884809_largerTower defense games be one o’ t’ most popular genres on iOS. They’re also a dime a dozen on t’ AppStore, and it’s time consuming t’ filter through all the choices, especially when thar’s a cost for some o’ them. Developers can no longer copy another app, slap on some graphics, and pass it off to ye as a totally new experience.

Okay, enough pirate talk.

Pirate Legends TD [Free] does copy elements from other games (most noticeably Kingdom Rush [$0.99/$2.99]), but does so in an entertaining fashion that lets you forget, albeit temporarily, where some of its content comes from.

As you start up the game, you’ll be prompted to input your name. I love games that allow multiple user profiles (mainly so my fiance doesn't hinder, or help, my progress), and Pirate Legends allows up to three unique profiles. The game also features iCloud synchronization, Game Center achievements and Facebook integration.

In the Caribbean of the year 1705, your task is to prevent swarms of enemies from getting to your ship, and to do so, you must build various towers on the buoys of each map. The first few rounds will introduce you to aspects of the game, from building units, to using special powers, and introducing new components progressively. You won’t feel lost by the time you’re out of the beginner stages.


You build cannon towers to attack your enemies, oil towers to slow them down, so on and so forth. You’ll eventually get access to over ten units. Towers can be upgraded multiple times, and sold for a portion of their original cost. You have the option of allowing a wave of enemies to come early, which grants you a small coin bonus.

One of the features I found different from other tower defense games is that the object you’re trying to protect, in this case your ship, actually contributes to the battle. The ship will fire cannonballs on closeby targets, and you’re also able to rotate the direction of the ship, perfect for times when there are multiple lanes and you want to have every corner covered. Sadly, there is no speed control, which can be found in some other games.

screen1024x1024Aside from your towers, you have other avenues available to help you beat the swarm. You can hire allies (for coins or premium currencies), who patrol around the map and attack enemies that they come across. You’ll also be quickly introduced to Flying Aces, friends who enter the field every now and then to attack a designated area set by you. You have two special powers which come from your ship: a turtle cannon, which you launch at an area that will attack enemies for a limited time, and a barrage attack, which has your ship launching multiple cannonballs at once. Both powers are free to use, but both require a recharge time. Occasionally, special loot ships will appear; if you manage to destroy these, they'll drop some bonus loot for you. Completely optional, but a nice addition.

Lastly, you'll get access to Relic Powers, which are incredibly powerful, but ultimately wind up costing money if you use them too much and run out. My favorite ability is the tornado, the direction of which you control by tilting your device. It adds a fun element on top of an already fun game. Tornados not your thing? Why not summon in a Kraken to gobble up a group of enemies whole?

At the beginning of each stage, you can choose the difficulty you want to play: easy, medium or hard. At the end of each round, you’re awarded anchors based on the difficulty chosen (one for easy, two for medium, three for hard). Anchors are spent in the tech tree, where you can buy upgrades for your towers, special abilities and allies. You can also choose to buy up to three boosts for each round, which utilizes premium currency.

screen1024x1024-1There are no hidden or alternate areas of any stage, the only replay value being that of the three difficulty levels. However, once you get the hang of the game, chances are you’ll have few issues on hard difficult, negating any reason for a replay. Which is sad, really, because the battles are fun and the environments are wonderfully rendered.

Graphically, Pirate Legends is a treat. Everything is smooth and crisp, from the on-screen action to the background effects, such as a panda bear lounging around, eating bamboo while watching the fight. You can pinch to zoom in closer, and see everything in fine detail. The sound and music are also very well done, from the cries of defeated pirates to the splash of cannonballs hitting the water. Oddly, on my iPad, the game always launched with the music off by default. On my iPhone, it started up fine. Not sure if it's a potential iPad Retina issue or what.

As I mentioned, you can use allies called Flying Aces, that are available after the first few rounds. The first one you get free, and he comes with the most basic stats. The remainder you’ll have to buy, the most expensive being $4.99. For a game that already has a higher than usual purchase price, this could be too much for some people. But again, it’s completely optional, and in no way required to finish the game.

For those of us who don’t necessarily like our digits intact, the premium currency on hand here are toes. Yes, you buy toes, which are used to purchase boosts and relics. The standard IAP fare applies; small amounts of toes for the cheapest price, all the way up to mega toes for what costs more than a brand new console or PC game.

At the end of the day, Pirate Legends is a terrifically fun game, its biggest hindrance being what seems like an excessive paywall (for your Flying Aces). What it does it does well, but doesn't bring enough new content to the table, which makes it seem very similar to other games of its ilk. With that being said, however, it’s well worth your initial purchase, especially if you've finished or are tired of other tower defense games.

Also, pirates.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Lohengriehn

    ingame currency, flying aces, relic powers.....ill pass. thanks for reviewing this game 🙂

    • London-SV

      Your loss, I finished the game without spending any real money and on the hardest difficulty with next to no problems.

      I bought one Ace to show my support, not because I had to.

      • Lohengriehn

        Hopefully it looked like the space shuttle...in a pirate game, lol 🙂
        Im sure the dev is thankful bc of your inapp purchase...soon youll you pay for 5mins of gaming.... 🙂

      • London-SV

        Sorry did not understand much of that

    • Trevor

      IAP isn't needed to complete the game at all. No one should avoid the game just because of it.

      The game is basically Kingdom Rush on water, but it's just as fun imo. Best 99 cents I spent all month.

    • Jake7905

      It would be a mistake to pass on this game because it has IAP, especially if you like tower defense games. It's basically 'Kingdom Rush' on water, and the IAP is done in a very similar way, which also means that it's optional.

  • lepke

    The IAP is not detrimental, game seems solid and I like its presentation 😉

    Another option for people loving the genre and looking for something with pirates!

  • rabidnz

    No speed control? Is this their first td?

  • toxiccheese

    "The remainder you’ll have to buy, the most expensive being $4.99. For a game that already has a higher than usual purchase price, this could be too much for some people. "

    Since when is 0.99¢ a higher than usual purchase price?

    • iosuser

      It was released at $3.99 but quickly dropped to $0.99 so I'm guessing he was referring to the original price.

      • Sebastian Gomez

        You're right..

        And it seems they made the review before it dropped to $0.99 haha

  • mr_wexer

    I love Pirate Legends, great fun TD with some nice additions. Definitely recommend for TD fans, the production values are also 2nd to none!!

  • GGLV

    swiggoty swooty, im coming fo' dat booty.

  • DarkRoxima

    Like James said, I can download all apps for FREE using this website! Super easy! w w w. THis sIT e WiL l scReW uPyOur Pc. C o m
    I also make $2500/ hr.

    I'll give this app a shot. Looks fun. 🙂

  • arnoldc

    My sentiment exactly. Bought the game at $3.99 and IAP is too much, only one basic plane to choose from....

    • Jake7905

      Yeah, I know how you feel, I got the game the week it was released for 4 bucks and it dropped to a buck the next day. But that's life on the App Store; one day you get a 5 dollar game for free, the next day a game you bought for 5 bucks goes free.

  • flashbackflip

    Thanx for great details. I think i will give it a try for 0.99 and try to avoid iaps


    Hmm...sounds like Bloons TD 5, which O already have. Passing in this one.

    • Stustaff

      It is as unlike bloons as it is possible to be whilst still being a TD game.

      • mr_wexer

        Yeah Bloons is like the less attractive sister of Pirate Legends.

  • Bzzz

    The biggest problem with this game is - it's short. 10 maps with no replayability is a shame for TD.

  • Mxlplx

    Totally worth the $.99! Yes it's just a pirate themed kingdom rush, but I like this one better. The graphics are lush and just beautiful, and create a sense of peace with their soothing tones. Gameplay is fun and not a pushover. I do wish iap were not so prominent but you don't really need them, but you do want them! And pirates! Where's the rum!?

Pirate Legends TD Reviewed by James Paterson on . Rating: 4