In search of a thrilling high seas adventure? Sorry, you won't find it here.
After playing Sinbad for several hours, we came to these conclusions. First, it's mind-numbingly boring. Second, it's a wasted opportunity on Rebellion's part. The studio had a chance to create a thrilling action RPG starring the iconic hero. Instead, it chose to invest much of its time in lackluster combat and ship decorating. Yes, it's free-to-play, but that doesn't mean you should download it.
In a sense, Sinbad feels very Prince of Persia, though on the flip side, one could make the argument that Prince of Persia feels very Sinbad. As the swashbuckling adventurer, you sail the high seas with your devoted crew, traveling from port to port, the goal to explore bite-sized areas tapping vases and treasure chests for loot. In all cases, a fight eventually breaks out between Sinbad and some evildoers, be it sword-carrying thugs or skeleton warriors, and disposing of these lowlifes yields another treasure chest filled with coins. Ideally, you want to find relics, as completing a set of these items results in more virtual cash, an energy or combat boost.
Sadly, all battles unfold the same way, with zero variation to the combat. You maneuver Sinbad by pointing on the touchscreen and watching him move to that location (no thumb stick), while attacking bad guys works in similar fashion, as you tap an enemy and watch Sinbad deliver a few slashes. That said, it's best to employ a pinball-style mechanic that involves bouncing from creep to creep, similar to (can't believe we're about to make this comparison) Batman Arkham Asylum and Batman Arkham City. Just to clarify, Sinbad plays noticeably worse than those aforementioned hits.
What's especially bad is the fact that you return to the same old ports multiple times with little change in scenery. On top of that, the game uses a typical freemium system where each of the three resources are somehow interconnected. You can't sail to ports without using energy, and you'll need to spend gems to acquire more or let it refill over time; you may also spend gems to complete missions instantly by way of Sinbad's buddy, Gunnar. Then you have those aforementioned coins, used to decorate the ship; of course, Rebellion is right there with in-app purchase options, should you feel the urge.
This is where the game really lost us. You're able to outfit Sinbad's ship with decorations and order his crew to complete a variety of missions (lookout, swabbing the deck, polishing ornaments), but this apparently has little to no impact on the actual game. There are no ship-to-ship battles to speak of, or sea monsters that would require making boat upgrades. It's purely for aesthetics, and a means to send images of the vessel to friends on Facebook, to which we say, huh? What's more, some of these missions take upwards of an hour to complete. In other words, put the iPad down, set it and forget it.
Combine that with the uninspired battles, and Sinbad simply lacks an addictive hook. Eventually, we questioned the point of playing this game, and after failing to come up with a good answer, deleted it. What could have been, oh yes. What could have been.
What's Hot: Cool 3D ship, free-to-play, multiple ports brimming with detail.
What's Not: Yawn-inducing combat, returning to the same old ports, grinding for relics, useless ship decorations.