Also On: PS4
Developer: Frima Studio
Reimagining old board games for current video game consoles is not a new thing. From Monopoly on the NES in 1991 to the recently released Battleship on Xbox One, there is no shortage of board games to be played on consoles. Some shine, while others fall hopelessly short. Battleship sits somewhere in that lukewarm middle section. Nothing about it makes it stand out, but nothing about it is bad either.
Battleship has a lot of flashy lights and fancy graphics, but at its heart it is simply that, Battleship. It plays the same as the board game, you have your board and your opponents side by side. You pick your grid square to either shoot or probe and fire. A miss is marked with a white peg, a hit with a red and a “spot” with a green. The spotting technology is a nice mechanic, allowing you to shoot and see if you will get a hit without wasting an actual shot on that position. This is balanced by giving you a number of points per turn, some for shooting and some for marking. The way you spend those is up to you, you can save them for a few turns or use them all every turn.
The campaign truly is the bright spot of this iteration of Battleship, with different missions set to showcase the different powers that are introduced. If you choose to save your shots or your spots for a few turns, you can cash them in for some serious power ups. You can choose bombing runs that clear entire rows or spotting shots that cover a large area when fired. These introductions are interesting, but take away the core fundamentals of what make Battleship fun. The game can be played in classic mode however, which is the way you should play if you’re looking for nostalgia.
Multiplayer falls abysmally short, with the local gameplay relying on your opponent looking away from your screen and vice versa. If you want to recapture the magic of playing Battleship with your buddies, I suggest pulling out the board game and… playing Battleship with your buddies. The game really cannot improve on anything the board game has, it just tries out new things. I give the team credit for branching out and trying something new but if you already own the board game, you are not missing anything by not playing this one.
Past its shiny exterior are the basic fundamentals of Battleship, but you have to dig to get them. Battleship was one of my favorite games growing up and one I have many fond memories of, but this game doesn’t quite hit the nail on the head. I can see and appreciate the changes and ideas that the development team had, but if you go in expecting just a normal Battleship game you will not find it here. Blow the dust off your old physical version of the game and play it before spending your money on this iteration and enjoy your nostalgia free of charge.