More recently, I’ve had my fair share of simulation games to review. Each one has unveiled a unique experience, and some are better than others. Therefore, when I was offered yet another fine title from this genre, I was a little hesitant. However, Ship Simulator wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Instead, this short endeavour tries to hold your interest while testing your nautical abilities.
Developed by 100 Games and published by Ultimate Games SA, this is a simulation experience. What’s more, there are some minor business elements, and a plethora of missions to complete. On top of this, you’re expected to buy 3 vessels and master their individual characteristics. As such, it will test your spatial awareness, patience, and sea legs.
Ship Simulator is a little dry for my liking.
Ironically, a game that is as wet as this is strangely dry as hell. Subsequently, its slow gameplay and drawn-out mechanics will divide its audience. Some people will love the intricacies and slow action. Whereas, others will find it tedious, boring, and time-consuming. I flitted between loving it and loathing it and found its core concept equally fascinating and dull.
You are the owner of a shipping company that must start from the bottom and work your way up. Your role is to purchase each of the 3 vehicles, repair them, and complete a range of missions. By doing this, you’ll earn mountains of cash while helping the locals of this Baltic seaport. As the mission progresses, you’ll experience more challenging and convoluted tasks. Accordingly, you’ll be asked to deliver cargo, repair structures, tow boats, save people, and more. Alongside this, there are moments when you must control your crew to complete QTEs.
This bizarre blend of action and simulation was unusual, yet interesting. The change of pace between sailing your ship and managing your crew prevented the game from becoming tiresome. During these unusual quests, you are expected to instruct every person to fight fires, repel pirates, and so forth. Though easy enough to achieve, there was some tactical nuance that ensured it was fun and challenging.
A repetitive gameplay loop.
Where Ship Simulator fails is its repetitive gameplay loop. Unlike its peers, the familiar approach lacks appeal and depth. Moreover, the basic machinery and simple tasks are mastered too soon. As such, you’ll crave variety as well as a tougher experience. However, this doesn’t occur, and you are left wanting.
Had the developers incorporated brutal weather fronts, in-game damage, and an element of risk, then this would be vastly improved. As it is, the damage has no bearing on your approach. The weather doesn’t impact each ship’s movement, and crashing is an inconvenience rather than a risk. Therefore, you adopt a carefree attitude as you barge, hit, and bump your way to success.
Ship Simulator lacks a modern finish.
I don’t play simulation titles for their graphics. Yet, I expect them to be polished with only minor issues. Disappointingly, Ship Simulator has a mediocre render distance. The ships lack detail, and it is hard to differentiate between the sea and obstacles. These problems combine to present a dated game that is extremely rough around the edges. Thankfully, though, the animation of the machines and the highlighted tasks make it simple and fun to complete each objective.
I despise lacklustre audio, and sadly, Ship Simulator delivers just that. Its soundtrack comprises one folksy and upbeat tune in a loop. Furthermore, the sound effects are basic, tinny, and flat. Unfortunately, the environmental sounds aren’t much better. The developers had the chance to create an audiophile’s dream soundscape. Instead, the opportunity is missed, and the delivery is underwhelming.
Aesthetically, this falls short. However, it is extremely user-friendly. Thanks to the simple UI and excellent controls, you’ll master each vessel in no time. What’s more, the variety of missions and each ship’s characteristic keeps you on your toes.
Alongside this, there is some longevity and replay value. Every mission is timed, and if you so wish, you can try to go faster. Other than this, however, there is little reason to return. As such, once you finish each of the 24 missions, you are unlikely to return. This was unusual for a simulation game as they normally ooze replay value. However, Ship Simulator is somewhat lacking.
Ship Simulator should have been better.
It’s rare that I dislike an Ultimate Games SA title. But unfortunately, Ship Simulator isn’t that great. With poor visuals, repetitive audio, and underwhelming mechanics, you’ll beg for more. On top of this, it is missing an element of risk and reward, and this ensures that the action is flat. Yes, I liked many of its core principles, but the execution and presentation let it down. Accordingly, I can’t recommend that you buy it. However, more information can be found here! Running a shipping company is no mean feat. Yet, with some enthusiasm and money behind you, you’ll succeed where others have failed.