From Funday Factory comes Scallywags, a game of hijinks on the high seas. The story goes something like this: you are a pirate walrus, and a bunch of undersea-ish creatures attack you and steal all of your swag. Now you must battle them and their minions in order to get it back. Epic, right? Well, it’s to be expected with the caliber of the game in general.
They’ve Stolen Me Booty!
The idea of Scallywags is that you shoot all of the enemies with your cannon, and gather the swag that they leave behind, which can be used for various purchases. Different numbers, types, and configurations of enemies will pop up on all sorts of different platforms, and you take them out as quickly as you can, lest they escape. Every once in a while one will fire a cannonball at you, and you must take that out before you are hit by it. Some enemies are a bit stronger, and take multiple shots to kill.
There is also ever so slight an amount of strategy, in that some of the platforms have TNT barrels attached to them. You can fire on these to take out the platform and the enemy on it quickly, but it will scare away other scallywags that aren’t affected by it. So you have to pick and choose when you will fire on these. Also, each level has some extra objectives, like letting a certain number of scallywags go, or not firing on any TNT, so these might make you think a bit.
The Music of the Sea
I was immediately impressed by the music. By the time I started actually firing cannonballs at scallywags, I had heard three different songs. This is not the norm for games these days, which is kind of a pet peeve of mine. It can get a little old listening to the same song over and over again. I’m not saying that there need to be 25 different songs in a game, but there should be some variety. I think back to the days of Tetris; there were only three songs, but that was enough. They were different enough and of good enough quality that you didn’t need more than three. Anyway, back to Scallywags. Suffice it to say I was pleased with the music. The sound effects, while not as great as the music, weren’t bad either.
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The graphics are not exactly breathtaking though. They’re colorful and have a fun feel to them, but wouldn’t stand out in a crowd. The textures are plain, and the water and smoke effects are weak at best. Enemies are the same for the most part, though the bosses are more creative and look a little better. The menus and maps look good, but the in-game graphics are pretty average. What did stand out were the explosion effects. They looked really nice, but obviously were gone as soon as they popped up. They’re actually much easier to appreciate in the screenshots.
The controls work just fine. To fire on a scallywag, all you have to do is tap on it. To target multiple scallywags, you swipe across them, and your cannon will fire on them in the order in which you dragged your finger over them. This works especially well. One thing that became a little frustrating was that tapping on the swag that scallywags leave behind is difficult. For some reason, it didn’t work about 50% of the time. I would tap repeatedly on swag as it fell away, but to no avail. What I inadvertently found out (since the tutorial didn’t clarify this), was that swiping over swag was a much more effective way to gather it.
The Pirate’s Life is a Dreary One
Scallywags is mindless; all you do is tap on enemies as they pop up. I thought that as the game progressed, and more enemies were on the screen at a time, it would become more challenging. What actually happened was it devolved into me wildly swiping my finger around the screen to shoot everything. The game was arguably more difficult when it was easier. This sounds counterintuitive, but because of how the controls are designed, it’s true. With the 3-star system (made popular by Angry Birds), additional objectives for each level, and the ability to upgrade cannons, ships, and buy power-ups, there is a little bit of replay value. Unfortunately, many of the upgrades cost you so much swag that you’d have to play the game for way too long in order to buy them, which kind of kills a good chunk of the aforementioned replay-ability.
Scallywags is free, so I guess I can’t really complain too much. But I will anyway. The gameplay is fun for a short period of time, but won’t hold you for that long. Great music is about all it has going for it. There are better free games out there to spend your time on.