Inspired by the classic board game Battleship, Skater Cat developer Teyon‘s latest 3DS title Sea Battle stays true to the source material while adding a few modern updates, like diagonal piece positioning, special weapons and online play. Is this modern take on a timeless classic worth the purchase?
As a child of the 80’s, I remember playing a lot of board games with my friends and family up until we all had Nintendos in our households. Sometimes we’d play fair, but other times we’d resort to cheating to put the odds in our favor. As was the case with Battleship, I’m sure anyone who’s played it has pulled off the ultimate dick move by positioning your carrier diagonally to throw off your friends, but in Sea Battle you can do just that and still abide by the rules.
Like Teyon’s previous offering Skater Cat, Sea Battle is very basic, but remains good at what it does. If you’re familiar with Battleship, you know exactly what to expect; you place your various ships along a grid and you and your opponent take turns pelting each other blindly with missiles until one of you runs out of pieces.
Sea Battle offers a classic mode that plays out just like Battleship, in which you can take on the A.I. or battle other players wirelessly. To shake things up a bit, you can also play on modern mode, which changes the rules around and grants a little more customization. For starters, you can increase or decrease the size of the grid — larger grids allowing for more ships to be used — and place mines that cause your opponent to lose a turn should they land on one. Modern mode also allows for diagonal ship positioning and the chance to unlock lucky weapon power-ups during gameplay; anything from sonar scanners to missiles that land on multiple grid squares when fired.
Since we received an advanced copy of Sea Battle for the purpose of this review, I wasn’t able to find anything in the way of online play prior to the game’s release. With that being said, I did put a fair amount of time in to the 2 single player modes — standard and challenge — and ended up having an issue with the A.I.’s method of playing. You can pick from normal or expert difficulty, but either way the A.I. tends to make some odd move choices. For instance on standard difficulty, the A.I. tends to spastically fire around the grid and rarely (if ever) follows up on direct hits, where as on expert they’ll still fire around the grid at random but only miss 1 out of every 5 shots. Cranking Sea Battle up to expert definitely adds to the challenge, but in a game that’s primarily about chance it seems that you’re the only one playing the guessing game.
Challenge Mode consists of 4 levels, with each having their own objective such as defeating your opponent while only using one ship. I did enjoy the objective-based gameplay of challenge mode, but found it odd that I was unable to customize my own grid. Since Battleship has always been a game you play with friends, I wish Teyon would have added more challenge levels to offer more content for the solo player.
Sea Battle released to the public on April 24th, so after spending time with the single player offerings, I hopped online to test out the multiplayer. Unfortunately I have nothing to report on my end as I never found another player online to play against as either the host or a guest, but hopefully more people pick the game up over the next few weeks so I can report back if there is anything significant to report.
Graphically Sea Battle is nothing to write home about, but it’s such a simple concept that I didn’t expect it to break any ground. That’s not to say that it’s an ugly game, but you can only do so much with grid-based naval warfare and colorful silhouettes telling you whether or not you’ve managed to hit an enemy target. As was the case with Skater Cat, the soundtrack seems limited but not in an unpleasant way.
Overall, Sea Battle is a cheap game that is easy to pick up and play to pass the time. It takes the classic Battleship formula and adds a little twist with modern mode and a few challenge levels, but there isn’t enough meat on its bones to chew at for more than an hour or so. Sadly there isn’t much going on online as well, but that’s of no fault of the game as the community will hopefully build over time.
Bradley Keene is an avid gamer & aspiring writer from Baltimore, MD that handles news, reviews and editing here at What’s Your Tag?. If he’s not writing or knee-deep in a video game, he’s usually watching low-budget horror films or following Orioles baseball. Follow him on Twitter, Twitch or contact him by e-mail. Love gaming? Join TEAM XBRO today!