Naval Warfare is a stylish, top-down arcade shooter with numerous tactical elements, driven by an entertaining story with beautifully hand-drawn comic sequences. It also features a thrilling campaign mode andoff-line multiplayer modes.
This is a PC version of Distillery’s Xbox Live Arcade title, Aqua: Naval Warfare. The game is set in a fictional, imperial Victorian setting. You play the part of Captain Benjamin Grey, the Commander of a Naval Super-Destroyer, and its your duty to destroy the enemy’s mighty ‘Boss Units’ in a military campaign of epic proportions in, under and above the surface. There are a huge variety of of challenging scenarios which have you leading your troops against wave after wave of massive attacks from ships, planes and gigantic Special Forces. The game is a shoot-em-up based at sea, and, if you hadn’t already guessed, I like it.
You have a quite a few choices on the single player menu: Campaign, Single Episode, Tutorial and Skirmish Mode. They are all pretty much self-explanatory, and after you have played the tutorial that explains all the controls etc., you are pointed towards the Campaign. Your first ship you get to play with is a modest affair with a regular machine gun, and, as you begin, you are treated to a very enjoyable and appealing story all in a beautiful hand-drawn comic strip style.
The game’s graphics are really nice. You are treated to a top-down view of some really gorgeous and highly detailed visuals. The water effects are awesome, especially as torpedoes and bombs go off, and these, coupled with the sound effects of the ships shooting at each other, are all really atmospheric.
In the later chapters as you face huge armies of enemies and have a few fellow shipmates to fight alongside you, the action really picks up a notch and you’ve got a real fight on your hands to sink those pesky enemies. Your weapons of choice for the control options in Naval Warfare are either your mouse and keyboard or joypad. Firstly, lets talk about the keyboard and mouse. This is probably going to be the most common method used as not everyone likes a joypad. I, however, found it very hard to get used to. You use the w,a,s,d keys to control the direction of your unit, and the left mouse button to shoot, along with the use of buttons like the spacebar to lay mines. It is very fiddly and I found it hard to point the boat in the right direction so I could shoot the enemies down. I therefore opted to use my Microsoft 360 controller and this enhanced my enjoyment so much. It is much easier to use, and Naval Warfare is fully compatible with it, even changing the control prompts to show the correct buttons on-screen. It makes the game have that arcade feel it should have, and from the moment I started to use it onwards, I really started to enjoy the game.
There is a multiplayer option, however, sadly, it is off-line only, so you both play on the same screen. This would have been great back in the old school daysbefore the internet, but nowadays, come on guys! Multiplayerlives on the internet these day. If Navel Warfare had an online multiplayer option, it would open up some great skirmish matches and you could easily have scoreboards as so many other games do. When a game like this is released on a platform like Steam, Iwould have expected these kind of features to be included, but at least there is local multiplayer rather than none at all.
With that aside, Naval Warfare is not too bad, the story line is pretty gripping, and while the the actual game play does become tedious and after a few chapters you find you really want to play on to find out where the plot goes next. Not a bad game for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
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