Turn-based mobile games, also known as play-by-mail games, have proved themselves to be hugely popular over the last few years. Millions of players have embraced their tactical sides and spawned huge success stories like Draw Something and Words With Friends.
Naval Warfare Multi-Shot is reminiscent of the classic game of Battleships, except with a few twists to the gameplay to make it more palatable for the mobile generation. The game has been developed by a small development team of two people for the iOS platform, which means it’s a truly independent production.
You Sunk My Best Ship
If you’ve not played Battleships before – and really, I’ll be surprised if there’s anyone reading this who hasn’t – then allow me to briefly explain the concept. Both players place their ships on a grid-based board before taking pot-shots at one another’s fleet. The locations of the ships are hidden from view but as more and more shots are taken there are less targets to aim at. The player who sinks all of the opposition’s ships is the winner. Simple, fun, board game fun.
To make this formula work on the iPhone and iPad, Naval Warfare Multi-Shot introduces a few tweaks to the concept. Taking single pot-shots at one another over mobile devices would take quite some time, and there’s a good chance you or your partner would get very bored before a single game is done. To combat the tedium, each player starts the game with five shots each. Mark your targets, hit fire and cross your fingers.
Every time a player loses a ship, the number of available shots is reduced. Before the end of the game you might find yourself taking one or two shots per turn, but with a vastly reduced number of targets this ensures it’s not all over too soon. Because ships can’t overlap or touch each other, each time a ship is sunk the cells surrounding it will be deactivated, meaning you can’t fire at them which also serves to speed up the game somewhat.
The game is a universal iPad and iPhone app, and though both versions are identical in terms of features the iPad version naturally provides more space to plan your shots and more information is viewable on-screen at one time. In short, Naval Warfare Multi-Shot is basically Battleships with a brisker pace that translates into a turn-based mobile game quite nicely (provided Battleships is your thing, of course).
In fact, this game follows on from a previous title released by the same two developers which stuck rigidly to the one-shot per turn rules. They’ve learned a lot since then, taken feedback on-board and come up with this faster-paced variant instead.
HMS Game Center
Apple’s decision to make proper use of Game Center as an actual matchmaking service like Xbox Live is taken full advantage of here. In fact you’ll need a Game Center account in order to play. This is a hugely welcome addition and completely removes the need to register yet another account with another developer with another password.
All games go through Game Center, meaning that notifications are taken care of and inviting people to play is as easy as picking them from your Game Center friends list. The option to pick a random opponent is also present and worth noting, especially because all matches must be played against human opponents. There is no AI, this is a strictly multiplayer affair – like a proper strategy game should be.
Players can have up to 30 active games at once, with multiple games against the same person also possible. There’s a chat feature included for insulting your foes on the right-hand side of the screen and a quick match status can be accessed via the anchor button at the top of the screen.
The interface might not be the prettiest on the App Store but it gets the job done, and the ability to scroll through the history of past moves using the buttons at the bottom of the screen is a very nice touch if you blinked and missed the last move. This makes it far more inviting to skip incoming moves if you’re sick of waiting for the animation to complete which you can also turn off from the settings menu.
Naval Warfare Multi-Shot is free and supported by adverts, which can be removed with an in-app purchase of $2.99. There are also additional skins that make the game look a lot nicer available for $0.99 each though neither of these purchases are required in order to play.
Naval Warfare Multi-Shot is a fun and well-executed free time-waster that will strike a chord with strategy and turn-based multiplayer fans. If you’re the type of person who enjoys a good game of Battleships then you’ll appreciate the modern twists added to this mobile outing. The fact that it’s the work of two dedicated individuals who have improved on their past forays into the App Store is just another feel-good reason to check it out.