The Spanish Privateer | Game Review

Find adventure, freedom, and romance at sea in The Spanish Privateer, a pirate otome game by SinSisters Studios. Set in the early 17th century, you play as former noblewoman, Isabel Carlota de Castilla (or Carlota, for short), after she runs away from the altar to join a privateer crew and escape an arranged marriage.

However, a pirate’s life is far from the lavish luxury she’s used to. Depending on the choices you make, Carlota can use her diplomatic manners, comedic wit, or cut-throat bravery to forge a new path for herself – one that allows her to decide her own destiny, and perhaps find the love of a lifetime along the way…

Game Name: The Spanish Privateer
Developer: SinSisters Studios
Publisher: SinSisters Studios
Platform(s):, Steam
Genre(s): Pirates, Historical, Romance
Languages: English (text only, no voice acting)
Price: $14.99 USD (+ optional DLC for $3.99 USD)
More info: Website, Twitter, Discord, YouTube.
Age Rating: “This game contains text descriptions of violence, blood, and death, mild visuals of blood, text descriptions of mildly suggestive sexual content, and descriptions of alcohol consumption.”

Disclaimer: We received a copy of ‘The Spanish Privateer’ and its accompanying game guide from SinSisters Studios for the purpose of writing an honest and unbiased review.


Sweet: 3/5 – The romance in TSP sits confidently between whimsical fairy tale and forbidden love affair, focusing on mutual trust and respect, with a generally supportive, empowering tone.
Spicy: 2/5 – There are plenty of flirtatious and suggestive scenes, but nothing too explicit. There are also many dirty jokes, plus full nudity in the writing and partial nudity in the visuals. This is a game you play for romance, not smut.
CD: 5/5 – The character design in TSP is phenomenal, with plenty of variety even with only three LIs. Each love interest is unique, nuanced, and intriguing in both appearance and personality.
Story: 4/5 – While I personally loved the story, the highly literary style may come across as too wordy for visual novel fans who are used to the typical blend of literary and theatrical writing styles.

Premise & Story

“Escape the confines of high-society and find freedom, romance, and danger on the high seas as a privateer in this pirate otome…”

Steam Game Description

I unfortunately missed the Kickstarter campaign for The Spanish Privateer, but I’ve had it on my Steam wishlist for a while, and I was already looking forward to its release when SinSisters contacted me about writing a review. From the pirate-themed premise to the vibrant visuals and iconic soundtrack, I knew I was in for a treat.

As soon as the game launched it was apparent that SinSisters knew exactly what they wanted to convey, and how best to convey it. Every detail – from the use of archaic terms to the UI design – is used effectively to create an immersive, yet accessible experience.

You don’t need to know anything about 17th century seafaring history to enjoy The Spanish Privateer, and even with little to no knowledge going into the game, I could tell the writers knew exactly what they were talking about. Impressively, they were able to convey the authenticity of their unique otome setting through subtle details, such as using sailor jargon correctly and even referring to the specific kind of wood used on a part of the ship, rather than simply describing it as “wooden”.

While this may sound like a lot of technical details to bog the story down and boggle the reader’s mind, it’s incorporated into the text delicately enough that it simply adds to the immersive environment, without info-dumping or getting trapped in lengthy, complicated explanations.

Will you fall for the captain, bard, or first mate?

I finished Lark’s route feeling not only entertained and head over heels for the witty lutist, but also like I had learned something. It’s a story that will make you think, as it tackles complex moral issues and grants the player a rare glimpse at life in a different time in history.

This makes sense, considering the context of the story isn’t just pirates and privateers (morally-dubious at best in their own right), but also colonisation. Rather than glossing over or ignoring these difficult themes, the story showcases them honestly – neither glorifying them, nor dwelling on the horrors so long that it weighs down the otherwise uplifting romance.

I particularly liked how these themes were incorporated into the plot and the characters, forming an intrinsic part of the story and its context, and adding futher depth to the cast. In short, they weren’t brought up to pay lip service, nor for shock factor. They were brought up because they were important to the story being told, which only made it feel more real and relatable, despite being set centuries ago.

Each character has their own struggles and, as in real life, they’re intrinsically connected to the social context.


I loved the soundtrack in this game – It sounds just pirate-y enough to immerse you further into the setting, without coming across as too cheesy or on the nose. There are also plenty of different tracks to prevent it from becoming too repetitive, and each one is long enough that it won’t be grating if left on a loop while taking a break.

There were several people to whom the soundtrack of this game was attributed, so I won’t list them all here. If you enjoy the music and want to know more, you can find the names and relevant links in the credits after you clear an alternate or good ending. You can also re-play your favourite tracks through the ”Music Box’, which is accessible via the ‘Extras’ button in the game’s main menu.

I particularly like the ‘Main Theme’, which was done by Derek & Brandon Fiechter.


The art style in The Spanish Privateer is also fantastic; It’s not the usual anime style that otome fans will be used to, but it’s still similar enough that it’s not a significant departure either. The western style suits the setting of the story, and it’s aesthetically pleasing to boot. The background art is similarly appealing, as it’s simplistic enough that it doesn’t overwhelm the eyes, but detailed enough to keep it interesting.

There are several CGs to collect for each route, with two distinct art styles, including some chibi CGs. The CG art style is different from the one used for the character sprites, which isn’t necessarily a deal breaker for me, but generally I prefer them to be the same. That being said, the CGs are all beautiful, so even though it’s not consistent with the character sprite art, I still enjoyed collecting them, and I enjoyed the scenes in which they appeared.

I *loved* the banter between these two ❤

Game Trailer

Story & Gameplay

The writing is where the game truly shines, especially if you’re like me and enjoy a more literary style. It’s wordier than the average otome game and leans more on the narration side of the narration / dialogue balance in a way that is reminiscent of literature and classic romance novels. It may take a minute to become accustomed to the flow of the script, but once you do, you’ll find it’s an enjoyable rhythm that enables you to vividly picture each scene in your mind.

I’m grateful to ‘The Spanish Privateer’ for reminding me that the word “strumpet” exists 😅

Furthermore, I felt that the setting was explained in a way that allowed the reader to establish the base of knowledge they needed to understand the context for the characters and story, without drowning out the plot with lengthy exposition. The information we need is conveyed through subtle details, and any necessary conversation-based scenes are effectively balanced with engaging action and drama.

The pacing experience will depend on which endings you receive, and how easy you find it to replay a route for a different outcome. Personally, I got stuck on Lark’s route and wasn’t able to achieve his good ending without a guide. This did interfere with my enjoyment of his route, as by the time I finally got his good ending, I’d already spent hours replaying the rest of his route, which made the ending feel underwhelmingly short and not necessarily worth the hours of effort I’d spent trying to get there. However, if I had been able to get there more easily, I would have loved his ending and, more broadly, Lark’s route.

Remember you can check your stats at any time!

I recommend purchasing the DLC, as it includes a game guide that I found to be useful and easy to follow. I used it after getting stuck in Lark’s route, and it made the overall experience much more streamlined. To save yourself the frustration, do yourself a favour and get the DLC – you can always do your first playthrough without the guide, and then open it up when you’re aiming for certain endings.


So far, I’ve played Lark’s route and cleared all of his endings – but even in his personal story, there are plenty of opportunities to get to know the other love interests. In fact, in order to achieve each LI’s good ending, you’ll need to befriend the whole crew, not just the man you’re gunning for.

There isn’t any voice acting in The Spanish Privateer, but this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the game. Usually, I prefer the inclusion of voicing to add more emotion to the dialogue, but since the writing style in TSP is fairly literary and heavy in narration anyway, there’s plenty of nuance being conveyed through the script without the need for voice acting.

In fact, if voice acting had been included and it wasn’t at the same standard as the quality of writing, it would have detracted from the game rather than added to it – and since this is an indie title with a limited budget, it’s perfectly reasonable not to splash out on voice acting that may not add anything to the game anyway.

Main Character (MC)

Name: Lady Isobel Carlota de Castilla
Pronouns: She/Her
Voice Actor: N/A

Carlota is a a proactive, witty, brave protagonist with an interesting story of her own. While otome games generally allow the player to choose the main character’s name, this isn’t the case in The Spanish Privateer. I wouldn’t have minded being able to at least change one of the names, but since she’s an established character and her name is related to her canonical heritage and background, it makes sense that this isn’t something that can be customized.

Her personality will be shaped by the choices you make, and can be tracked via the ‘Crew’ button in the game’s menu where you can see Carlota’s personality alignment and relationship meters with Rico, Flint, and Lark. Typically, the player choices with three options will correspond with the three personality alignments, and its often fairly intuitive to work out which is which.

I liked being able to mould her personality and see how the others reacted to my choices, as it adds another layer of personalisation to the main character. I do think that these alignments could have had more of an impact on the story – for example, having certain choices only appear if you have enough points in a particular trait – to make the player feel there’s more at stake to these decisions, but regardless, it’s a fun bonus mechanic that adds further interactivity to the game.


Name: Lark the Lutist
Pronouns: He/Him
Potential Endings: 2 x Bad Endings, 3 x Alternate Endings, and 1 x Good Ending
Voice Actor: N/A

I completed Lark’s route in my playthrough, and I’m glad he was the love interest I chose. He felt like a natural match for the protagonist as they both had a lot in common, particularly regarding their sense of adventure and love of the arts.

They’re both witty and want to do the right thing, although sometimes they could be a little self-absorbed. They challenged each other on several occasions, pushing the other to be better and want better for themselves, even if the confrontation was uncomfortable at the time. However, even if they bickered or fought, they were always there for each other when it mattered, and I loved the foundation of trust and respect they built between them.

My only criticism about Lark’s route is that I didn’t find his “correct” choices to be very intuitive. When I followed the guide, some of the choices I was supposed to make surprised me, as I thought that pursuing a particular personality alignment was the right approach, but this turned out to be incorrect.

Other than that, however, I loved Lark’s character, and I found his backstory to be particularly interesting. His banter and playful flirting was also entertaining, and it didn’t take long for me to become smitten with the charming, sensitive lutist.


Name: First Mate Flint
Pronouns: He/Him
Potential Endings: 2 x Bad Endings, 2 x Alternate Endings, 1 x Good Ending
Voice Actor: N/A

I haven’t played Flint’s route yet, but I did play a few scenes with him in the common route and there are several moments with him in Lark’s route that hinted at his character design beyond the initial introduction. That being said, I’m still not sure I have a complete read on him, as he seems to have two distinct sides that don’t seem inherently compatible.

One moment he’s the harsh taskmaster and disciplinarian, and the other he’s an awkward, blushing sweetheart. He’s stern, distant, and often downright insulting, but there’s also a softer, more vulnurable side to him that I’ll no doubt have to play his route to explore further. He’s not painted in a particularly flattering light in Lark’s route, but I imagine he’ll appear differently in his own , and probably Rico’s route, since he’s much closer with Rico than Lark.


Name: Captain Rico
Pronouns: He/Him
Potential Endings: 2 x Bad Endings, 2 x Alternate Endings, 1 x Good Ending
Voice Actor: N/A

Aside from Lark, Rico is the character I’m most intrigued by. He’s calm, cool, and collected, and has all the charm of a gentleman… except he’s definitely a flirt, as well as the captain of a privateer ship. He has a reputation for being popular with women and, even from the brief introduction with him in the common route, it’s easy to see why they’d fall for him (plus, the scar is definitely working in his favour).

I get the feeling there’s a more serious side to Rico that’s perhaps a little darker and more dangerous. Everyone on the ship seems to respect him – and Flint is basically his number 1 fan – but he seems a little too distant for someone so sociable and friendly. I’m curious to learn more about him in my next playthrough, especially as he seems more mature than Lark, which will be a nice change of pace after a more youthful romance.

Final Thoughts

The Spanish Privateer is impressive in its details, using excellent storytelling skills to craft an immersively authentic, historical context for an exciting romance at sea. The narration is rich and the dialogue is witty, making it an easy game to get lost in.

The stat system was a little confusing as it wasn’t always clear which stats were needed for each ending. My intuition told me that, for the eloquent, fun-loving Lark, I should focus on building my relationship with him and the witty personality trait – however, this approach led me to get stuck for a while.

That being said, the guide was easy to use, and I found the game’s more rounded approach to romance refreshing, as you’re encouraged to build friendships with the whole crew, not just the love interest you’re pursuing.

All in all, I enjoyed my playthrough of Lark’s route in The Spanish Privateer, and I’m looking forward to exploring the rest of the game through the tough-love first mate, Flint, and the suave, gentleman pirate-captain, Rico.

You’ll like The Spanish Privateer if you like: authentic, historical settings; bold, witty protagonists; romantic adventures with plenty of action and drama; interesting stories that will broaden your horizons; and, of course, pirates!


Game Info

Game Name: The Spanish Privateer
Developer: SinSisters Studios
Publisher: SinSisters Studios
Platform(s):, Steam
Genre(s): Pirates, Historical, Romance
Languages: English (text only, no voice acting)
Price: $14.99 USD (+ optional DLC for $3.99 USD)
More info: Website, Twitter, Discord, YouTube.
Age Rating: “This game contains text descriptions of violence, blood, and death, mild visuals of blood, text descriptions of mildly suggestive sexual content, and descriptions of alcohol consumption.”

~ Thank you to SinSisters Studios for providing us with a review copy of The Spanish Privateer and its accompanying game guide ! ~

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