Full steam ahead, or abandon ship?
Developer: Magic Pockets
Release date: May 15, 2012
From the very first trailer, we all knew that the Battleship movie was going to be a disaster. We also knew that such a big-budget movie was inevitably going to have a video game tie-in, and one of them managed to hit the Nintendo 3DS. Does this video game bomb as hard as the movie, or does this title reach for higher ground?
You can only expect so much story from a game where the enemies are giant alien robot ships. That said, this game doesn’t immerse the player in a deep storyline or anything of the sort. You will be introduced to some of the ship officers and their specialties, but mostly the story is just concerned with rescuing ships and defeating aliens. It’s not really a game that needs to be story-heavy, though.
Battleship is a 2D strategy game, similar to something like Advance Wars or Fire Emblem. You’re given a selection of ships, mostly taken from the classic Battleship game, and you need to use them to destroy all of the enemy alien ships. The basic mechanics work fine and are pretty hard to mess up, but the game gets difficult surprisingly fast. Part of the problem is that most of the field is covered in a fog of war, so you can’t see the enemy ships, but they can see you, so it’s not balanced that well. While the gameplay is smooth, the overall experience is frustrating. There are some extra options you have, like a Special Move or the Duel! mode, but they don’t add a whole lot to the experience.
Battleship actually makes clever use of the 3DS controls. You move your ships around on a 2D grid, divided into numerous squares, using the D-pad, while the Circle Pad moves the camera around the map; this is a rather smart use of the two pads. The Touch Screen is used sparingly, which is wise; you can use it to zoom around the map quickly, and it also is front and center in the somewhat interesting Duel! mode. Overall, navigating and controlling your ships is easy to do.
Some parts of the game look good, while others are a bit phoned in. Ships and menus look decent, and there are the occasional in-game cutscenes that look pretty impressive. On the other hand, characters are all hand-drawn, and a bit goofily at that. There’s also no voice acting, which could have either helped or hindered the production, but the music is surprisingly fun to listen to. Thankfully, the 3D effect is used well, and the visuals aren’t sunken in too far, so it’s easier on the eyes than some other games.
Final Word (Not an average): 2.8/5
Overall, the game’s biggest problem is the frustrating difficulty, which took me by surprise when I played. It’s easy to get a grip on how the game plays, and the intuitive controls, but not being able to see your enemies makes the game more annoying than it needs to be. If you’re looking for a challenging RTS game, this could be a good buy for you, but don’t get this game just because of the name on the front of the box.