Puzzle Pirates is a free-to-play pirate-themed MMO (Who would've guessed?) developed and published by Three Rings Design. Puzzle Pirates tries to do away with grinding and base the gameplay heavily on the community and puzzles, while stepping away from many other traditional MMO elements.
System - 9/10
Just about any computer will run Puzzle Pirates if it was made in the last decade. There are many servers, all being stable, as well as the game itself. There are a ton of options for you to adjust to your preferences, pretty much all the bases are covered. The only real annoyance is the interface navigation can be overwhelming, clustered, and possibly, archaic.
Graphics - 6/10
The graphics are very dated, and they haven't aged very well. I suppose the saving graces would be the fact that it's all very consistent, the interface looks nice despite its simplicity, and the puzzles look great.
Gameplay - 18/20
Puzzle Pirates simply has a massive amount of content. There is an absurd amount of things to do as a pirate, and the line separating the "end-game" of it is blurred.
Nothing like dusty old graphics.
For starters, the vast amount of the game revolves around puzzles. Sword fighting, cannon loading, professions, hunting for treasure, everything is done with puzzles. Skill and luck are the only factors which determine how well you'll do a task. You take on the role of a pirate, and do many things you would expect a pirate to do. Pillage, gamble, drink. But there's much more on top of that, you can set up your own shop, create your own house, become the governor of your an island, trade supplies, battle sea monsters, tailor, forge, and far, far more.
Equipment is almost purely aesthetic with the exception of a few, which simply alter the way you play in puzzles. You have two ranks for each puzzle, one for your experience, and the other for your skill in it. Mostly, they're just statistics, though in a few cases they will directly impact what you can and can do. All shops are player owned, and all items either must be created by other players, or found by exploring islands, hauling in treasure, and so forth. Even towns are player owned in a sense.
Guilds take the form of pirate crews in this game, and arguably are the most important aspect of the game. After all, this game is about pirates! For the most part, you'll help on ships with your crew or other players, where the performance of the ship is directly related to how well everyone performs their puzzles on the ship, and their teamwork. Crews can also band together to form a type of "guild" to work together.
While most of the puzzles have a purpose, there are still some which can be played just for fun, or gambled on, like card games. Tournaments can be held by players, and there is a sorts of statistics and leaderboards for competition between players. If the rest of the content wasn't enough, there are even achievements, awards, trophies, whatever you call them, available to obtain in the game for competition.
It's ok if I suck at this, I have dozens of other puzzles to excel at!
Puzzle Pirates has two types of servers. One for subscription-based players, and the other for free-to-play ones. The one for the free-to-play players have certain features locked, but unlockable via a sorts of cash shop. The currency used for the cash shop can either be bought with real money, or in-game cash. In addition, some parts of the game will have an additional fee, requiring the cash shop currency. Because the cash shop currency is sold and bought by players, this system works pretty well, the cash shop currency to in-game currency ratio is quite reasonable.
I gave a very small gist of the gameplay, but if I were to explain all of it in detail, I'd be here all night, believe me.
Audio - 6/10
There is virtually no background music in Puzzle Pirates, and the amount of sound effects are few and far between. While there is appropriate sound effects in the right places, and they occur where and when needed, there is just so little, and they become quite bland after a while.
If you don't mind or enjoy puzzles, like the pirate theme, or want a community based game, Puzzle Pirates is worth a look, so long as you can stomach its aged look and archaic systems. Puzzle Pirates has to be one of the top MMOs on the list in regards to content, there really is that much to do in the game!
Overall - 39/50