If you've ever had the desire to live the life of a dastardly pirate (and really, who hasn't?), then the new game Plunderland [$2.99 from developer JohnnyTwoShoes gives you the opportunity to do just that. The game features sharp, colorful graphics that take advantage of the iPhone 4's Retina Display and a mixture of touch and tilt controls that make it easy to wreak havoc on the open seas. Don't let the cute graphics fool you however, as these pirates are vile to the core. With a simple pickup and play style, many interactive ways to dispatch enemies, an upgradeable ship, and some of the most charming visuals I've seen, Plunderland should satisfy your craving to loot and pillage.

Plunderland consists of left to right scrolling levels where you must collect as much loot as possible while dispatching anybody or anything that gets in your way. Your ship operates on a 2D plane and tilting the device moves the ship left and right. Touching the ship brings up the firing line of your cannon and moving your finger changes the trajectory of that line, with a shot being fired by letting go of the screen. An underlying physics system affects everything in Plunderland, and as such firing the cannon accurately in the heat of battle can be a bit imprecise due to the force of each blast throwing your ship off kilter. It's a fairly minor nuisance though, and overall commanding your ship is a lot of fun.

The neatest thing about Plunderland is how much interaction there is with the game world. Characters can be picked up, flung, drowned underwater, slammed into the ground, set on fire, and more. It's very reminiscent of Pocket God [99ยข, and is incredibly enjoyable in a sadistic way. Aside from messing with the British Army enemies and indigenous island inhabitants, you can also manipulate inanimate objects in Plunderland. My favorite method of dispatching enemy vessels is to wait for them to fire their cannon and then quickly snatch the cannonball out of the air with my finger and sling it back into their own ship. This usually causes more damage than using your own firepower, often ripping the enemy ship right in half. Needless to say, it's hugely satisfying.

The underlying goal of Plunderland, besides just making it to the end of each level with your ship and crew intact, is collecting loot. This loot is obtained by destroying ships or structures, picking up the island natives and vigorously shaking it out of them, demolishing totem poles or tiki towers on the islands, or finding a treasure chest buried where you see an โ€œXโ€ marked in the ground. The loot that you collect can be used to upgrade your ship's weapons and equipment, like adding a crow's nest to be alerted of enemies sooner or a new ornament for the bow. The amount of money it takes to buy some of these items is quite large, and you'll have to replay many of the levels in order to amass enough to buy everything. Luckily, the game is fun enough that replaying them isn't a problem at all.

In the end, Plunderland is a great fit for the iPhone. The graphics are really appealing, especially on the iPhone 4's screen, and the game just oozes personality. It will keep you plenty busy with 20 levels spread across three main campaigns and one survival campaign, as well as the many different upgrades to collect. There's a distinct satisfaction to killing and pillaging innocent people, and then spending the ill-gotten money on your own selfish endeavors. Plus each level has bronze, silver, and gold levels of completion along with a hidden fish head to discover in each one. If you've been looking for something to appeal to your sadistic pirate side, look no further than Plunderland.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarStar
  • TrueAxis

    That looks like good fun and made me laugh... I think I will definitely get it!

  • TrueAxis

    That looks like good fun and made me laugh... I think I will definitely get it!

  • Shiznit

    5 secs ago i wanted to download it, but i must have OS4.0 :(

    Thats a no go for me....

  • Shiznit

    5 secs ago i wanted to download it, but i must have OS4.0 :(

    Thats a no go for me....

  • Jake M.

    Great game but the way you have to pause/resume is horrible. There is no way to resume! If someone knows, please tell me.

    And to the developer- I would be very grateful if you can add another way to pause/resume the game in the next update. Thanks in advance.

    • http://www.johnnytwoshoes.com/ Lyxor

      Hi Jake M.

      after you tilt to pause the game, just tilt back and then tap the screen to resume.

      If you need help or have suggestions for the game, visit the forum on johnnytwoshoes.com :)

      greets
      Lyxor

  • Jake M.

    Great game but the way you have to pause/resume is horrible. There is no way to resume! If someone knows, please tell me.

    And to the developer- I would be very grateful if you can add another way to pause/resume the game in the next update. Thanks in advance.

    • http://www.johnnytwoshoes.com/ Lyxor

      Hi Jake M.

      after you tilt to pause the game, just tilt back and then tap the screen to resume.

      If you need help or have suggestions for the game, visit the forum on johnnytwoshoes.com :)

      greets
      Lyxor

  • Mark

    I agree with the comments above me regarding the pause and resume system. I really hate that about the game. I am crossing my fingers for another way to pause and resume.

    • JohnDR

      Add me to the group of haters of the current pause system.

      A two finger tap would be much more intuitive.

      • Ouisch

        Though I hate the system, I don't think a 2 finger tap would work well considering you can use two fingers at the same time to affect the environment. I'd think that a dedicated pause button somewhere would probably be best.

    • Ouisch

      Yup, I'm on the "hate the pause method" team as well.

      • Touchgamer3g

        So am I :(

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      Do you get that you turn the game upside down and it pauses?

      Tried some other methods and Im thinking it might be better just to explain the method better.

      Also, try and double tap home if you have multitasking if you want a button solution for now.

      Awaiting more feedback before deciding if to use my new pause solution of holding a touch in the corner. Problem being that the game is so interactive the upside down idea fits best I think.

  • Mark

    I agree with the comments above me regarding the pause and resume system. I really hate that about the game. I am crossing my fingers for another way to pause and resume.

    • JohnDR

      Add me to the group of haters of the current pause system.

      A two finger tap would be much more intuitive.

      • Ouisch

        Though I hate the system, I don't think a 2 finger tap would work well considering you can use two fingers at the same time to affect the environment. I'd think that a dedicated pause button somewhere would probably be best.

    • Ouisch

      Yup, I'm on the "hate the pause method" team as well.

      • Touchgamer3g

        So am I :(

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      Do you get that you turn the game upside down and it pauses?

      Tried some other methods and Im thinking it might be better just to explain the method better.

      Also, try and double tap home if you have multitasking if you want a button solution for now.

      Awaiting more feedback before deciding if to use my new pause solution of holding a touch in the corner. Problem being that the game is so interactive the upside down idea fits best I think.

  • William Evans

    Does anybody know if there are content updates planned for this game?

    As I see it, there is not much to purchase in the shop and even though it may take a while to acquire all the items, there is not much variety in upgrades...

    Thank You :)

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      There will be extra content, levels new game modes and everything, we have lots of ideas. Should provide a lot of fun :)

  • William Evans

    Does anybody know if there are content updates planned for this game?

    As I see it, there is not much to purchase in the shop and even though it may take a while to acquire all the items, there is not much variety in upgrades...

    Thank You :)

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      There will be extra content, levels new game modes and everything, we have lots of ideas. Should provide a lot of fun :)

  • Gajet

    Will there be an iPad version, before we consider buying this?

    • Gajet

      Never mind, just seen there will be. Waiting for that, eagerly!

      • Remon

        +1!!!

  • Gajet

    Will there be an iPad version, before we consider buying this?

    • Gajet

      Never mind, just seen there will be. Waiting for that, eagerly!

      • Remon

        +1!!!

  • Dee

    This is a fantastic game that cannot be missed. This ranks up there with Space Invaders Infinity Gene and Spider: The Secret of Bruce Manor for me.

  • Dee

    This is a fantastic game that cannot be missed. This ranks up there with Space Invaders Infinity Gene and Spider: The Secret of Bruce Manor for me.

  • JohnDR

    I hate the way you have to pause and resume the game. Also, the screen goes black but I can still hear sounds coming from the game when I try to relaunch the app during multitasking.

    If those two issues can be fixed, this game can easily be worth $4.99 with more levels and upgrades. The price should NEVER drop to 99 cents.

  • JohnDR

    I hate the way you have to pause and resume the game. Also, the screen goes black but I can still hear sounds coming from the game when I try to relaunch the app during multitasking.

    If those two issues can be fixed, this game can easily be worth $4.99 with more levels and upgrades. The price should NEVER drop to 99 cents.

  • Conor

    @the developers of the game-

    How does the scoring work? It's very confusing.

    • Matt

      I agree. I dont understand it at all. somebody please explain.

      • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

        Collect the treasure, theres lots of ways to get it.

        The big structures you fight reward you depending on how accurate quick you take it down

      • Conor

        But what are the badges for/stand for exactly? There are 2. And why do some levels have a fraction and some don't in the level selection menu?

      • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

        It means target for the expert score. So you can fail pass or get gold on each level

  • Conor

    @the developers of the game-

    How does the scoring work? It's very confusing.

    • Matt

      I agree. I dont understand it at all. somebody please explain.

      • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

        Collect the treasure, theres lots of ways to get it.

        The big structures you fight reward you depending on how accurate quick you take it down

      • Conor

        But what are the badges for/stand for exactly? There are 2. And why do some levels have a fraction and some don't in the level selection menu?

      • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

        It means target for the expert score. So you can fail pass or get gold on each level

  • jason

    funny, just finished pirates of the carribean (all 3)

    will toftt

    • jason

      the review says god powers... seems out of place, atleast lose magic imo

      • jason

        lose mana*

  • jason

    funny, just finished pirates of the carribean (all 3)

    will toftt

    • jason

      the review says god powers... seems out of place, atleast lose magic imo

      • jason

        lose mana*

  • Mintey

    Awesome review!
    I need to get this.But,does it require OS4.0? And how does it run on an iPhone 3G?

    -Mint

  • Mintey

    Awesome review!
    I need to get this.But,does it require OS4.0? And how does it run on an iPhone 3G?

    -Mint

  • http://www.fluugo.com fluugo

    looks like a fun game!

  • http://www.fluugo.com fluugo

    looks like a fun game!

  • http://www.fluugo.com App

    Everyone have a problem with pause and resume the game. You should resolve this.

  • http://www.fluugo.com App

    Everyone have a problem with pause and resume the game. You should resolve this.

  • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

    We will include an alternative way for pausing the game in the next update, Thanks for the feedback

    • Parker

      That's great to hear! When will the update be out?

      • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

        Been testing new ways of pausing and because the game is so interactive with touches etc its quite hard to find the perfect fit.

        I think it might just be down to our less than perfect explanation. To pause just turn the game upside down. Or you can double tap home if you have a multitasking device

        Try the current method and let us know

  • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

    We will include an alternative way for pausing the game in the next update, Thanks for the feedback

    • Parker

      That's great to hear! When will the update be out?

      • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

        Been testing new ways of pausing and because the game is so interactive with touches etc its quite hard to find the perfect fit.

        I think it might just be down to our less than perfect explanation. To pause just turn the game upside down. Or you can double tap home if you have a multitasking device

        Try the current method and let us know

  • Max

    Can you add a help screen in the next update?

    • TylerJace

      Yes, please add this.

      • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

        We are working on this, the game has a lot going on.

        For now try our forums at johnnytwoshoes.com there is a guide etc by our users

      • Max

        The online guide did not help much. A help section in-game would be more useful.

  • Max

    Can you add a help screen in the next update?

    • TylerJace

      Yes, please add this.

      • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

        We are working on this, the game has a lot going on.

        For now try our forums at johnnytwoshoes.com there is a guide etc by our users

      • Max

        The online guide did not help much. A help section in-game would be more useful.

  • Jim Jones

    This is a really terrific game. The graphics even remind me a bit of Little Big Planet. I bought it based on this review and played the first few levels. When I read the comments about the manner that you pause I assumed it was the standard internet whining and complaining but I have to say the way that you pause is really bad and is literally the only negative about this game otherwise it's fantastic.

    • Cat

      What's so bad about the pause?!? I don't understand the problem everyones having with this...is it because it's different than your standard pause method and therefore perplexing somehow or people genuinely just not understand that all you have to do is TILT THE GAME AWAY FROM YOU SO THAT YOUR DEVICE IS UPSIDEDOWN FOR A SECOND. It's quick, easy and doesn't interfere with gameplay in the way that an in game button would. Josh - don't feel like you have to reply to every single person who makes this complaint. Some people just don't like to read directions, some people are uncomfortable with deviations from the norm, and sone people will just never be happy. Concentrate on getting the updates out. Hopefully I can put the huge amount of gold I have accumulated happily replaying levels again and again while I wait for new gamemodes to use when they arrive.

  • Jim Jones

    This is a really terrific game. The graphics even remind me a bit of Little Big Planet. I bought it based on this review and played the first few levels. When I read the comments about the manner that you pause I assumed it was the standard internet whining and complaining but I have to say the way that you pause is really bad and is literally the only negative about this game otherwise it's fantastic.

    • Cat

      What's so bad about the pause?!? I don't understand the problem everyones having with this...is it because it's different than your standard pause method and therefore perplexing somehow or people genuinely just not understand that all you have to do is TILT THE GAME AWAY FROM YOU SO THAT YOUR DEVICE IS UPSIDEDOWN FOR A SECOND. It's quick, easy and doesn't interfere with gameplay in the way that an in game button would. Josh - don't feel like you have to reply to every single person who makes this complaint. Some people just don't like to read directions, some people are uncomfortable with deviations from the norm, and sone people will just never be happy. Concentrate on getting the updates out. Hopefully I can put the huge amount of gold I have accumulated happily replaying levels again and again while I wait for new gamemodes to use when they arrive.

  • MrMuesli

    Brilliant visuals and mechanics. The core game play is a bit repetitive (tilt aim fire), but then again many great games are just that. I'm hoping the challenge will ramp up soon to avoid any boredom setting in. I don't really get the scoring system (is there an explanation anywhere?) All in all its fun. I'm just not sure if it's more fun to look at than to play.

  • MrMuesli

    Brilliant visuals and mechanics. The core game play is a bit repetitive (tilt aim fire), but then again many great games are just that. I'm hoping the challenge will ramp up soon to avoid any boredom setting in. I don't really get the scoring system (is there an explanation anywhere?) All in all its fun. I'm just not sure if it's more fun to look at than to play.

  • Nabadim

    Is this an iPad compatible version?

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      iPad version is coming later, this is jut iOS4 but with full iPhone 4 support including Retina Display

      We will announce the iPad versions release date when we can make it concrete - it will be awesome!

  • Nabadim

    Is this an iPad compatible version?

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      iPad version is coming later, this is jut iOS4 but with full iPhone 4 support including Retina Display

      We will announce the iPad versions release date when we can make it concrete - it will be awesome!

  • alex

    this game is soooo much fun as is. if they update it like pocket god and doodle jump, it'll be a classic and they'll sell millions. if they don't update, except for the few bugs, it'll just be a really great game.

    this has SO much potential!

    plunderland is hours and hours of fun for only $2.99! get this game!

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      Thanks a lot for the compliments, there will be free updates!

      Only reason we havent announced it yet is because we didnt know how popular it would be. We are in this to make the best iPhone game we can.

  • alex

    this game is soooo much fun as is. if they update it like pocket god and doodle jump, it'll be a classic and they'll sell millions. if they don't update, except for the few bugs, it'll just be a really great game.

    this has SO much potential!

    plunderland is hours and hours of fun for only $2.99! get this game!

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      Thanks a lot for the compliments, there will be free updates!

      Only reason we havent announced it yet is because we didnt know how popular it would be. We are in this to make the best iPhone game we can.

  • Mitch

    The update's all better be free. At $2.99, we barely got our money's worth. If you add no DLC and all future updates are free, this can be a winner for the long hall. The worst marketing you can go is to lower the price of the game and make every add on DLC. The you would lose many customers who supported you in the beginning.

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      The updates will be free, we released the game not knowing how popular it wil l be - since we are just 2 people with no publisher. We will celebrate its success with free updates so you will be getting a lot of bang for your buck :)

  • Mitch

    The update's all better be free. At $2.99, we barely got our money's worth. If you add no DLC and all future updates are free, this can be a winner for the long hall. The worst marketing you can go is to lower the price of the game and make every add on DLC. The you would lose many customers who supported you in the beginning.

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      The updates will be free, we released the game not knowing how popular it wil l be - since we are just 2 people with no publisher. We will celebrate its success with free updates so you will be getting a lot of bang for your buck :)

  • Darryl

    I like the game on my iPod touch however I was VERY disappointed that I can't play it in scaled-up mode on my iPad. Since vie bought it once will i have to buy it again?

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      This is now fixed and coming in the next update

  • Darryl

    I like the game on my iPod touch however I was VERY disappointed that I can't play it in scaled-up mode on my iPad. Since vie bought it once will i have to buy it again?

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      This is now fixed and coming in the next update

  • Zol

    i wanted to buy this game, but ios4 needed? on ipod touch?
    well.no thx

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      Fixed in update that we are now finishing and submitting soon, follow @jtsgames to stay up to date on its release. Thanks for the interest!

  • Zol

    i wanted to buy this game, but ios4 needed? on ipod touch?
    well.no thx

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      Fixed in update that we are now finishing and submitting soon, follow @jtsgames to stay up to date on its release. Thanks for the interest!

  • Sera

    mhh..i have bought the game. i have 3.1.3 and now i'm waiting for the 3os update
    yes, my ipod touch is jb, but every single game i play i have bought!

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      Thanks for being patient, we are finishing the update as we speak and it will be on its way to you. Follow @jtsgames and we will let people know when its available.

      • Sera

        i love evey dev who is talking with their costumers in forums etc.
        and you very do it. can't wait the update. i'll recommend this game my friends

  • Sera

    mhh..i have bought the game. i have 3.1.3 and now i'm waiting for the 3os update
    yes, my ipod touch is jb, but every single game i play i have bought!

    • http://johnnytwoshoes.com Josh

      Thanks for being patient, we are finishing the update as we speak and it will be on its way to you. Follow @jtsgames and we will let people know when its available.

      • Sera

        i love evey dev who is talking with their costumers in forums etc.
        and you very do it. can't wait the update. i'll recommend this game my friends

  • Mike

    Does it need a wireless internet connection in order to play, just like GodFinger.

  • Mike

    Does it need a wireless internet connection in order to play, just like GodFinger.

  • Jeremy

    I read in the forums that a sandbox mode is being added! Can't wait!!

    Any idea when the next content update including a sandbox mode will be released?

  • Jeremy

    I read in the forums that a sandbox mode is being added! Can't wait!!

    Any idea when the next content update including a sandbox mode will be released?

  • Morgan

    Doe it require internet???????

  • Morgan

    Doe it require internet???????

  • http://twitter.com/zmccune Zachary McCune

    Plunderland is a great play. Wonderful art and simple, fun mechanics make it a blast to play for a few minutes or (and I'm guilty) an hour or two. I actually interviewed Johnny Two Shoes about the gamer's development process and art last week. Take a look: http://anewdayswork.com/2011/04/plunderland-2010/

Plunderland Reviewed by Jared Nelson on . Rating: 4.5