Ships 22 (Xbox Series X) Review
Michael P Cleworth
Creative gameplay concept
Very slow pace
I’d like to say that Game’s Box’s latest Xbox release, Ships 22, was ship-shape (I’m so sorry) but sadly it’s a far cry from ‘full sails ahead’, instead choosing to hit that iceberg within the first 10-minutes of play. With the nautical puns – almost – out of the way, let’s take a look at why, exactly, this particular voyage was a disaster of Titanic proportions.
Ship Maintenance Lacks any Sign of Depth
After buying your first ship, your job is to don your greasy overalls and repair it. Don’t get too excited, though. The complicated process of ship repair is stripped right back to the arduous process of going through a list and clicking ‘repair’ on each broken component.
It would have been nice to have seen some sort of mini-game for these tasks. As it stands, however, there’s very little fun to be had in repairing your vessels.
This is where Games Box first drops the ball, and with it being so early on in the game, it’s far from a great first impression.
Ships 22 – Gameplay and Graphics
During my experience with Ships 22, I was tasked with a handful of different jobs, each widely different from the last. Yes, this at least brings a dash of variety to the game, but it’s like choosing your favorite venereal disease; none of them are particularly welcome.
Loading Ships in Ships 22
The first real job you are likely to come across in Ships 22 is loading and unloading a shipping container ship. While sitting 200 feet up in the air and hauling heavy shipping containers around sounds like it would make a fun mini-game, Ships 22 managed to make even this repetitive, confusing, and painstakingly tedious.
Time can be boosted to four times the usual speed but even at the maximum setting, the crane moves at the pace of a mobility scooter. After battling with the fiddly controls – that change depending on the camera angle – and positioning the crane, you pick up a container from the flatbed or ship and move it to the indicated position. This needs to be done five times and I felt like a nap after each one.
Sail your Concrete Refrigerator
After surviving the tedium of loading your ship, you get to sail(?) it to harbors new. Again, this isn’t half as cool as it looks on paper. The cargo ship moves at the pace of – and handles like – a concrete refrigerator. Despite having the game at maximum speed, it seemed like an eternity before it was safely docked.
Just as the relief was about to wash over us, we had to do it again, this time in stormy weather – oh the joy.
Fire Drills in Ships 2022
The third and last mini-game we could endure involved putting out fires using your ship’s crew. At best, this was a confusing process, and the task instructions were in broken English, only adding to our state of bewilderment. It’s a crying shame because this is the one mini-game that looked vaguely interesting to us.
Ships 2022 – Summary
If you’re looking for a solid simulation game to get your teeth stuck into, there are far better contenders on the market (and Game Pass) today. 2022 has been a great year for simulation fans, but after playing Ships 2022 we fear they are fast becoming shovelware.
This isn’t to say Ships 2022 has no potential. The idea is there, but sadly the final product looks and feels unfinished while offering very little in the way of depth or fun.
If you would like to see it for yourself, Ships 2022 is available now on the Xbox Marketplace. The game is also available on Steam, where it was initially launched.