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Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum

Pirates Lite is a fun three-level preview of Pirates: Sea Battle 2, a nautical-combat arcade game in which you fight enemy ships with cannons and boarding parties.

Pirates Lite is a fun three-level preview of Pirates: Sea Battle 2, a nautical-combat arcade game in which you fight enemy ships with cannons and boarding parties.

The game has an easy-to-learn, two-thumb touch-screen interface: you move and steer your ship with a spinning steering wheel under your right thumb, while firing cannons with your left thumb. To fire on an enemy ship, you want to turn around to broadsides (so the side of your ship is facing your target), then press the cannon button to fire some or all of your guns. Status meters on each ship--including your own--show health, crew, and number of cannons ready to fire (which regenerates slowly over time), so much of the game is spent in cat-and-mouse evasion as you try to minimize your vulnerability while your cannons reload. You can also board an enemy ship by ramming into it, to either destroy it or capture it for gold, but your crew meter doesn't replenish during a level, making this a limited tactic. Ships destroyed by your cannons leave gold behind, which you can swoop in to pick up.

Overall, the game and its interface are convincing and involving, no doubt helped by excellent nautical sound effects. You can also pay gold for three-stage upgrade paths on your hull, speed, damage, number of cannons, and crew size, but these don't come into play very much in the lite version. Confusingly, there is also another free preview version of Pirates: Sea Battle 2 that is less revealing, called Battle of Corsairs--but it only lets you play two levels, requiring you to then pay to unlock individual "level packs" (or to buy more gold for upgrades).

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