Crimson: Steam Pirates iPad review

Crimson: Steam Pirates iPad review

The only thing cooler than pirates, with the possible of ninjas and samurai, is Steampunk Pirates. Combining golden age Victoriana with swashbuckling and good old fashioned naval warfare is a fantastic premise for a game... and the art direction practically draws itself.

It would be difficult for a game starring steam pirates to be anything but excellent. And with the newly formed indie angel Bungie Aerospace handling the publishing, you know that Crimson is going to be a very special little app indeed.

Stepping into the britches of the suave and dashing Captain Blood, players will embark on a turn-based adventure on the dangerous high seas. The British Empire is ripe for the plunder, and upon entering a mission, you'll be thrust into a two dimensional aquatic battlefield that plays out like a cross between Flight Control and Heavy Mach.

Crimson: Steam Pirates iPad review

Plotting a course for your vessels is as simple as dragging a vector across the screen, with your gunners independently targeting enemies and firing broadsides the foes within range. Intelligently manoeuvring your ship into positions where it can fire on targets without exposing vulnerable areas is a nuanced skill that you'll learn over time, with expertise increasing at a considerate clip thanks to a well-balanced difficulty curve.

There's more to Crimson: Steam Pirates than that, naturally. Enemy vessels can be boarded and captured, and an array of crew abilities let savvy captains repair or augment their ship on the fly. Aircraft and submarines soon add exciting new literal levels to the battles, which become as tense and tactical as any PC or console outing. The storyline is also surprisingly engrossing and will keep you glued to your tablet.

Crimson: Steam Pirates iPad review

In an excellent (if cynical) masterstroke, the first episode of Crimson: Steam Pirates is absolutely free to download and play. It's fairly short, but provides an excellent grounding in the skills and cunning you'll need to succeed. The second (and much longer) episode represents exceptional value for money thanks in part to impeccable level of polish.


  • Unique, exciting gameplay
  • Polished production values
  • Impressive art direction
  • The first episode is free


  • No online multiplayer
  • No Steam Ninjas

Summary: Crimson: Steam Pirates is slick, unique, polished and brilliantly good fun. And the first episode is free. Off you go ho ho, then.

Developer: Hairbrained Schemes

Publisher: Bungie Aerospace

Compatibility: Compatible with iPad

Price: FREE - App Store

Crimson: Steam Pirates iPad review

Read more about: Apple iPadiOS

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