You sank my battleship…again.
I am a new iPhone owner but, over the three or four weeks now that it has been in my possession, I have never really viewed it as a gaming system, preferring to use my PSP for games on the move or on the toilet. So Warships was my first go at gaming on the iPhone and a nostalgic one it was, being an electronic version of the board game Battleships that I played as a kid through the late seventies and eighties.
The premise of the game is exactly the same as it always has been, played out over two identical grids as playing fields. The player first sets out his fleet of ships on his own grid as the opposition, be it another player or an AI opponent, does so on their own grid. Then each player takes alternate turns firing a shot on a single square of the opposing players grid, hoping to score a hit on one of their ships which are, of course, not visible to the attacking player. If a hit is not scored the other player then gets to take a shot and play moves back forth like that through to the games end, with the one difference. If either player scores a hit, they are allowed to take a another shot for every hit they make and so the game continues until the winner has sunk the entirety of the enemy fleet.
The games visuals are pretty good considering what is involved is little more than a grid over a water background and representation of ships. What is cool however, is that there are three different visual styles for the player to choose, from Spanish galleons, modern day warships or futuristic style ships, each firing their own suitable ammunition, be it cannonballs or glowing green missiles. The sound is pretty much the same in that aspect, being spot on for what is required, with a satisfying radar ping when selecting options from the menus and placing your ships. The whistle and boom of your shots again bringing back memories of playing the board game and creating our own bomb noises.
The controls are also just as simple and yet perfectly suited for the game. The iPhoneâ€™s touch screen was another of the reasons that, up until this point, I had refrained from playing games on it. I was unsure how games would play using it as a control system. This being my first game on the phone, I do not have anything to compare it with. But for this game, the control system works really well with players simply dragging and dropping their ships into place on the setup screen. Moving onto the tactical part of the game, it involves nothing more than tapping the square you wish to target and tapping once more on the fire button. The controls are pretty much spot on, with me only hitting the wrong target area a few times, but then this could be down to my oversized hands.
The gameplay is very much like the games in the Miniâ€™s range on the PSP. Being that both platforms share a lot of these titles, that makes sense. But it also means that these games, including Warships, are ideally suited for picking up and playing for five or ten minutes. Perfect for fitting a single match in on the fly, or two or three matches if you have a little more time on your hands.
Although Warships does not really offer up anything new or original, it is perfect for those who fondly remember the board game that it was inspired by, if only for nostalgic reasons.
Warships: Sea On Fire, from I-play, is available from the App Store, here, for the price of Â£1.19