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Plunderland for iPhone- app review

Plunderland is Apple's App of the Week this week. Does it deserve it? Yes and no. Developer JohnnyTwoShoes has made a solid effort to bring pillaging across the sea in the hands of eager gamers.

The premise of Plunderland is you are a ghost with pirates that sail across the sea to attack and sink enemy ships, pillage tribes people and take money from their monuments then make it to the next port. Sounds fun? Well, get used to it because that is what you do over, and over, and over again with little variety. Call me a stinker, but I don't see the allure with this game.

Sure, the water physics are nice. You tilt the iPhone left or right to make your boat move in that direction. When there is a storm, etc, the water behaves in a more erratic manor, making maneuvering more difficult. Once you are on the high seas, you come across your enemy; the British warships. You have a couple ways to take them out. First is to use your ships cannon. You have a nifty way of angling the cannon to shoot your targets, just move your finger along the bottom and you will get a reticule via a line that helps your aiming. Release your finger and you fire your cannonballs. Second, you can use the enemies cannonballs against themselves. Before the enemy launches an attack, the cannon will puff smoke, that is your cue to ready your finger and deflect the cannonball back upon the enemy ship and with luck, split it in two!

I know, I make it sound exhilarating, and it is the first two or three times you do it. Sadly, Plunderland does little to keep your attention. Future attacks add blimps and more, but the fun is gone by that point. The attacking villagers is a simple "tap, tap. tap" on the totems to get money and fling some villagers around in an effort to extract some more dough. Again... zzzz...

There is nice upgrade system though, you can upgrade your ship, cannons and bowsprits by earning said money above. The game has excellent promise. The controls, physics and graphical style all lend them selves to a success. However, the bland  I really, really wanted to like this game, being highlighted on Apple's App Store, but alas, mateys, I just can't bring myself to recommend this lack-luster treasure.

[$2.99- iTunes Link (opens in new tab)]

UPDATE: I had a delightful Twitter chat with the developers. I explained that I had played 50% thorough the game and became unchallenged with the levels and objectives. They understood and are looking at a way to unlock the more exciting and complex levels earlier for more "hardcore" gamers. I also said that when I find the time to complete the game 100%, I would update this review to include my findings. I am hopeful that by the time I do this, they will have some new content available. You can follow the developer on Twitter here.


  • Great graphics
  • Solid frame-rate
  • Good physics engine
  • Upgrade system


  • Very, very, very repetitive
  • Takes a while to become a challenge (the end of the second chapter)

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Software trainer, blogger and mobile technology enthusiast living in the suburban Midwest.

  • Wow. First non-positive review I've read about this game.
    Btw, I think you spell-check in an excelelnt manor. ;)
    The game gets insanely hard and interesting. Theres tons of variety once you are out of the tutorial. That first campaign tells you what to do because if you havent played a game before, thats what you need.
  • This review couldn't have come at a better time. I was just thinking of downloading this game. I'll give it a try based on the positive part of the review. With it being free, it's not like I have anything to lose.
  • Thanks for the review. I was glad to see it because I'm in the "same boat", so to speak. It's kind of neat a few times but doesn't have any long-term appeal.
  • @David Levine: "With it being free"??? Something I am missing?? It's been $2.99 since launch.
  • The game does not show up in the app store when I search. What gives?
  • To those noting the demo level, if you listen to the audio I debate what level to pick for the video because it was "easy".
    I prefer to have a little more depth in my games. Great graphics and physics can't make up for this. I am looking forward to the new content promised from the developers.
    Regarding difficulty. I mention it gets harder too, it's just more of the same that it all.
    By all means, buy the game and enjoy. This review is just a reflection of my experience playing it.
  • The negative in the review talks of the games longevity, but the reviewer hasn't played the game very long.
  • As a reviewer on, I can say that it is pretty easy to judge a games longevity after playing it for 10-20 minutes. If after that amount of time you want to keep playing, the game has pretty decent replay value.
  • I had an interesting chat with the developers on Twitter. I will post an update or this post soon.
  • I'm not a fan of the game honestly because i think one of the levels is broken, literally. i've done everything and it won't pass me.
  • OH!!! where and how did you get the orange bumper case?!! i want one! looks sooooo nice!! :D
  • "First is to use your ships cannon" should be:
    "First is to use your ship's cannon" or
    "First is to use your ships' cannon"
  • i loved the release dates for the heist 2 :D the games here are organic man!
  • Dude, don't be a pu$sy and change your review cause the developer was pissed.
    Go with your first instinct; this game sucks.
  • I actually love this game! It is true that it can be short and quite easy, but Plunderland has a big potencial to became one on the best games on iPhone. Let's trust the developers and see what will happen. But honestly this needs a big update...
    Congratulations for the game!