If you're new to CCCP, or you don't bother to read many reviews, you're probably not aware that we reviewed Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates a couple of years ago. At that time it was only available via downloading but since Ubi Soft has picked it up it's going to be distributed to the masses the way that it should have long ago.

Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates is a great game that every puzzle fan should consider. It's unlike anything you've ever played before. You enter into a persistent online community that is made up of pirates and pirate-related characters. It's kind of like a RPG but without the nerds. Instead of killing characters for experience points, you solve puzzles with other members of your community to gain money and further a common cause. Players that you encounter don't take things too seriously. There is a deep vein of humor that feeds the seven seas. It's all in good fun.

A lot of the puzzles that you encounter will be variations of Tetris-based variations. There are some that are totally different but I won't spoil the fun. Suffice to say that there are a lot of different puzzles that you will encounter, although many you will replay for obvious reasons.

Puzzles are your challenge and your lifeblood. They provide you with work and will reward you if you're successful. At first you're going to have to work in the community that you live. The puzzles you encounter will depend on the occupation you choose. You might become a clerk, a cleaner or a pharmacist just to name a few occupations. Once you've established yourself on land you will want to take to the seven seas. Plundering jobs are posted on the bulletin board. Find a crew of fun-loving swashbucklers and you're on your way.

You begin your high seas adventure as only a part-time employee. If you're good, you'll probably be asked to join the crew full-time. Plundering amounts to attacking another ship in an effort to steal its precious cargo. Once you enter into battle you will continue to play your puzzle while the navigator tries to avoid obstacles and cannon balls. Everyone on board has a different job, henceforth a different puzzle to perform. The stronger ship can invade the weaker one which will plunge all players into another Tetris-style game in which you can clear blocks and send swords crashing down into your opponent's playfield.

Yohoho does stress teamwork, especially at the beginning of the game. There is no other way to advance your character. Eventually you will get greedy and want to strike out on your own. We call that capitalism. The only way to do this is to save your money and eventually purchase a ship of your own. Once you're in business you will still need a crew so you're always going to intact with other characters both socially and for business purposes. You'll be supplying jobs which will help boost your community's economy.

The puzzles aren't difficult, nor are they long. I think they are perfect the way they are. You won't get stuck on too many of them and you won't be wasting time learning tons of rules and control commands. Some strategy is required. Each puzzle will have a rating stat so that you can improve your speed and accuracy over time.

This game won't take up much space on your PC. You could probably even run it on a 486 with no ill effects. The program is Java based with nice cartoonish graphics and well designed, colorful puzzles. The characters are cute but not in a sickening way. They look like those Lego Star War characters but only in pirate gear.

For twenty bucks you will get access to the online game for one month. From then on it's less than ten bucks a month. If that sounds a little steep you will at least get your money's worth for the first month if you're looking for something to do over the upcoming summer holidays.

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System: PC
Dev: Three Rings
Pub: Ubi Soft
Release: May 2005
Players: Multi-Online
Review by Shelby