You might have missed Sea of Thieves, but you’ll be missing out if you don’t check this one out. 

The lovely folks at Xbox let us jump in for a half-hour session with Sea of Thieves at their E3 booth today, and I can say it’s been one of the highlights of the show for me so far.

Developed by Rare, it’s a co-op pirating adventure. Sure, that might not sound like much, but imagine being thrown onto a pirate ship with three of your closest mates and being free to set upon the world as you see fit. That’s when it becomes a bundle of laughs, and one of the best games I’ve played in a while.

The first thing we had to do was work out how to actually sail a ship. As it turns out, Jack Sparrow makes it look a lot easier than what it actually is. You’ve gotta raise and lower the sails, hoist the anchors, even read maps and be able to work your way around a compass. The pirate life isn’t one to shake a peg leg at!

Once you and your crew – ’cause it’ll take some cooperation to get this sorted – have successfully navigated the dangers of operating a ship, you’ve then got to search for the one thing pirates always have on their mind – booty. Our playthrough already had a clue and a couple of treasure maps to kickstart our adventure, so we had to work out the riddle and we were on our way. I should probably also mention at this point that a few scallywags had discovered it was possible to drink out of a tankard and throw up everywhere, so this really is a full-blown pirate sim.

Once we solved the riddle and worked out where we were meant to be going, we shot ourselves out of the cannons on the side of the ship towards the island. Fending off skeletons with a sword and a pistol, we used our treasure maps to work out where the treasure was – of course, ‘X marks the spot’ – and dug up our loot. Dodging sharks on the way back to the ship, we revelled in our victory with musical instruments aplenty.

Sea of Thieves is a ridiculous escapade that (probably) very closely resembles what it must actually be like to have been a pirate. The controls are straightforward, with your item wheel on the left bumper and your maps/riddles on the right, aim/fire on the triggers as you’d expect, and a few other handy things thrown in as well.

We’d definitely recommend checking out this one with mates, as Davy Jones only knows what could happen if you get matched with a few randoms. Who knows – the increased mayhem may very well add to the enjoyment.

If there’s one thing to be taken away from Sea of Thieves, it’s that I still don’t know the difference between port and starboard.