Ah, Battleship. Many thirty- and forty-somethings likely have fond memories of sitting at a kitchen table with a friend or sibling, and opening up the plastic game that faces away from your opponent. Oh the fun in yelling out "B – 2!" and watching your rival’s face sour, meaning it was a direct hit on their fleet. Your goal, of course, is to blow the enemy out of the water before they can do the same. And who could forget that timeless and cheesy line from the commercial: "Hey, you sank my battleship!"
Fast-forward to the 21st century and iWin has converted this classic Hasbro board game into a digital download. The result is Battleship Fleet Command, which includes the original game of naval strategy as well as a bonus mode with new rules and weapons. It’s missing one major feature, but as with iWin’s resurrection of Risk, this Battleship remake is fun and nostalgic.
In case you were so addicted to Monopoly you never played a game of Battleship, the rules works as follows. Each player must first place their naval fleet on a board, which resembles a grid of vertical letters and horizontal numbers. This is your little piece of ocean, if you will. Each of your five ships varies in size, so a PT Boat is only two pegs on the board (e.g. G-5 and G-6), while your submarine and destroyer are three, your battleship is four and the aircraft carrier is five.
After each side places their fleet – in this game, you’re playing against the computer artificial intelligence – it’s time to fire a shot towards the opponent’s grid (such as C-7) and hope to make a direct hit. Once you do, you can use trial and error to try to figure out the adjacent spots so that the entire ship is destroyed. Whichever side destroys all five enemy ships first, wins.
Players can stick to the normal rules or try out one of the four different firing options: Single Shot, Triple Shot, Salvo (one shot for every ship afloat) or Volley (fire until you miss). This adds a bit more replayability to the original game.
Plus, as the name of the game suggests, Fleet Command is a new Battleship mode where players not only have multiple firing options (per above) but enjoy different weapons and types of war machines, including bomber planes deployed from your aircraft carrier, torpedoes launched from your subs, and so on.
Battleship Fleet Command is likely to put a silly smirk on the faces of those who grew up playing the original, but it’s missing one important feature that made the original game so fun: human opponents. Surprisingly, you can’t play this turn-based strategy game over the Internet against real opponents – such as your brother who lives in another city – nor can you play on the same computer against someone in your home (naturally, you’d need to ensure your opponent wouldn’t look at your screen when not allowed). These omissions are, in a word, disappointing.
That said, Battleship Fleet Command is at the very least worthy of a try-before-you-buy download for those with fond memories of the game, or casual strategy fans. The attractive graphics – including animated weapon attacks and sinking ships – add to the game’s appeal, too, as does its suitable music and warring sound effects. But it’s not the same yelling "Hey, you sank my Battleship!" to a A.I.-driven, computer-controller player.