Scallywags is an adventure that takes you out to sea on the hunt for the cowards who took your plentiful booty. Armed with a sturdy ship and a destructive cannon, it's your job to kill at will and show your cohorts who's the baddest pirate in town. This app should have been a home run, but an annoying flaw leaves this game treading on choppy waters.

The great news is that although Scallywags is free-to-play, you'll get enough action under your belt to justify the download. Although paying for a more powerful ship or purchasing upgrades may take you a few hours to achieve, premiums are not mandatory in enjoying Scallywags' first few levels.

Each stage requires that you tap a finger on the screen to shoot down these scallywags or, if you want to slay these cretins in a more stylish and efficient manner, just slide a finger across the screen watch them perish within seconds. The tap-and-slide mechanic is the perfect complement to Scallywags' combat aesthetic, and I've had my share of fun using both hands to tap the living daylights out of my iPad.

Funday Factory

Once you kill these scallywags, gold coins will appear for you to grab out of thin air. It's important to tap on these coins immediately, since they disappear within a moment's notice. The number of scallywags you’ll face on each level are displayed on the lower left side of the screen. Killing these cretins and collecting gold are the only two things you’ll need to worry about during each stage, barring all the boss fights.

The gold coins you amass during your travels will be added to your "swag" collection, and you will use the swag to purchase various upgrades along the way. The great news is you won’t need to shell out cash to buy these additions, as they are all attainable after playing the app for an extended period of time.  Certain bombs will need to be bought and utilized to accomplish certain challenges, and various tasks also require you to not obliterate every scallywag in sight. These minor goals add a subtle touch of variety to the app, making it more than a simple shooting gallery experience.

Funday Factory

All that excellent momentum nearly falls by the wayside once your ship goes head-to-head with the Kraken. This epic tangle with a sea creature should be one of the title's high points, and on a visual level it actually is wonderful to look at. Unfortunately, you will only have a select number of cannonballs to take down this monster, and if you don't have enough upgrades or bombs at your disposal, then it's pretty much game over.

Losing to the Kraken leads to retracing your steps to earlier levels to generate enough swag, which will then be used to purchase your needed weapons. I have no problem getting my butt kicked by a powerful boss, but I never ran out cannonballs on the earlier levels. So why suddenly handicap gamers during this level and frustrate the heck out of them? Of course the developers want gamers to pay for premiums, but this was a horribly timed moment to try and dig into our pockets.

Funday Factory

After dispatching the Kraken, my sour mood immediately dissipated, as a new set of levels appeared before my eyes. Two different ships can be unlocked after slaying your first boss, and you’ll have the options of fighting scallywags in the air or underground. These two new worlds are a sight to behold, and even though the game play is a carbon copy of what transpires in the ocean, a change of scenery saved this app from sinking into creative quicksand.

Funday Factory

Scallywags started off like a shot from a cannon, but due to a misguided boss encounter, my time on the seven seas was almost over. After killing the Kraken, two new worlds opened  and ships were unlocked, and slowly but surely, Scallywags brought me back to its good graces. No app is ever perfect, and as long as you’re able to handle this title’s rougher waters, you may enjoy what’s beyond the horizon.

This review is based on a code of Scallywags for iOS provided by the publisher.

App Store Link: Scallywags for iPhone & iPad | By Funday Factory | Price: Free | Version: 1.2 | 90.7 MB | Rating 9+

7.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating