Life of a pirate must be super exciting. Look at me, I’m the captain now. No, I’m not talking about the modern-day Somalian pirates. I’m talking about the sexy, post exploration era Caribbean pirates. How can we experience pirate life in 2023? Simple, role-playing. So, what are the best pirate RPG games? Well, you can find my top 15 pirate RPGs ranking below.
History and pirates always interested me. But in recent years, I kinda forgot about pirate stuff. Then, TV Series Black Sails which is all about pirates and treasures, hooked me back again the genre. So, as a hard-core gaming enthusiast, I had to delve into the pirating RPGs again.
I hope you enjoy my tier list, have fun! 15 best pirate RPG games:
1. Assassin’s Creed Black Flag
There is no other pirate game like Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. It’s not heavy on RPG but some elements of it definitely RPG. Such as gear customization, ship customization, freedom of open-world, leveling, and more.
The game is set in the year 1715, golden Era of pirating in the Caribbean. You play as the Edward Kenway, a young pirate captain, who’s about the become a legend like the Blackbeard. Meanwhile, he finds himself in the middle of an ancient war between Assassins and the Templars.
I believe it’s the best pirate game because you can do pirating in the open-world Caribbean. You command, expand your crew, and upgrade your ship as you plunder, pillage, and loot.
2. Tortuga – A Pirate’s Tale
Tortuga – A Pirate’s Tale is a pirate RPG released in 2023. You might not heard of it yet, because the game is not available on Steam. Because EpicGames called dibs on that.
The story, music, writing, and role-playing in Tortuga – A Pirate’s Tale is top notch. There is one down-side though, the game features turn-based ship battles. To be honest I like turn-based games but it’s a dealbreaker for the majority of gamers. Well, I hope you’re not one of them.
Other than that, it’s the perfect pirate RPG. It has all the key features of pirate RPG genre such as crew management, ship upgrades, quests, bounties, open-world, and parley.
3. Horizon’s Gate
Stardew Valley meets pirating! Jokes aside, Horizon’s Gate is an amazing pixel RPG like Stardew Valley, except, Horizon’s Gate features pirate life instead of farmer life.
Become an explorer, trader, or privateer! It’s possible to only do trade and become a rich trader in Horizon’s Gate. However, becoming a reviled pirate is much more fun! Just the way you like it.
So, what are you waiting for? Embark on a journey with Horizon’s Gate, meet and recruit crew members, unlock classes, upgrade abilities, and become the mightiest pirate ever.
4. Rum & Gun
Rum & Gun is a fast-paced shooter role-playing game. In short, ARPG.
In this game you explore the Indian Ocean as a pirate. You’re not on the Caribbean anymore. Expect to encounter exotic animals that are foreign to you, mysteries, fierce tribes, and of course, treasures.
Though keep in mind, Rum & Gun is in early access. It’s about to be fully released though. Act IV is on the way.
Windward is one of the best casual trade / pirate game you can ever play online. It’s a multiplayer sandbox game that puts you in control of a pirate ship in the vast seas and oceans. You can play solo too but multiplayer where the real fun is. By the way multiplayer is not all about PvP in Windward, you can co-op against AI too.
As I’ve said before, this is a sandbox game. So, no real main quest. Only side quests, bounties, trading, and combat. Which works really well with the genre.
6. Tempest: Pirate Action
Tempest is an open-world pirate action RPG where you sail across three continents. The game is filled with colonies, forts, quests, and lands to explore. There is always something to do in it! That’s the games motto by the way.
Good thing about Tempest: Pirate Action is that you can engage third-person-view combats with ships, then musket and sword after boarding as a pirate captain. Just like the Assassin’s Creed Black Flag.
7. Sea Dogs: To Each His Own
Sea Dogs: To Each His Own is the latest part of the game series has been around since 2000. So, it has a devoted fan-base. Some claim it’s the best pirate RPG ever even though the games graphics are outdated.
What can you do in Sea Dogs? Well, first of all the game features naval combat. So, as a pirate ship captain, you’ll be engaging many naval combat situations. Other than that, there are trading, crafting, fighting, gambling, and above all exploring.
8. Braveland Pirate
Here is a pirate game that approaches the genre in an unorthodox method. Braveland Pirate is a turn-based tactical RPG which is also happens to be 2D. For some players 2D graphics and turn-based combat may be dealbreakers. However, there aren’t many pirate role playing games on the market. So, you gotta suck it up and appreciate what you got sometimes.
RPG elements are kinda limited but the gameplay is amazing. Especially the strategic thinking part of it.
9. Sea Dogs
Here we go, a game as old as most of the gamers. Sea & Dogs is a game that is released in 2000. Possibly the first real-deal pirate RPG ever.
Story is simple. You take control of a young ship captain trying to make a name in the world. In this epic journey you can rise to control islands from humble beginnings. So, side with British, French, Spanish, or Pirate and begin your epic saga.
Sea Dogs also have couple of mods for it that works well. Check its forum for mod support.
10. A Pirate Quartermaster
Get ready to discover the real life of a pirate in the age of kings. But you’ll not play as the captain this time, instead you’ll be the quartermaster, the first mate of a pirate ship.
As a quartermaster, you must manage ambitions of your captain, keep crew in line, enforce law, and handle the resource management. Pirate life is already hard as it gets. But a pirate who is also quartermaster suffers the worst.
Excessive micromanagement of Pirate Quartermaster can be a bit tiring from time to time. But as a fan of the Paradox games, I’m okay with micro-managing. I hope you feel the same.
11. Abandon Ship
Abandon Ship is a pirate game all about naval combat. Story is good, RPG elements are great, graphics are enigmatic, but the naval combat is the best.
Be prepared to feel like you’re always on the edge of defeat. And you’ll be defeated from time to time because this is a rogue-like game. In order to win battles in Abandon Ship, you must use every advantage you can bring to the battle.
12. Choice of the Pirate
Choice of the Pirate is a text-based RPG. Meaning no graphics or gameplay, only story and choices. Which is what interactive novel is.
In this 165,000 words interactive book like game, you’ll start role-playing as a deck-swabbing sailor. As you progress into the story and make right choices in the right moments, you’ll become the legendary fleet commander pirate.
If you truly want to role-play as a Pirate and see your choices shaping your future, play Choice of the Pirate and thank me later for introducing you to this amazing and the text-based genre.
13. Cleo – A Pirate’s Tale
Cleo is a pixel-art retro pirate adventure with lots of nostalgia, humor, and rich story. Meaning if you’ve played and liked Monkey Island series, this is a must-play for you. It’s also inspired by the old Zelda games.
The story? Cleo is a 14-year-old cynical girl, living in a boring life with her father in a bar. She reads about epic adventures of legendary pirate captain Cabeca and something clicks. That’s how her pirate career and your gameplay begin.
14. The Caribbean Sail
Here is another completely unique pirate RPG. The Caribbean Sail welcomes you with its nostalgic 8-bit graphics. If you don’t mind graphics, you’re lucky because The Caribbean Sail is a treat.
Story and game-play features are amazing in this game. First of all, all your choices matter in it. So, each playthrough is unique. Other than that, as I’ve said before, story is super rich and immersive. You can name your crew, buy supplies, sail the world, harpoon fish, plunder your enemies, die horribly, and unlock a new Captain to do it all over again. You can even flog the mutinous crew members. Does it get any better than that?
15. Sid Meier’s Pirates!
Sid Meier’s Pirates is the perfect simulation of the life of a pirate, privateer, or a pirate hunter in the 16-17-18 centuries. It’s a 2005 game and was super popular back then. So, if you’re old and into pirates, you’ve probably heard or played this one before.
It’s an old gem that must be played regardless of the day and age. Because if you can bear the bad graphics, RPG elements and the story will quickly immerse you in the real-deal pirate life.