Crimson: Steam Pirates is a turn-based strategy game in which the player controls a fleet of pirate steamships on, under and above the sea. The game takes place on an alternate Earth, in the Carribeans, in the 19th century. The player's character is the infamous pirate Thomas Blood, on a quest for plunder, glory and women. The game's universe and style is reminiscent of Crimson Skies, a previous game created by the same designer, Jordan Weisman.
Controls are entirely based on touch. The player can choose the steering of the ship, and issues specific commands to his crew (such as "repair" or "board"). When the player is done issuing orders, he must touch the "Play" button to initiate the turn. Ships automatically shoot enemies in range while moving. When boarding another ship, a battle takes place between the two crews. The battle is divided into successive waves and the player must choose which members of the crew will fight each wave.
The game features 3 Chapters of 8 Voyages each, pitting Blood and his crew against increasingly perilous odds. Only the first Chapter is available at first, Chapters 2 and 3 must be purchased as DLC.