Developed By : Marmalade Game Studio
Published By : Marmalade Game Studio
Category : Board Game, Multiplayer
Release Date : July 24, 2019
When is a video game not a video game? When it’s actually a digital re-representation of a board game of course! For years now, there have been digital releases of everybody’s favorite board game classics, as a way to gather everyone around the TV for virtually the same experience. These remakes take the original and will sometimes expand on it in a new and unique way, such as Yahtzee! Bowling from Hasbro Family Game Night 4 (for those who played that one on the Wii). Or, they can take the original and just spice it up with cool visualizations for any of it’s mechanics. Battleship on the Nintendo Switch will do both of these, bringing you back to the classic while also putting a small, new spin on how it can be played.
Now, everybody remembers this classic board game. You and a friend (or family member) would each get a 10×10 board with some white pegs, red pegs, and five ships. The ships get splayed out on your grid, which represents your own personal corner of the ocean, hopefully in a pattern that will be impossible to determine allowing you to best your opponent. You each take turns calling out positions on the grid and hoping you get a hit instead of missing and splashing up some water. Be the first to sink all of your opponents ships and you’ll be the naval victor!
All of that is back and more in this game. Duke it out against an opponent, face off against a friend locally (don’t worry the game helps you not cheat/be cheated), or prove you have what it takes against a random opponent online. No matter where, you’ll get the same cool experience. You can navigate the grid to choose your shots either with the joy-con or touchscreen, and if you miss be treated to a small little splash. Land a hit (or get hit by your opponent) and a small explosion will trigger. Once you make all hits necessary to sink a ship, you’ll be treated to an image of a flaming ship as it slowly goes down underwater.
I hear you though. “But Mike, that’s just the classic board game, what do we get that’s new?” Specifically made for this release of the game, players can drop into a new career mode called Commanders, where just about everything is different from the shape of your ships, the layout of the grid, and even how you’ll take your turns.
In Commanders, one of the first choices you’ll get to make is if you want to play on a classic 10×10 grid, or a more uniquely shaped one that is ultimately 9×10. You’ll also need to select which captain you’d prefer to go to war with, because they all have special moves that are unique to themselves, which we will discuss in a bit. After you’ve made these choices, you’ll be presented with your grid and your ships that are, as I mentioned before, differently shaped. Up until this point, it operates much the same as the original version of the game, just with a slightly different visual aspect.
However, once you start firing shots is where things get a little bit more wild. For the most part your turn performs the same, you’ll pick a spot on the grid, fire a shot and either hit or miss. Underneath the image of your captain, though, you’ll see a number which represents your current amount of energy. On the bottom left of your screen will be four special moves that you can perform on your turn as well, provided you have enough energy. Three of these the same for every captain, while the fourth and most powerful is the one unique to each person.
First, you can choose to lay a mine down on your own field. If this mine gets hit, it will fire two shots at random onto your opponents field. Next, you can choose to scan off of one of your white pegs (missed shots) on your opponents field. This will perform a sonar sweep and reveal to you how many of the adjacent squares have hittable objects, however it won’t tell you which squares so think of this like you would Minesweeper. Lastly, for the universal specials, you can drop a bomb of shots on a 2×2 grid, potentially hitting multiple targets at once.
The unique moves are the most expensive, but again are quite powerful and have the potential to shift the momentum entirely in a single moment. These will do such things as dropping a torpedo down in a single row or column, and hitting everything possible in that line. Perform an air strike that works in much the same way, raking down a single row. Or have a half dozen shots randomly drop down, peppering your opponents ships.
All these moves cost energy points, which you generate in one of two ways. Each time it becomes your turn, you automatically gain two points. Also, if and when your opponent hits your ship, you’ll gain one point for each hit of damage taken this way. It might hurt if they land a handful of shots in a row, but with a good stroke of luck you can throw it right back in their face.
If Battleship had just contained a reimagining of the classic board game, I would be advising you to not bother and spend less of your money on the physical version of the board game. However, playing with friends locally and online helps this one out a little bit. The new Commanders mode, helps it out a lot. This new mode doesn’t take away from the original at all, rather it keeps it and builds upon it giving you a new and fun experience. Or if you prefer the classic way, then play the classic way. Whether it is played in it’s physical board game form, or right here on the Switch, Battleship is a game that should absolutely be played by all.
I would also like to note that the game does support online play, and connectivity wasn’t an issue for me at all. I found myself able to easily jump into games against others, and didn’t expect any disconnections whatsoever.