannon and has to aim cannonballs so as to eliminate zeppelins and boats. The zeppelins and boats, in turn, fire cannonballs and attempt to take out the player’s cannon. Once the player’s cannon reaches zero energy, it’s game over.
The player can attempt to stop the cannonballs by raising a shield (that will prevent his ability to fire as well). Every level finishes with a “boss” attacking the cannon. The ships controlled by the bosses are harder to hit, travel faster, shoot more cannonballs, and are simply all around more dangerous than the run of the mill ships encountered earlier in the level.
It’s all quite simplistic and controlled entirely by mouse. Thus, it’s incredibly easy to learn, but it’s still difficult to get truly good at. By left-clicking the mouse the cannon fires, by right-clicking the mouse the shield comes up (it disappears after being hit once and requires another right-click to reengage), and by moving the mouse the targeting cross-hairs move across the screen.
As the player destroys enemy ships (both of the ground and water variety) he earns points. Between levels these points can be used to buy upgrades, including faster cannonballs, the ability to have more cannonballs in the air at a single time, more damaging cannonballs, and increasing the cannon’s energy (life). It’s one of the more interesting facets of the game that the cannon’s life will not automatically refill at the end of the level, but rather require the purchase of energy instead.
There are, of course, a few other extras as well. Destroying some ships allows the player to capture bubbles that provide a number of different bonuses, ranging from firing super-fast cannonballs to firing more cannonballs at a time to entering a bonus level to various other interesting additions. The effects are limited in duration, but certainly allow for the player to destroy several enemies while the bonus lasts.
The game does start off at a relatively leisurely pace, which, after playing the game several times, does become moderately frustrating. These early levels, before any upgrades are purchased, take a long time to play and provide little danger for your cannon.
Even though the game is simplistic, it is enjoyable, and harkens back to the days of Missile Command and Space Invaders although in this game the cannon is on the side rather than on the bottom of the screen.
There is no ESRB rating for this game. Ships are destroyed via cannon fire, but there is no blood nor are there any humans or human-like images that are hurt.