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Best Pirate Games

We take a look at some of the industries most popular pirate games.

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Pirates seem to hold a lot of fascination for some people. Ever since the years of real pirates running all over the place, pirate media has been churned out by an eager public infatuated with the idea of pirates. Whether it’s ‘A General History of the Pyrates’ or Muppet’s Treasure Island, the world can’t get enough of salty sailors with regional accents, and apparently, that also applies to video games.

No matter what platform, or what era you look at, there’s plenty of games about pirates and a lot of them are amazing games to boot. So, if you’ve got a hankering for some sea-salt flavored adventures, then we’ve got you covered with our list of the best pirate games on the seven seas.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassins Creed IVBlack Flag

It’s a very mainstream answer, but Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is an absolutely top-notch pirate experience. Not only do you have the fun of your typical AC gameplay, but you also have an entire miniaturized section of the Caribbean sea to explore, as well as your own pirate ship and crew to do it with. Whether you’re into the rest of the series or not, AC4 did so much to really make the series feel fresh again, and a large part of that was to do with the ‘pirate’ parts of the game.

Your aforementioned ship and crew really lie at the heart of this adventure, and most of what you do off of the ship is in aid of making your time on the ship easier or more enjoyable. You can go and hunt down sea shanties to give your crew something different to sing as you sail from place-to-place, and can farm money to buy ship upgrades and cosmetic updates to make the ship your own. Then you hop onto your ship with a treasure map in hand, open up your sails and let the voices of your suspiciously harmoniously-voiced crew carry you over the seas.

A large part of the appeal of pirates, and of Black Flag, is freedom. Back in the day pirates joined the ranks normally because they were navy men who were fed up with the poor treatment. Here, the real joy comes from not being stuck on boring dry land with flags or chests to hunt down. You can relax as you sail around the wide-open space of the sea, go where you like, and hunt down or do whatever you want.

Sid Meier’s Pirates! (2004)

Sid Meiers Pirates 2004

Another well-known pirate title that really does deserve its place in the spotlight is Sid Meier’s Pirates. Sid Meier is a developer that is probably more well known for Civilization than anything else, but back in the 80s, he had one hell of a career with simulation games, including the original Sid Meier’s Pirates! which was released in 1987. While it never reached the heights of the Civ series, Pirates! Was successful enough to have been released or remade at least twice, with the most recent version coming in 2004, and offering an experience comparable, in many ways, to Black Flag despite being released 9 years earlier.

The main difference between AC4 and Pirates! Is the lack of land-based adventuring or hunting. Here, the real focus is on being a captain and managing your ship and crew as they take on enemy ships, receive plunder, sail through storms, and generally do all the stuff a pirate is supposed to do. As captain, you don’t just sit idly by either. You’re in full control during ship-to-ship combat, and even have to take on some enemy captains too if you’re following the main storyline.

Overall Sid Meier’s Pirates! is a game that is aimed more at a thoughtful approach to pirate gameplay. A lot of the game is controlled through menus when you’re not sailing, attacking a ship, or getting into a swordfight. You have to make trading decisions in menus, talk to governors in menus, and decide the fate of the enemy crew in menus as well. That’s not to say that there isn’t any action, but if you’re a high-octane sort of person, you’ll probably get a bit bored at times. Still, Pirates! is a classic pirate game for a reason.

Risen 3: Titan Lords

Risen 3 Titan Lords

If you want more action in your pirate games and you’ve already tried Black Flag, Risen 3 is a great game to consider for your next pirate adventure. Risen is a series of action RPGs about pirates in a fantasy world based on a section of the Caribbean sea. As a freshly whelped pirate, it’s up to you to journey the seas, having adventures, finding treasure, and usually fighting something big and nasty with magical powers, because what else are fantasy pirates supposed to be doing?

It’s sort of tough to pick between the 3 Risen titles, as each has its positives and negatives. In the end, Risen 3 is the standout game because it managed to fix some of the mistakes of Risen 2, and thanks to several enhancements since its release it’s still the easiest one to play to this day. It also has the most interesting plot, with Risen 1 being a relatively simple pirate yarn and Risen 2 being about trying to avert the apocalypse. Risen 3 is more about a world that is already mid-apocalypse, and you’ve just go to sort of deal with it.

All of the really great elements you need for a pirate-themed RPG are here. You have a skill tree for everything from sword-fighting to magic spells, you get into combat with everything from monkeys to skeletons, and of course, you can sail across the ocean searching for treasure and getting caught up in strange adventures and fighting both sea monsters and enemy ships. While it’s got much less of the ‘pirate simulation’ feel, this is certainly one worth checking out for anyone who’s looking for a more structured pirate adventure.

Pixel Piracy

pixel piracy

There’s a very good chance that you’ve not heard of this one, but it’s certainly worth an honorable mention when it comes to any list of best pirate games. Pixel Piracy is a rogue-like indie Pirate strategy game in which you must physically assemble your ship, find a crew, and sail around the sea as much as possible to become the best pirate you can possibly be.

Being an indie game, Pixel Piracy is certainly not at the top-tier in terms of graphics, but then again it does have Pixel right in the name. Most of the fun here comes from just how customizable everything is. You need to gather wood to make your ship, as wells as guns to defend it, supplies to keep your crew going, and places to keep all of your equipment. Rather than selecting from a pre-built list of ships or something like that, you actually get to make your ship in any shape that you like.

If you’re into rogue-like games you could potentially get hours and house out of this one, although the lack of a story and the over-reliance on procedural generation does hurt the game a little. The real reason Pixel Piracy is worth considering is because it offers an experience that no other pirate game has done to date.

Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves has had something of a rollercoaster reception. Many were excited for it when it first launched, then a little disappointed in the lack of content, then elated once again once more content was rolled out. Now, 3 years after it was initially released, Sea of Thieves is an incredibly enjoyable pirate adventure for those looking for a game you can play with your friends online.

One of the key features of Sea of Thieves that makes it stand out is the fact that every person on your crew has their own specific roles, or at least they do if you want your crew to function correctly. The bigger your ship is, the more people are needed to run it, and it can be incredibly hectic if you get into a battle with an enemy ship to see 4 other people running around the deck loading guns, bailing water, and doing all of the other stuff that you have to do when someone is launching big balls of iron at you.

A lot of the appeal of this game comes from its cooperative nature. You really are going on a pirate adventure with your friends, and on top of that you unlock things each time you play, but you’re not tied to a specific ship each time. Whenever you set sail for a session, you’re given a completely new ship depending on your crew size, so if you want to go solo for a while that’s totally an option. Plus there are a bunch of side-adventures you can go on as well, with the latest batch themed after the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. A great choice when it comes to a more social pirate game experience.

The Secret of Monkey Island

The Secret of Monkey Island

One of the grandaddies of pirate video games, The Secret of Monkey Island is an absolute classic from start to finish, and no list of great pirate games would be complete without it. Even if you’re not typically into point-and-click adventure games, Monkey Island has enough wit, charm, and humor to make playing the game an absolute joy for just about anyone, especially with the more enhanced versions of the game being easily available.

Monkey Island doesn’t feature your typically grizzled pirate as the main character, nor does it quite feature your fresh-faced youngster looking to become a pirate. Sure, your main character is trying to become a pirate, but honestly, the best description of Guybrush Threepwood (what a name) is probably ‘earnest, but a bit of a tit’. It’s basically your job to prove to the other pirates that you’re capable of becoming a great pirate, and in the process find treasure on a grand adventure.

The main draws of Monkey Island are the humor, the graphics, the sound, and actually the gameplay which is sort of surprising for a point-and-click title. In most cases, the gameplay is always the same. Click somewhere to go there, use various available methods to interact with objects, and solve puzzles to advance the story. Monkey Island certainly features that, but it also features another main element that’s just too much fun to ignore: insult-based sword fighting.

All of the melee combat in the game revolves around a battle of wits with your opponent. You can throw them off by coming up with good responses to their insults, with the victor being decided by who has the sharpest tongue. It’s a really interesting take on combat gameplay and hasn’t really been replicated since. Other than that, you can just enjoy the fantastic music, the awesome hand-drawn artwork that was translated into pixels, and of course the humor and charm of the various different characters that you come across. If you’re into pirate-themed games and you haven’t tried this game, or its sequels, yet, then you’re seriously missing out.

The Final Word

There are a surprising number of truly great pirate games out there, and we didn’t even get to touch on some of the more obscure stuff like Pirates of Black Cove or the awkwardly titled The Pirate series. Are there any pirate-themed games out there that we missed? Let us know what you’re thinking in the comment section below.

Monitor & PC Product Specialist AT WEPC

Charlie Noon


Charlie has been with WePC for nearly 5 years now, becoming a senior tech writer in 2021. He started off writing monitor and TV reviews, but quickly moved into a more affiliate-based role. After finishing College, Charlie pursued his joy of PC gaming by building several PCs for his favourite game, Counter-Strike. To this day, Charlie continues to enjoy gaming and PC building inside and outside of the office.


Charlie started his career with BGFG after a long 5-year stint traveling Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. While he could have pursued a further career in the building trade, he decided to delve into the world of PC gaming and journalism. Being a keen gamer and PC builder, it was easy to transition between the two industries. After showcasing a real joy for both writing and PC building, he was moved into a more senior position, which he continues to hold to this day.


Charlie completed his A levels at Culcheth College. After, he took a 5-year break to travel and work overseas.