This new title, available in Early Access, has you explore the seas and engage in challenging air-to-sea naval battles. Step in the shoes of a captain of the seas, fighting a terrible war against your neighbors while avoiding unknown and deadly dangers from the deep! Made by Decaying Logic and published by our friends in KISS Ltd., here comes the preview!

All Guns On Deck

You begin the game with a short but very helpful tutorial that explains how to manage a ship. By assigning your crew to different tasks which include shooting and reloading the guns, fixing leaks and fighting fires, you have to stroke a balance between micro and macro managing. Do you take charge and do a Harbinger, assuming direct control of the defenses? Or you stand back and give orders, watching your minions men do your bidding?

Or you would if you had something more to do, because this is where the game begins to fall short. By the devs own admission, they are focusing on combat balancing, so once you set up your crew you don’t have to do anything so you might as well take control of some guns and blast the bad guys. So far the only hazards that your crew has to manage are fires and leaks, but they only occur in the same places so just chucking the correct units there takes care of things. There are more unused units, such as hazmat crews that presumably handle radiation- nice!- but they aren’t being used right now.

In the future they will probably add more stuff for you to juggle, but for now you will have to make do with the combat. The glorious, glorious combat:

You face waves and waves of enemies. Downed fighters might eject and the pilots land on your HUD to sabotage your ship’s HP, so if you miss them with your guns you have to punt them away with the cursor. You have to check your armor and health constantly and use repairs and try to prioritize targets. Which is hard when there are so many that they can get away by rushing you and evading, dropping bombs on your ship. It takes tactics and some reflexes to beat some battles.

The AI is pretty decent with some guns, but when armored enemies appear you want to take control of your specialized anti-aircraft weapons because the AI is very bad at leading targets, probably by design to force players to be aware of the battle.

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There is a wide variety of guns and power ups, and some ships that you might take interest on. The overworld is terribly slow however and the movement is done by mouse clicks, but the pathfinding leaves a lot to be desired and needs some handholding. It would be better off using a menu system emulating a town for the land sections. Even the sea parts are already modeled after a map- complete with “here be monsters” parts!-, so a more fluid way to go around the world would be easily implemented.

Once you’re done with the fights, and there are a lot of those, there is nothing left to do. As more parts of the game are completed they will be unlocked: new ships and weapons, customization options including name and gender, cosmetics, taking over cities and fortifications, new continents and more factions.

Verdict

So far, the combat alone is good enough to warrant a purchase if you like a good shooter, but you should hold on a little more and see what more content is released before making a purchase. The game needs more stuff, and buying a game in Early Access can sometimes backfire; but I’m very optimistic about it, I almost can’t wait.

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