Pirate Legends

LQ: 8.9


Brain grade: 8.6
Fun score: 9.2

pirate legends game review image 1
Game Type: ESRB Rating: N/A Platform/Console: , LWK Recommended Age: 8+ Thinking Skills Used: ,


Grab your eyepatch and captain’s gear because it’s time to set sail on a dangerous quest to attack, defend against, and loot enemies. This is an uphill battle – you’ll be fighting against waves of the British Navy, hordes of undead souls, and even hungry, cannibalistic tribes. Pirate Legends is a nautical version of tower defense games, where strategy and organization is of utmost importance and ultimately becomes the difference between victory and defeat. As Captain, you must lead the way one battle at a time, strategically placing towers and calling upon powerful (and sometimes supernatural) assistance from heroes and magical shaman. If you want to stand a chance, you can’t forget to continually upgrade towers and defenses, as the enemies just keep getting stronger! Do whatever it takes to protect your gold and collect the enemy’s loot. The game features only cartoon violence but does require the player to read basic tower descriptions. Considering the use of this academic skill, Pirate Legends is recommended for players 8 and older.




Arranging and coordinating materials in order to complete a task.

photo-3-1In the game, success hinges upon a tactical and well thought out organization of available resources and defenses. There are 20 unique towers - each with their own strengths and weaknesses. It's up to the player to consider such factors, in combination with the types of expected enemies, in order to protect his ship and it's loot. For example, a cannon tower disperses damage over an area, while a gunner tower singles out its targets. Therefore, placing cannon towers where groups of enemies are likely to aggregate (such as the "entrance" to the pathway) is more helpful in defeating hoards of enemies. However, a gunner tower is effectively used where he might expect to find a few lucky enemies that made it past the initial assault by the cannon towers. In this case, the gunner is not overwhelmed by enemies and can single out targets. When towers are organized to work together, the results are even more beneficial. For instance, chemical towers slow down enemies, so placing a chemical tower next to a weapon tower (such as a cannon) makes it even easier to take out more foes. Also, the player will want to pay attention to how spread out his towers are, so that he doesn't unintentionally leave vulnerable areas. Enemies can come from all different directions - so it's very important to ensure all areas are defended in some way. Organization skills are further useful in determining which upgrades to perform at what time. It may not make strategic sense to heavily focus upgrades on one or a few defenses. Faulty organization, or a complete failure to consider the reasons behind tower placement and upgrades, lowers the player's chances of successfully defending against enemies and only results in loss of resources and defeat.


Developing a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals.

The organization involved in placing towers is closely tied to the use of Planning skills in Pirate Legends. Of course, with unlimited coins and powers, he could easily cover the entire territory with weapons and defenses, eliminating any chance of the enemy reaching his ship. Unfortunately, his resources are not endless and he must work hard to earn them. Additionally, there are only so many spaces in which to place towers. This all means that he must prioritize which towers to use, how many, and if the battle truly calls for the use of a Relic power or ally. Using only what he needs to be victorious is also important. Overloading the map with towers and allies could waste coins and supernatural assistance depending on number and types of enemies that attack. When he avoids such an "overkill" of resources, he can save his money for harder battles and enemies. Planning skills are further helpful in using supernatural powers most advantageously. When using the Kraken, for example, it's smart to place it where tougher enemies or a large group of enemies are. It would be a waste of the power to use it on only one or two enemies or weak ones. Such skills can also be used in developing additional strategies, like placing a blockade that forces enemies to cluster together - making them an easy target for an area attack.

Use this PlayTogether guide to learn how you can help your child to turn Pirate Legends play time into a positive learning and relationship-building experience. To learn more about why playing games with your children is so important, check out our Science of Play page.

Talk Before You Play

Take a minute to talk to your child about how the Organization and Planning thinking skills work, and why they are important for success in school and at home.

photo 2Set Gameplay Goals

Pirate Legends is a single-player game. To play with your child, we recommend taking turns between battles. However, you may work together to develop a strategy and organize and/or upgrade the towers before beginning a battle. After reading over the thinking skills pages, work together with your child to complete the objectives listed below.

Gameplay Goals:

  • Achieve victory in 3 battles.
  • Earn the "Kraken Up!" achievement by using a Kracken relic power.
  • Earn the "Big Guns" achievement by upgrading any tower to it's 3rd stage.
  • Earn the "Magic Man" achievement by using at least one of each relic power type.

Stop and Reflect

  • With so many different towers (20!) and types of enemies (28!), there are countless strategies just waiting to be thought of and used. Talk about the tactics and the methods he used to capture his foes in the game, but also challenge yourselves to come up with some new ones you haven't tried. Ask your child how the limited number of tower locations affected decision making, in terms of which towers to use and where to place them. Explain how prioritizing which towers to use, based on available information (such as the types of enemies and number of expected waves), helps to conserve resources and use only what is necessary. This is an important concept to understand during gameplay, as the first wave of enemies tends to arrive in large quantities.
  • Conservation of resources is undeniably important in a world where such materials are limited. In Pirate Legends, looking ahead at the next battle and its features (number of enemy waves, enemy types, water current, tower locations) helps the player pick the defenses he needs and no more than necessary. Outside of the game, Planning skills can be similarly used when studying for an exam. Brainpower (and willpower) is a limited resource, and is best used wisely by studying only the relevant material to the topic of the exam. If the test is on the biology of mammals, reviewing biology notes about all animals ends up wasting time, brainpower, and motivation, and may even prematurely end the study session before covering everything important about mammals. Preparing for the exam by knowing the topic and even perhaps the types of questions (multiple choice, essay, etc) gives him a better chance at proving his knowledge and earning an impressive grade on the test.
  • Factors such as the layout of the map, the water current, the types and waves of attackers, all must be taken into consideration when organizing towers in Pirate Legends. How did these elements influence his decisions? Were there situations where certain towers were always used or completely avoided? Did he experiment to create strong combinations of towers by using them together in one area? Did he focus his defenses to a particular area or were they spread out? Be sure to explore all the reasons behind his decision-making and emphasize areas he showed good organization and why they were so helpful.
  • Start a conversation about how having strong Organization skills outside of video games can also help us reach our goals. Reflect back on the example of preparing for an exam. Organization can be used to gather all notes and relevant materials on the topic of the exam - mammal biology - and leave everything else untouched. It also allows him to distribute his efforts according to his strengths and weaknesses with the subject. He should focus more attention towards facts that he has a harder time remembering, and less time on the easier material. There are many other ways Organization skills be used to create a hierarchy of importance, like when you complete assignments in order of priority or due date. What other examples can you think of? Have your child explain the advantages of being organized in the examples you came up with together.

Our Make it Work activities are designed to transform your child’s gameplay into real-world improvements in thinking and academic skills. If you’re just getting started with LearningWorks for Kids, we suggest you try them all to find which are the best for you and your child.

Introduce the Thinking Skills

Read over the pages for the Organization and Planning thinking skills. Then take some time to introduce these thinking skills to your child.

Explain That:

  • Organization is the thinking skill that helps us arrange and coordinate materials and activities in order to complete a task.
  • Planning is the thinking skill that helps us to develop a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals. It helps us to do things step-by-step, and to complete long-term projects on time.

Organization Activity

Get organized before you begin. Have your child take out everything he will need before beginning a homework assignment. Many children begin assignments without thinking about which materials will be needed to complete the particular task. Getting out materials in the middle of a task can be distracting and takes away Focus from the assignment.  Have your child write a list of everything he will need to complete for each assignment. This could range from a novel, worksheets, a pencil, or calculator depending on the specific requirements. Ensure that your child is puts these materials away (in appropriate places of course) after they are no longer needed or the assignment is completed.

Planning Activity

piratelegendsTeaching planning as an antidote to being disinterested. Do not accept being bored as an excuse. The most compelling piece of psychological research in the past few years describes how grit and persistence are far more important than intelligence and ability for future success. Teach your child these skills. One of the most important things that your child can learn from you is how to make the best of the situation at hand. That means in a situation that may be boring for him, such as going on a long car trip, that he should plan out things that he can do to keep his mind active and busy. Not only will he be happier, he might actually enjoy the trip. Encouraging your child to think about what might keep his mind busy and active in a situation that he anticipates will be boring will be very beneficial for him.

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