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Republic of Pirates Review | A Swashbucklin' Success!

88
Story
8
Gameplay
9
Visuals
9
Audio
9
Value for Money
9
Price:
$ 25
Clear Time:
50 Hours
Republic of Pirates is a gleaming pearl among high-concept city-builders, a treasure that flies its pirate flag high without capsizing its gameplay. This game masterfully balances city-building and RTS thrills with a grounded but stylish captain’s swagger. Sure, the waters may get a bit choppy with a few crashes, but what’s a pirate without a pegleg and an eyepatch? Embrace the adventure, set sail, and revel in the buccaneer's way that Republic of Pirates so vividly brings to life. Avast, ye landlubbers, a new favorite awaits!

Republic of Pirates is a fun RTS city builder from PQube where you build, defend, and expand the perfect coastal pirate paradise during the Golden Age of Piracy. Read our review to see what it did well, what it didn't do well, and if it's worth buying.

Republic of Pirates Review Overview

What is Republic of Pirates?

Republic of Pirates is a swashbuckling, plank-walking, cannon-firing RTS city builder set during the Golden Age of Piracy in the mid-1600s. You play as the heir of the former leader of the now-dissolved Republic of Pirates, who was overthrown by three upstart pirate lords. Saved and mentored by your father's loyal right-hand man, your mission is to regroup, rebuild the fallen empire, and reclaim the Republic’s lost territories from the pirate lords' fleets. Though starting without a fleet may seem daunting, the rich resources of several islands are at your disposal, making it only a matter of time before you rise to power again.

Republic of Pirates features:
 ⚫︎ Robust city builder and RST mechanics
 ⚫︎ Beautiful character portraits and scenery
 ⚫︎ Detailed and ingenious tutorial through storytelling
 ⚫︎ Campaign and Free Play Modes
 ⚫︎ Various maps with different resource types and modifiers
 ⚫︎ Captivating pirate-themed soundtrack with real-life sea shanties

For more gameplay details, read everything we know about Republic of Pirates's gameplay and story.

Steam IconSteam Epic Games IconEpic Games
$24.49

Republic of Pirates Pros & Cons

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Pros Cons
Checkmark Improved Quality of Life
Checkmark Just Begging for Expansions
Checkmark A Bit Buggy Still
Checkmark Water Graphics Aren’t the Best

Republic of Pirates Overall Score - 88/100

Republic of Pirates is a gleaming pearl among high-concept city-builders, a treasure that flies its pirate flag high without capsizing its gameplay. This game masterfully balances city-building and RTS thrills with a grounded but stylish captain’s swagger. Sure, the waters may get a bit choppy with a few crashes, but what’s a pirate without a pegleg and an eyepatch? Embrace the adventure, set sail, and revel in the buccaneer's way that Republic of Pirates so vividly brings to life. Avast, ye landlubbers, a new favorite awaits!

Republic of Pirates Story - 8/10

I didn’t expect much of a story from a city-builder but Republic of Pirates’ RTS half came in clutch by giving it a vehicle for a story through naval battles and real-time conflicts. The standout feature of the game’s storyline is its refreshing departure from the typical treasure hunt trope. Instead, it embarks on a gripping quest for vengeance and justice, growing in complexity and scale as your settlements expand. It won’t win any writing awards, but a breath of fresh ocean air is always welcome.

Republic of Pirates Gameplay - 9/10

Republic of Pirates expertly captures the essence of classic city-builder mechanics. Its seamless performance and numerous quality-of-life features demonstrate the developers' commitment to creating an enjoyable experience. The game pays equal attention to the vertical progression of buildings and their horizontal expansion, while the logistical chains are impressive, especially given the naval setting. In short, it's an outstanding city-builder and an impressive RTS to (free)boot.

Republic of Pirates Visuals - 9/10

I appreciate the stylized realism of Republic of Pirates, which is high praise when the current aesthetic for pirates in the modern zeitgeist borders more on the fantastical thanks to Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The grimy oil painting look for the character portraits and the ramshackle look about the building assets paint a good picture of a semi-realistic pirate golden age I can’t compare to anything else.

Republic of Pirates Audio - 9/10

I expected sea shanties, and Republic of Pirates delivered them by the buckets. These aren’t just cheap knock-offs; they’re authentic, stirring sea shanties that transported me back to my AC Black Flag days. Additionally, the game features full voice acting, complete with accents that add a layer of authenticity and impressive voice work. The only area for improvement in the audio department is the battle music, which feels too generic compared to the game's otherwise stellar sound design.

Republic of Pirates Value for Money - 9/10

Republic of Pirates' price is on the far end of the ballpark for RTS and city-builders at almost $25 but it's an absolute steal when you consider what it's offering you in return. Quality city-building mechanics, great visual style, and amazing audio don't come cheap, but they can be as cheap as $25 dollars if you're willing to spare the doubloons. You won't be regretting this voyage!

Republic of Pirates Review: A Swashbucklin' Success!

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When I first heard about a pirate-themed city builder, I imagined it would resemble those old-school browser games on Facebook. I recall playing a few of those: stylized pirate games where building settlements took several real-life days, all designed to entice players into spending money. Nostalgia aside, Republic of Pirates offers a more grounded depiction of piracy, providing a captivating backdrop and style for its robust city-building and RTS mechanics.

So, ye landlubber, man those cannons, hoist the colors, and bring me that horizon. We’ve got one heck of an Arrr-TS city builder to review!

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I usually wouldn’t start with the narrative for an RTS or a city-builder, especially not for a combination of the two genres, but let’s get into the story of Republic of Pirates. Set in the mid-1600s, during the Golden Age of Piracy, the game thrusts you into a chaotic Caribbean teeming with rampant freebooting. Amidst the anarchy, a republic was formed among the pirates, striving to bring some semblance of order. However, this republic was short-lived as greed led three pirate lords to overthrow it and seize control of the Archipelago. You play as the heir of the ousted leader, tasked with regrouping, rebuilding, and reconquering the Archipelago to avenge your father and restore the republic.

Already, this is a great change of pace from the ostentatious and fantastical image pirates have gotten in recent years with Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies. While there's nothing inherently wrong with those kinds of stories—fantasy is my favorite genre, after all—I firmly believe that reality can be just as fascinating as fiction. The Golden Age of Piracy was certainly a time when real-life legends were made. It provides an excellent setting for a stylized yet grounded look into pirate life, which Republic of Pirates has leveraged effectively to create a compelling narrative.

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Great as it is, the narrative isn't the best part of Republic of Pirates, however. Beneath its grand story lies a robust and well-developed set of gameplay features and mechanics that I've long sought in a city-builder. The developers understood the pillars of good city builder design and adhered to them, adding a pirate theme afterward to create something truly special.

One of these pillars is ease of use, and the game excels in this area. The road tool is extremely responsive and adept at predicting where you want bends to go. It's accessible through a convenient city design wheel that also includes brushes for demolishing, upgrades, and selection. This suite of tools makes city expansion an absolute breeze and even something to look forward to. While it may lack the minute detail found in larger games like Cities: Skylines, the shared design space with the game’s RTS elements makes this achievement all the more impressive.

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Another crucial aspect of good city-builder design is the presentation of data. Without a way to quickly survey the finer details of your city, managing it can become a chore rather than an enjoyable experience. While Republic of Pirates doesn't feature line graphs or charts, it offers a comprehensive overview of your city's production, population, logistics, and assets.

Storehouses and depots provide clear summaries of your inventory, and the color-coded proximity lenses for amenities help you easily identify what is needed and where. Additionally, the floating overhead indicators on buildings are a great feature, simplifying the process of pinpointing and resolving bottlenecks in your production chain.

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Moving away from the game’s city-builder mechanics, let’s discuss the other half of its gameplay: naval RTS tactics. While it’s certainly outgunned by the game’s city-builder mechanics, Republic of Pirates’ RTS layer is no slouch. The controls are rather basic and the units aren’t as varied as you’d want from a normal RTS, but it plays rather solidly, especially in the context of pitched naval battles.

The game’s ease of use extends to this layer as well, with drag-and-select features for commandeering multiple units and a popup ability window for timing active abilities. Overall, despite your massive fleet, everything steers extremely well and there’s not a cannonball out of place when you’re defending your territories. I also appreciate that each ship is customizable down to its sail patterns, allowing you to identify your units at a glance and strategize accordingly.

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Moving on to the game's aesthetics, nothing captures the essence of high-seas piracy quite like a good oil painting. Every portrait, cutscene still, and title card in the game exudes an artisanal quality as if they were crafted by real-life canvas artists from the era. The style truly makes the game stand out, enhancing its overall quality and immersing players in its vivid, historical world (with a few liberties).

The game's exceptional quality shines through in its audio as well. Remember the sea shanty craze from a few years back? That's the same captivating charm I felt when "Randy Dandy-O" started playing. And that's just the beginning. The voice acting is phenomenal, featuring accents that perfectly capture the era. This game truly immerses you in its pirate world, going beyond the typical jolly rogers and cannons to deliver a deeper, more authentic pirate experience. There's really no other game that matches its rich, pirate-infused atmosphere.

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And that’s about it for Republic of Pirates. I see no point in calling it anything but a really well-made city-builder with RTS elements. Its aesthetics are fresh but not unfamiliar, and the execution of its gameplay is as layered as it is well-designed. If there's any reason to hoist the colors high, it's because you're engaging with one of the most enjoyable pirate-themed experiences in recent memory.

Pros of Republic of Pirates

Things Republic of Pirates Got Right
Checkmark Improved Quality of Life
Checkmark Just Begging for Expansions

Improved Quality of Life

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Improved quality of life is necessitated by a city-builder’s many moving parts. Without it, you’re better off balancing spreadsheets. Republic of Pirates, despite its stylings, smooths out the tedium of managing a city by giving succinct rundowns of your resources at a glance. It may seem like standard fare for city-builders to have that, but you’d be surprised how infrequently developers get it right. Sometimes it’s more charts than games and other times you have to rely on ancient instincts just to make heads or tails of your city’s production.

Just Begging for Expansions

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It's rare for me to say this about a game, but Republic of Pirates is just begging for an expansion. Don't get me wrong—the current content is excellent. However, there's room for more without it feeling bloated. I can easily imagine new ship types and maps being added in the future. As Ubisoft’s Skull & Bones demonstrates, there are countless pirate stories to tell, and Republic of Pirates has the potential to explore them while maintaining its grounded tone.

Cons of Republic of Pirates

Things That Republic of Pirates Can Improve
Checkmark A Bit Buggy Still
Checkmark Water Graphics Aren’t the Best

A Bit Buggy Still

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Although this game runs surprisingly well on older setups, I've encountered a few crashes, particularly during cinematics or when tabbing out of the game's window. There have also been a couple of bugs where the cursor disappears, only reappearing after a restart. Additionally, some developer placeholder names have slipped through quality control, especially on the Free Play map select screen. These issues don't reflect the overall quality of the game and can be easily fixed with a patch, but they're still worth mentioning.

Water Graphics Aren’t the Best

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It might seem oddly specific to bring up, but given the game's focus on building coastal settlements, not mentioning the water would be a disservice. I didn't expect anything extraordinary, especially since the game needs to stay accessible for lower-end setups, but the opaque and static ocean just falls shy of the rough seas I was imagining.

Is Republic of Pirates Worth It?

Worth Its Weight in Cursed Gold

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Republic of Pirates is only going for a bit under $25, which is far from treasure trove you'd expect for a game of this quality and right at the far end of the ballpark for city-builders and RTS games. Not only is this game's price par for the course for its genre, it's an absolute steal for what you're going to get in return. If you're a fan of pirates, RTS games, city-builders, or all three, then X marks this spot just for you.


Digital Storefronts
Steam IconSteam Epic Games IconEpic Games
Price $24.49


Republic of Pirates FAQ

How Many Maps are in Republic of Pirates’ Free Play Mode?

Republic of Pirates' Free Play Mode currently has two playable maps: Islas De Sangre and Volcano Isles.

How Do You Reassign Ship Captains in Republic of Pirates?

According to the game's tutorial, once a ship captain is assigned to a ship, they cannot be reassigned to another ship. If a captain's ship is destroyed, they are lost.

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Republic of Pirates Product Information

Republic of Pirates Cover
Title REPUBLIC OF PIRATES
Release Date June 20, 2024
Developer Crazy Goat Games
Publisher PQube
Supported Platforms PC (Steam, Epic Games)
Genre Action, Strategy, Simulation
Number of Players 1
ESRB Rating IARC 16+
Official Website Republic of Pirates Website

Comments

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