Ubisoft’s Sandstorm: Pirate Wars puts you in control of a sand cruiser, battling for survival in the desert heat of a post-apocalyptic future. It’s a great game for your mobile phone or tablet.

It is a game quite unlike most others and the action takes place in a distant future where the world has become a desert wasteland with sand, abandoned and decaying buildings, the wrecks of various flying craft, and more sand.

You are given a basic sand cruiser, which is a type of aircraft or hovercraft that skims above the sand at a height of a few feet. It is used to travel between the various cities dotted around the wasteland and you perform tasks like transporting items or people from one place to another.

The sand cruiser runs on autopilot and your task is not to fly it, but to defend it from pirate ships that attack you. As you travel from one city to another, a pirate ship will come alongside and a battle commences.

Sandstorm: Pirate Wars for iOS

Your cruiser is armed with guns, lasers and other weapons, and it has defences like shields and flares. As the pirate ship comes alongside you select the weapons and the targets on the enemy craft and start blasting. There can be only one survivor and it is either you or them.

You earn nuts and bolts, and power cells, which are used to buy upgrades for your sand cruiser’s offensive and defensive systems. If you destroy a pirate ship in battle, you salvage items from the wreck and these also provide upgrades and nuts.

Sandstorm: Pirate Wars for iOS

The game basically guides you through a series of battles that progressively get harder and you meet increasingly tough opponents. You must constantly repair the battle damage to your ship and upgrade its offensive and defensive capabilities in order to survive.

On arriving in a city there is the hangar where necessary repairs and upgrades are carried out. It can take time to repair a ship, but not too long and there is an option to speed it up if you are willing to pay. There is a tavern where you can meet people and they provide you with missions to complete.

Sandstorm: Pirate Wars for iOS

There is also a pirate arena. This is a place where you battle other players of the game and there are different leagues that you enter and progress through. You start off in the Tin League and work your way up the ranks through battles until you get to the Platinum League.

Sandstorm: Pirate Wars for iOS

The game provides a mixture of single player missions and player vs player battles.

Sandstorm: Pirate Wars has superb 3D graphics and it looks superb. The graphics move with the tablet or phone using the on-board motion sensors, and this gives it a sort of 3D hologram type of view. You can turn, twist and tilt the device to get a slightly different perspective.

Sandstorm: Pirate Wars for iOS

The app runs on iOS and Android devices and it is available from their respective stores. I played it on an iPad because I like the big screen and high resolution graphics. It looks great and runs smoothly. There are optional in-app purchases to enable you to upgrade your cruiser and progress through the game faster.

Sandstorm: Pirate Wars is a game that I’ve been hooked on for the past week and it will keep you entertained for some time. It is recommended.

Title: Sandstorm: Pirate Wars (iOS | Android)
Price: Free
Developer: Ubisoft
Size: 177 MB
iOS: 7.1 / Android: 4.1
Rating: 4/5
Verdict: A challenging game with good graphics and single and multiplayer elements.