NWR writes: "Pirates: Duels on the High Seas for Nintendo DS is a top-down action game that puts you at the helm of a pirate ship on a voyage for ancient treasure, blasting through fleets of enemies and sea monsters as you go. Built on strictly functional graphics and controls, Pirates' game design ultimately fails to deliver an experience dynamic or intense enough to maintain interest in its single-player story mode, while its technically-restricted multiplayer mode is a further let-down.
The meat of Pirates: Duels on the High Seas' content is its story mode, which tasks players with battling through (appropriately enough) seven different maritime locales in search of mystical keys. The rather thin plot is laid out between levels in a series of illustrations accompanied with generic pirate prose, but the artwork itself is of decent quality. During gameplay, 3D graphics are employed to present the action on the upper screen with quite effective results, though they lack appreciable textural and architectural variety across the various environments. The game usually runs at a reasonable speed, but the framerate drops noticeably in situations involving a relatively large number of enemy ships on-screen at once. On the touch screen there is a map/radar displaying the area around your ship, as well as a few touch-activated icons for the selection of enhancements to your ship's attributes."