Fandel Mulkey On June 7, 2011 at 10:59 am

10-135-54-27-image13The Lego series of games have been going on for for the past few years now. Starting with the original Lego Star Wars and continuing on with Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, one constant trend to these games is just how consistent they have been in terms of quality: None of the games in this series are what I would consider AAA quality; at the same time none of the games really manage to fall in to the mediocre category as well. You have to hand it to Travelers Tales for being consistent over the years when it comes to the quality of this franchise.

As for Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, like its predecessors won’t win any game of the year awards; nevertheless it’s an above-average action adventure game that’s perfect for all ages. Actually being a game suitable for kids works heavily in its favor, since most games aimed at kids are — to put it bluntly — crap. The game encompasses all four movies within four sections on a main hub world. Later as you gain golden blocks, you can unlock more sections which will allow you to gain access to upgrades for your characters (provided you have enough money or course).

As for the gameplay itself, if you played the past Lego games, you pretty-much know what to expect: slash-and-bash your enemies while solving mostly simple puzzles using multiple characters. Each character has different abilities: Jack Sparrow has the ability to find your next objective, Elizabeth Swann can double jump, Will Turner has the ability to throw his axe at targets unlocking different paths, etc… You’ll also unlock multiple costumes for each character, though mostly it’s just cosmetic. The game does switch it up on occasion, for example: one level consists of a couple characters rolling around in skeleton-type spheres, while another level has you and another character switch around mirrors to light a fire. Another big plus is that you can go back to past levels with different characters and use their powers to find hidden sections, increasing the replay value.

That being said, the games biggest weakness (and arguably the only major flaw) is the controls. Often in the heat of battle, you’ll find yourself getting in a fight with your own teammate. While this itself isn’t a big deal (there’s no real penalty for dying or killing another character), another flaw that can get on your nerves is the jumping control. To put it bluntly, making jumps can be a pain in the neck as you’ll often end up missing the platform.

Most puzzles require cooperation of some kind, either by swapping between characters if you’re playing solo or with a friend via local co-op. If you’re expecting to invite someone on your friends list for some online co-op action, well think again as for some inexplicable reason, there is no online co-op (or any online mode) whatsoever. Considering how easy it is for another person to just jump in at any point in the game, the lack of co-op is kind of mind-boggling. Another fairly big knock is the lack of a checkpoint system. Once you select a chapter, you have to complete the entire level in order to save your progress. While the levels by themselves are not that long, if you’re the type of player that likes to linger around looking for every secret item, than it can be a small annoyance. Still, those those two issues are for from dealbreakers.

Other minor quibbles is the fact that the game mostly assumes you’ve already seen all the Pirates movies. The games story is told mainly through comedic jesters with no voice acting to speak of. Of course, this is nothing new as it’s been done before in past Lego games. Unfortunately, if you’ve never seen any of the movies like I have, you’ll find yourself scratching your head wondering what’s going on. To be fair, 99% of the people who’ll buy this game have already seen the movies so once again, it’s not a huge deal in and of itself.

Graphics are what you can expect: The game obviously isn’t taxing the hardware, although there are a few impressive aspects, mainly the ocean and the lighting effects are nicely done. The characters themselves look like past Lego characters with a shinny plastic gloss.

Overall what you have is a perfectly fine game that’s priced very well (about 20% cheaper than most new games), especially for parents who want a game to play with their children. You’ve got to hand it to Travelers Tales, they are consistent in providing a fun family game with a lot of replay value at a great price. While I wish they would go the extra step in including co-op as well as improving the control issues, neither manage to bring the final product down to the level of mediocrity that plagues most other licensed games.


While some parts of the game can on occasion drag on, there’s just enough varity to keep from getting bored. Controls themselves are an issue, but since there’s no real penalty for dying (you just lose a few coins) the slippery controls never become too aggravating.


Backgrounds look great and the characters look about as great as you can make Lego characters look. Nothing eye-dropping but overall visually the game is above average.


While the background music is great; the other sound effects pretty-much sound the same as past games, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Would like to have some voice acting but that’s nitpicking.


A solid game that’s perfect for families with children, both small and big alike. While there are a couple problems (mainly controls and lack of co-op) and a few quibbles (Story structure could have been done a little better; the ability to save mid-level), Lego Pirates of the Caribbean is still a fine game that’s well worth the price of admission.

One Response

  1. Netalie says:

    What a cute game, but it’s getting old. And where is the online play?