From engaging in cannon battles to finding lost treasure, this 2D pirate simulator allows you to partake in all kinds of nautical activities. No one can accuse creator Sebastian Nigro of not being ambitious enough.
You start by creating your pirate. The character creation screen is neat, with a diverse choice of options including gender, skin colour, hair-styles, and clothing such as various pointy hats. This is a good place as any to talk about the art style. I really liked how Don’t Sink looks. It’s full of big, blocky pixels reminiscent of the Amiga era. Sebastian Nigro has done a really good job of injecting loads of character into his sprite work, too, and each island has its own tone and style.
Particularly pleasing are the snowy islands to the eastern side of the world map. The soundtrack is also nicely “shantyfied” – a word I just made up.
Talking of that map, the world consists of 14 islands. During the course of the game, you’re going to be sailing to and fro, buying food to keep your crew fed, gaining new recruits from the tavern, sourcing wooden planks and cloth to keep you afloat, and talking to people (and rodents!) to take on missions.
Most of the missions come in the form of delivery jobs, shuttling goods from one island to the next. 21 additional story missions also feature, with lovely and witty bits of dialogue. Shame the missions themselves aren’t particularly complex.
While sailing to islands random encounters occur. You could find a desert island, be attacked by gulls, or be forced to confront an enemy vessel. The problem is, none of these elements are engaging. Let’s take the battles as an example. During a battle you have four options: fire your cannons, retreat, repair your ship or board the enemy vessel. Each is denoted by a direction on the left stick. Holding one of the directions charges that option, when it’s charged, you can use it.