Review: Piracy 2.0

(I played this several times before and after ParserComp. Finally got round to writing a review. This made me feel like playing IF on my vintage GameBoy: Piracy 2.0 - Details (

Lots of fun despite a lack of “Arrr!”

The shame! The humiliation!
Tasked with escorting an infamous Space Pirate captain to justice, you now find yourself locked in the brig of your own vessel. The pirate crew intercepted your ship.
Oh, how to redeem yourself?

Breaking out of this cell would be a good start…

After doing just that in a very text-adventurely way, Piracy 2.0 opens up wide, both in terms of map-directions as in terms of options of which puzzle to tackle first.
It immediately becomes clear that this is a game above all else. There is a framing story about pirates, and there are discrete puzzles to solve, but this game managed to tickle my SuperMario-nerve more than any other IF I have played. After a few tentative tries, I was not playing to defeat the pirates anymore. I wasn’t even trying to solve puzzles for their own sake anymore. All that mattered was finding a succesful sequence of steps to navigate all these obstacles in a row for a victorious runthrough.

Pirate mooks jump up at random and shoot at you. If you get hit (randomly decided I think) you get wounded. You can get wounded a limited number of times (10, I think) and then you die.
Fortunately, if you jump against the right blocks in the ceiling, a heart pops out that heals you… Kidding, but there are objects to restore health in the game.

Exploring and mapping the spaceship takes time and restarts. So does experimenting and understanding what all the consoles and machines are for.
When you have done this preparatory work, it’s up to your brain to link up smaller plans into a big-picture attempt at victory.

Crucial in this will be a console where you can give commands directly to the ship. Options include flooding the cargo bays or beaming up Yoshi with the transporter beam…

Once you confirm one of these options, a countdown starts. From then on, you have only so many turns to make your final and decisive moves.
If you have done your preparation right, maybe you will return to your superior officers and your family as an honoured hero. Of course, if you botched it you will float namelessly into the depths of space.

I have replayed this game more times than I have any other piece of IF, precisely because it hits the same buttons as a hard level in Mario Bros. The downside is that I couldn’t care less about the backstory or the subtlety of writing. I was playing the system, not the surface-story. The first few times you start up Mario, you might notice the pretty green pyramids in the background. After a few failed runthroughs, you don’t notice such superficialities any more.

Surprisingly addictive gameplay for an IF piece.

Oh, I did miss swinging on ropes with a knife between my teeth and a good round of swashbuckling under the Jolly Roger. I thought those were mandatory in a game with pirates.