Video Game / Puzzle Pirates

Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates is an MMO created by Three Rings, Inc. In it, players take the role of Pirates in a cartoonish world. The game is divided into a number of servers, called Oceans; each Ocean consists of a number of islands separated into archipelagos; within this framework, players can partake in a number of activities, from sailing the high seas with fellow pirates in search of treasure, to working in or even owning and operating shops, to playing classic games like Hearts and Poker.

What makes this game unique is that all of its major tasks, from sailing a ship to distilling rum, are staged in the form of Puzzle Games. These include things like Match Three Games (for tasks like pumping the bilge water out of a ship, digging for treasure, or hauling it from a shipwreck), Falling Blocks (operating a ship's sails, as well as Swordfighting, in the vein of Super Puzzle Fighter), pattern-matching games (shipbuilding, for instance), and other, more exotic fare.

Another hallmark of the game is that its economy is almost entirely player-driven: players buy or forage commodities from islands, sail them back to their shops, and use them to manufacture goods using player-provided labor. This results in the game economy being remarkably similar to that of the real world.

This game contains examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Carpentry and Patching repair the ship's overall damage, while in a real-life scenario a carpenter would repair the ship's hull while a patcher would patch the sails.
  • Allegedly Free Game: While you can certainly get a lot out of the game without ever paying a cent especially if the standard duty puzzles are your favorites, you'll need to pay if you want to play puzzles beyond those basic duty puzzles more than 2-3 specific days a week, buy better than entry-level weapons for swordfighting and rumbling (which do matter, as they affect your drop pattern), have any sort of standing within a crew, own a ship, or even buy most kinds of clothing.
    • However, as noted below in the Bribing Your Way to Victory entry, Doubloon oceans allow premium currency to be purchased with regular game currency, enabling effective free play for some extra effort.
  • Amusing Injuries: When a ship sinks, everyone on it has a chance of getting either a Seadog Peg Leg, an eyepatch, a Hook Hand, or a starfish stuck to their face. These can be removed using special potions, but they're frequently seen as badges of honor among the playerbase.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • In the carpentry puzzle, you are allowed to adjust a piece if you had misplaced it slightly.
    • Two of the three aspects of the ship that need to be maintained (Speed and Damage) have two puzzles you can do. For example, if the captain needs you at Sailing but you're bad at Sailing, you can try Rigging instead. Or if you keep cutting the sails in half during Patching, you can do some Carpentry to compensate. Bilge only has Bilging, but it's the simplest puzzle in the game (and the first one you have to learn).
  • Anti Poop-Socking: In the form of humorous messages during extended sessions.
  • Almighty Janitor: You can be an exceptionally skilled bilge rat who keeps the water levels very low even during a sea battle, and if that isn't enough, you can be an able swordfighter/brawler too!
  • But Thou Must!: Fairly justified in this case. If you try to kick a Yeti from a portrait during a Yeti sighting excursion, you will be prevented from doing it with the message "For your own safety, please refrain from kicking the Yeti."
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Doubloon Oceans use Doubloons as a premium currency, which needed to buy most high-end goods. Players can exchange regular currency for Doubloons, but that leads to players with money to burn buying lots of doubloons and making a killing off of selling them to others.
    • You can get an advantage in Drinking by buying a better cup from a distillery (you get a wooden cup by default, even if it isn't visible). Every cup but one lacks negative side-effects. Defied by most players and tournaments by disabling the option to bring your own cup in, and thus sticking to a wooden cup.
    • However, some things cannot be simply bought, such as high puzzle standings, trophies, and skill at certain aspects of the game, so Bribing Your Way to Victory is only possible for some definitions of "victory".
  • Breakable Weapons: Clothing and weapons last for a set amount of login days, ranging from a month to several. This can be avoided by putting the item into a wardrobe or rack when it is not in use.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Or "Cheating Savior" in this case. The Black Ship flat out cheats, moving through blocking terrain and doing several other things players can't do.
    • Otherwise averted by every other NPC.
  • Dem Bones: Skeletons.
  • Difficulty Spike: The first few star difficulty levels of Bilging are quite easy to get a high ranking for your duty report in, oftentimes the RNG will be very kind to you and give you free chains as it generates more blocks. But the moment you gain enough experience that the game adds a sixth type of block to the rotation maintaining high scores in Bilging requires considerably more skill at identifying large potential combos with minimum moves made. It does get a little bit easier when the game throws in the 3x3-area-clearing blowfish and the crabs that give you a fairly high amount of points for clearing, but that time spent during 4 star difficulty is definitely going to see a lot of Fair, Poor, and even Booched scores for newer players.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • If you attempt to send a 'tell' to yourself, you will be informed that "talking to oneself is a sign of impeding insanity".
    • If you involve any wager in a puzzle challenge with a teacher during a challenge mission, they will refuse. For a good reason.
      Teacher (name varies): Teachers don't wager, matey. T'wouldn't be professional, like!
  • Dressed to Plunder
  • Drop-In Nemesis: The Black Ship. Pound on weaker players too often, and it'll show up to kick your ass to Hell and back.
  • Fan Nickname: Skeletons are nicknamed Skellies.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Despite the existence of shipboard cannons and gunpowder, there are no personal firearms in the game.
  • "Far Side" Island: In the early years of the game, each new character began by being rescued off one of these, receiving a Justified Tutorial on the way to the nearest port.
  • Fog Feet: Ghosts.
  • Hat of Authority: Certain hats are restricted to officers and up, and only royalty can wear crowns. Also, each non-boss computer-controlled enemy ship has exactly one pirate with a hat, which is often thought to be the "captain" of said ship (though the belief that they should be eliminated first or last is widely considered to be an Urban Legend of Zelda).
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]
  • Hook Hand: You may get one after sinking with a ship.
  • Horny Vikings: Both the Brigand Queen Brynhld Skullsplitter and the antagonists in a recently-released type of expedition.
  • An Interior Designer Is You
  • Lord British Postulate: El Pollo Diablo, the Black Ship which appears to punish players for attacking ships significantly weaker than themselves, is meant to be undefeatable. It has been defeated several times, and each time the developers have given it a major upgrade. It is currently undefeatable in its third upgrade.
  • Obvious Beta: Most releases follows a predictable pattern: A version of the release is put on the test Ocean (read: server), Ice. Several bugs and glitches are found. Some of them are patched; some of them are not, despite being pointed out on the game forums. Then the features are released to the production Oceans, where the playerbase deals with the unpatched bugs and discovers even further bugs. Several emergency bugfix releases follow.
  • Pirate Booty: Obviously.
  • Pirate Parrot: Are occasionally offered as prizes in competitions run by the developers. (Other shoulder-mounted pets obtainable as competition prizes include monkeys and, for some reason, octopi.)
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: semi-averted. There's plenty of pillaging and treasure-thieving to be had, but no one ever gets killed. Given the target audience and the fact that it's an MMO, this is not surprising.
    • When the war mechanic was first introduced, it was highly controversial, as many players didn't want to sink other players' ships or conquer their islands.
    • There are more than a few players who only play the card games.
  • Puzzle Game: It's called "Puzzle Pirates", what did you expect?
  • Real Time with Pause: The Simultaneous Turn-Based "Battle Navigation" puzzle is this.
  • Rule of Fun: "Fun > Realism" is frequently invoked and mentioned as the underlying design principle used for every part of the game.
  • Seadog Peg Leg: If your ship is sunk in battle, there's a certain probability that you'll end up with a peg leg.
  • Shout-Out: Very many, including to all the obvious candidates like Monkey Island and Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Natch. NPCs always do, and there's even an option to filter swear words and replace them with piratey swears. Encouraged but optional for players.
  • Third Eye
  • Training Dummy: Dummies can be ordered from a furnisher and named after any pirate. When placed in a scene, you can brawl against the dummy and it will copy whomever you named it after. Fighting dummies does not grant rewards or affect your puzzle standing, so it's only good for practice.
  • Treasure Map: It's sometimes possible to obtain maps that unlock special areas of the game — which, yes, generally involve an opportunity to load up on treasure.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Swear words are, by default, replaced with various nautical/piratey terms. These Unusual Euphemisms have thus crept into the language of long-time players, who'd use them in places like crew names and forums.
  • Vendor Trash: Fruit - albeit useful in theory, since IRL it would keep you from getting scurvy.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: El Pollo Diablo is an NPC ship that appears when you attack a significantly weaker ship and will fight in place of the attacked ship. It cannot be damaged or grappled, goes through obstacles, gets 4 moves each turn (unlike other ships the same size), and knows your every move. After inflicting full damage on your ship, it will grapple you and you will fight 159 skellies. If it wins, it takes everything except 5 of the lowest quality rum you have.
  • Walk the Plank: Ship captains are able to hand out this punishment to crew members who are being particularly unpleasant. (In line with the game's no-death policy, they'll immediately wash ashore on the nearest island, but it means you don't have to put up with them for the rest of the trip and they miss out on collecting a share of the booty at the end of it.) A captain can even inflict this on himself. Somehow.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: This is one as far as MMORPGs are concerned. Do work for the navy, or become a member of a pirate crew. Gamble at the Inn or do work for the stalls. It is a very player driven economy, so there are plenty of things to craft.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: In loving detail. Even the pirates act more like privateers.

"Did you hear the cannon shots last night?"