Ever since childhood, I have been a huge fan of Battleship games. Originally, the game consisted of a physical board upon which two players placed plastic toy ships. Being separated by a dividing wall, players had to guess where their opponent’s ships resided on their board. The board was divided up into a grid with each spot represented by an alphanumeric. Each player would take turns calling out and alphanumeric hoping to “hit” a ship in their enemy’s fleet. Once a ship’s total grid spaces were hit, that ship would be “sunk”. The goal was to take out the opponent’s entire fleet before they found and demolished yours. The exciting edge-of-your seat game experienced great success in the analogue and electronic board game front. For years the Battleship idea has been emulated for electronic devices. I have been searching for a version for the iPhone but was always nervous about paying for a lackluster representation of the original. Today I have found one that has blown me away – iSink U.
Artificial Life has just recently released this stunning battle ship title into the iTunes App Store. Upon first glance, I was immediately hooked on the stunning graphics. They have the feel of being hand drawn, but not along the lines of Doodle Jump or Parachute Panic (which are beautiful in there own way). iSink U comes off as a polished colored pencil work of art. The UI is exceptional as well, guiding new players through a built-in tutorial and introducing them to the ships. I could go on and on about the look and feel about iSink U, but where the game exceeds my standards in it’s new 3D take on the original battle ship idea.
Artificial Life has built its battle ship world around an impressive 3D engine. Not only does the game display amazing fly-overs while you fire upon the enemy fleet, but it lets you control the 3D camera while positioning your ships and determining your next move. Take for example the depth iSink U sports when planning your fleet placement. First rotate, pan, or zoom the screen to get a good look at your grid layout options. Then touch a ship to pick it up. Its shadow will show on the grid beneath to show where it will end up. Drag the vessel and rotate it using the active buttons now on screen. Once you have the ship where you like, it will drop into place with an amusing splash. After all your ships are arranged according to your liking, the war begins.
iSink pits you against the computer or against another player using the same iDevice in Head-to-head mode. Each turn grants you five Action Points. These are essentially the amount of ammo you can use by firing a single shot or multiple shots via advanced weaponry. Determine where to target your foe’s board and fire away. If an enemy boat is hit, a smoking fiery grid space will result. Take out an entire ship and a neat animated sinking ship will appear under the water surface. Alternating turns continue in this manner until one player dominates the other’s fleet.
Sounds and music are in line with the visuals – exceptional. Surprisingly, when we activated the soundtrack, we thought our iPod library was playing in the background. But no, iSink U has an astounding score on par with a sea faring epic adventure. If it sounds like we’re giving iSink U all praise, well, so far we are. The AppSmile team has fallen in love with the game. However, if there was one feature we would request it would be online gameplay. Just imagining the iSink U experience against an online rival gets our hearts pumping battleship blood. As it is, iSink U captures a 5-Dimple award from this team.
iSink U gets our AppSmile 5-Dimple rating: