Sea King – The Switch Island Review
The game offers itself as a top down shooter, with up to four ships available in any scenario. The overall look of the game is quite nice, nothing revolutionary, but very colourful ship designs and some other cartoony features blend to give it a nice light-hearted theme.
The soundtrack overall is rather enjoyable, which is a collection of various sea-shanty inspired ditties with enough variety to never feel repetitive.
But the dialogue! Dear God, the dialogue… A constant barrage of “Oh ho! Dead ahead! Weigh anchor! Fire in the hole!” Now while the voice actor does a fine job of the accent (I was half expecting a rendition of Spongebob Squarepanrts at one point!) why oh why did the developers feel the need to have him shouting out constantly? Avast man, Avast! Thankfully there is an option to turn him off and I made use of this option
However, immediately upon starting the game in single player you start to see signs of issues.
The game itself offers up to a maximum of four players, but with the very quick respawn rate, you could easily be forgiven for thinking that there are seven or even eight players on the battlefield as it becomes that confusing. When others respawn, normally right on top of your gunnel, they can instantly fire before having become a solid mass, while you are sat squarely in their line of sights waiting for your cannons cool down to clear.
Add to this confusion your respawn, which sometimes shows your player name above your ship, sometimes not, sometimes you’re on screen, you’re left searching around the screen trying to locate yourself before… Dammit! Sunk again! Even more infuriatingly, sometimes you spawn and are moved a distance by the computer before it relinquishes control over to you. Why? Reasons us mere landlubbers cannot comprehend.
The AI players are heavily unbalanced and quite often fire on you after immediately rounding a corner leaving you there thinking that that shot should never have been possible. Hit detection is also off too, I fired several cannon balls into my opponents only for them to laugh it off and kill me in one shot. On the last man standing modes I was also left sitting watching the screen for up to thirty seconds while the final two AI characters chased each other round a rock, each got stuck, then reversed directions to circle the rocks again. At this point I decided to play the Benny Hill theme tune to see if that would add any more enjoyment. It didn’t.
The game offers a whopping total of twelve game modes which is great considering the small cost of the game. There are the usual Deathmatch and Capture the Flag affairs, but also a couple of other nice additions, such as Fishing, Shark Pong and even the Fortnite inspired Kraken Hugs, where an octopus’ arms encircle the arena and gradually tighten up.
However, play these in single player mode and each variation becomes meaningless due to all the issues I have mentioned previously. There’s even a mode that requires you to remain still for four seconds while a seagull gets himself settled in your crows nest, but given that most of the players in single player mode can be demolished within a second of starting, there seemed to be no point in hanging around in this mode too long.
Then we come the local multiplayer mode. Now that the issue of the AI had been removed, I looked forward to playing this with my children, and for a time we had fun. That was until the hitbox issue, the sometimes-non-responsive controls and the general confusion of the game became apparent to them. Not even the Kraken mode could hold them entertained for long (my boy is a massive Fortnite fan). In all they lasted seventeen minutes!! I even turned the narration on to get the kids a bit more immersed, do they not realise the sacrifices I had to make there? At this point they became mutinous and swapped to Minecraft
All in all, I found this to be a very poor, washed up experience suffering from massive balance issues that became too insufferable to persevere. If the developers could iron out some of these problems then this could become an enjoyable local co-operative experience,
But for now, best to send this one to Davy Jones’ Locker.