Deadliest Catch : The Game
Developer: Ultimate Games S.A
Publisher: Ultimate Games S.A, Playway S.A
Genre: Simulation, Nature, Fishing
Age Rating: N/A
Release Date: 14.04.2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
I must confess that I have never watched the Deadliest Catch TV show but upon hearing the game’s title, I was intrigued. I envisioned hunting down a vicious shark, the waves smashing the boat and travelling at breakneck speeds. It was certainly a surprise when I discovered that the “deadly catch” comes in the form of crab-fishing but is the game on troubled waters? Find out in this Rapid Review.
The core gameplay loop of simulation game Deadliest Catch is simple and repetitive. Firstly, you’ll start dockside, being able to purchase fuel, fishing supplies and even recruit A.I assistants from the pub. Because everyone knows the best way to hire workers is via a dockside pub! Who needs to interview new employees anyway?
Once the relevant fuel, supplies and humans are collected, it’s time to hit the seas. I was tasked with organising a crab-catching cage, adding the bait and buoys before placing the cage in the sea. Then time was skipped and the crabs were ready to be taken overboard. A hoist then lifts the cage, the crabs are taken onto the boat and then it’s crab sex sorting time! Crabs must be 360 degrees analysed and sorted into two piles. It’s boring, repetitive and a task that left me genuinely bewildered. Not once have I been asked to sort out the sexes of crabs in gaming before.
Once the crabs have been caught, it’s time to return to port, sell the crabs and repeat the cycle. I first played the tutorial which took me about an hour to complete and I felt pretty confident that I’d seen everything the game has on offer. Still, I played a few seasons of the campaign and my suspicions were true. The only thing to do is to catch crabs and upgrade your skills/ships to catch more crabs. Understandably, this is a simulation game but the repeated task should at least be fun. Unfortunately, the tasks in Deadliest Catch feel like… well… tasks, and not a fun gaming experience.
There’s no easy way to put this, the graphics in Deadliest Catch are extremely lacking. I played at the best graphic preset on offer and the textures were low-res with extreme clipping and graphical oddities. I often found my A.I crewmate clipped inside the crab cage which must have been painful.
On the plus side, the sex-sorting of crabs can be automatically performed by the A.I and the crewmate’s animation for this task is hilarious with their flailing arms. For a fishing game, the sea looks ok and it’s good to sea the waves, but the overall resolution issues make the game look poor for a licensed game from 2020.
When Crabs Fly
In one of the strangest design choices in gaming, the buttons to eject the caught crabs into the sea or to tip them into the gender-sorting table are right next to each other. I cannot count the number of times where after the arduous process of catching the crabs, I pressed the wrong button and saw my precious cargo drop back into the ocean.
On the rare occasions when I correctly caught and sorted the crabs, the leftover crabs had to be ejected into the sea. This resulted in a catapult of sorts where the crabs collectively launched over the ocean at breakneck speeds. It was a sight to behold and I sincerely hope that they survived the journey. The remaining crabs were then sold back at the dock and the funds from this allowed the crab-catching cycle to repeat. Unfortunately, the selling of crabs does not result in any funny animations with a standard U.I menu used instead.
What Sound Does a Crab Make?
The singular, yes singular, audio track sounds very good. But when it’s constantly played, the nautical yet sombre tune certainly loses its appeal. The ambient sounds of the ship are worth a mention as the engine hum works really well in showing the isolated nature of the ship left alone battling the waves. Unfortunately, the repetitive music caused me to mute the game and I instead listened to a podcast.
The Deadliest Catch?
It’s good to see that the developers are continuing to listen to feedback and work on the game, but at its current state, I find it very hard to recommend Deadliest Catch. Although the crab-catching cycle does allow for small upgrades in skill trees and ship changes, there simply isn’t enough of an incentive to stick to the grind.