Many have said the Nintendo 3DS’s 3D function is a bit of a gimmick and up until now I would probably have agreed with them, well I say “up until now,” because I have now found a game which actually makes great use of the third dimension.
Perhaps it will come as no surprise that the game I am talking about is LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, no surprise since one of the very first titles for the 3DS, LEGO Star Wars III, was also one of the best.
Pirates picks up from where LEGO Star Wars left off, entertaining us with highly amusing cut scenes and plenty of comical moments during the action too, albeit with a Pirate theme. The game starts off with an introduction to Pirates of the Caribbean, letting you get to know the characters briefly by watching a cut scenes and completing a mission, before the game unlocks and places you in the main port. The port is the main hub, which those familiar with previous LEGO games will be used to. Within the port players have access to the Tavern (shop), the Tailors (Character creation) and the Souvenir shop (where you can view unlocked models you have collected).
The Dock is the main adventure area, allowing you access to the four movie based levels – Curse of the Black of the Pearl, Dead Man’s Chest, At the World’s End and On Stranger Tides. As usual, as you play through each level you will unlock the freeplay mode for each, which in turn will allow you to go back in with the different characters you collect throughout the game and fill your boots with all the unlockables on offer.
The story mode is obviously the main attraction in LEGO Pirates, allowing you to work your way through the lovingly recreated scenes of Pirates of the Caribbean with a number of characters in tow. Each character you come across in this swashbuckling adventure has their own unique ability, therefore it’s up to you to find the right person or animal for the job. I say animal because in LEGO Pirates you have all sorts of furry creatures at your disposal in exchange for a treat. These range from dogs, parrots and donkeys to the cheekier monkey variety.
As well as coaxing the animal kingdom to help you in your task, you have plenty of your own skills up your sleeve depending on the characters in your possession. These abilities include ranged weapons, the ability to jump higher, grapple and then there is Jack Sparrow, who can fire weapons, use swords and also use a compass to find hidden treasure. Of course this wouldn’t be Pirates without swordplay a plenty and that there is. Throughout the game you will decapitate enemies and even take part in little swashbuckling mini games against boss characters, where the screen zooms in and you are asked to follow the button prompts in order to take them down.
LEGO games usually have you building and searching all over the place in order to progress and this one is no different, and of course there are hidden coins, ship bottles and red bricks to find, as well as the LEGO studs which you will need to find to complete the level entirely and become a true pirate.
The main disappointment is the lack of co-op, although this is never easy to implement into a handheld game in any case. There are some social features available for you to test out such as Nintendo’s excellent Street Pass, which in LEGO Pirates sees two passing players carry out a Pirate Duel to gain experience points, allowing you to move up ranks and earn rewards such as extra health, new moves and extra characters.
As mentioned the 3D effects in LEGO pirates work really well and although they are quite subtle within the action having an extra dimension really helps you out sometimes. The 3D effects come into their own during the cut scenes as watching in 3D as Jack Sparrow gets up to all sorts of mischief really makes you laugh out loud.
LEGO Pirates on 3DS is great example of a game developed correctly for the handheld device. It has high production values, is action packed and even better, it will make you laugh. There is no doubt that this game makes the most of the 3DS’s features. Don’t miss this game because it’s truly wonderful and hats off to Travellers Tales and Disney for bringing it to us.
You can order LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean for Nintendo 3DS here.