Battleship is one of those classic board games I have been expecting for quite some time to arrive for the iPhone. You all know what it is about; sink the opposition by trying to find enemy ships and submarine. You do this by taking turns firing a salvo each. Electronic Arts has also injected the game with two faster game modes. Salvo mode lets you shoot as many shots as you have surviving vessels. This mode really makes the game feel more urgent as you have to sink the opposition quickly to gain an advantage in number of shots you can fire. Super Weapons mode lets you use an array of new weapons such as mines, large missiles and one-hit to kill missiles. You get to choose your armament before venturing out in battle.
Each weapon recharge at different speeds, and some are single use or active until hitting an enemy. This gives a new spin to the game, and using the weapons at their full potential is key to winning. Or is it?
Actually the really big problem with Battleship is the stupid AI. I win 95 out of a 100 rounds easily. The AI is easy to predict, doesn’t go for massive kills but lets your ships survive for extra rounds in Salvo mode. If I place my ships in a certain pattern for three consecutive rounds I can basically pinpoint where the AI will place its ships. This really drags the game down like a leaking submarine.
There are a lot of multiplayer options such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and pass n play. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi plays exactly as good as playing the real Battleship, and if you enjoy that it is easy to recommend getting Battleship. Local pass n play is cumbersome, as you have to make sure not to show your layout to the opponent. I found it much better to play the real Battleship instead of the iPhone version.
Battleship looks great with nifty animations, great user interface and menu systems. The sound is good as well with explosions, sonar sounds and the ability to play your own music. As a representation of a board game it does a really good job without trying to top the original.
Achievements and unlockable super weapons give the game some extra gamelife but once you figure out how weak the AI is the game more or less dies on you. Some achievements are impossible to get by skill such as hitting every enemy vessel in the first salvo. You get promoted depending on the number of sunk enemies, and in the beginning this is fun but at higher levels you have to sink too many for it to be the sole motivation to keep playing.
Battleship is a great game played over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi against your friend or foe. Pass n play is not as good as the original because of the private nature of the game. What I have to place emphasis on in my final rating is the poor AI. I would have loved to get some different personalities for the AI to get mellow or aggressive behaviors. As it is now it is all too predictable, and once you crack it the fun goes out the window. Still it is a good way to spend the time waiting in line, but it is not the kind of game I yearn to play more of.
My final score is skewed towards the poor single player experience but even so the game is not bad, and neither is the three stars I give it. Good production values, and the new game modes make it appealing and if you have a friend nearby with an iPhone or iPod Touch this is a good way to settle who is the best commander.
Seller: Electronic Arts