Her Majesty’s Ship
Developer: Every Single Soldier
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Genre: Strategy, Action, Simulation
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 15/09/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Her Majesty’s Ship puts players into the boots of an ambitious British navy ship captain in a race to become admiral. The primary objective is promotion to Admiral of the Fleet. There is, however, more layers to the game than that. Managing the crew, the ship, and engaging in naval combat is of high importance. Her Majesty’s Ship transports players back to the 18th century – the time of England’s naval rivalry with the Spanish and Dutch. If you’ve seen the Pirates of the Caribbean films, you probably know the gist of this era.
Unfortunately, the combat in HMS does little to live up to that classic naval rivalry of old. Combat animations are poor and resorts to nothing more than a few clicks of a button. You don’t do a whole lot in combat, either. Combat is mostly auto-generated based on inventory; how much gunpowder, guns etc. is stocked on your ship. It’s over all too quickly and you never really feel engaged in this age-old battle for naval supremacy.
A Lightweight Management Sim
HMS begins by walking you through a tutorial but it’s hardly necessary as the entire game is nothing more than a lightweight management sim. Any depth of strategy is dissipated by flags. These flags denote orders to complete within a certain amount of time. For the most part, what follows is fairly basic resource management to make your ship more efficient and keep the crew happy, as to avoid a mutiny.
There are more than a dozen stations on the ship and credit where credit’s due, HMS does a great job at being historically accurate in this regard. There are elements in HMS that help immerse the player in the experience of managing an English navy ship in the 18th century. Really, it’s the minimum amount of immersion but it’s just enough to make the experience somewhat enjoyable.
Eat, Sleep, and Drink (Plenty of Rum)
Avoiding mutiny is as simple as keeping your crew well fed, rested, and quenching their thirst for rum. Food rationing can be raised to a pleasant level by increasing your ship’s carrying capacity; something that will happen naturally as you progress. Letting the crew sleep longer at night will also keep them happy. Though, sometimes they have to be kept up if they’re involved in a battle. Nothing keeps your men merrier than keeping them well stocked on rum and plenty of it.
A Poor Port
The Switch port of HMS, specifically, is nothing short of terrible. Management sims are usually at home on PC. Nonetheless, successful console ports are not unheard of. This Switch port, however, is far from a success. The UI is unintuitive and clearly designed for PC with no real effort to make it intuitive for the Switch. In handheld mode, there’s no use of the touch screen which also feels like a missed opportunity as it could have made some parts of the UI easier to navigate.
The ship itself controls fairly well but navigating different parts such as sailing or micromanaging the crew is a headache. It requires the player to switch between control modes and this is perhaps the game’s biggest problem. I never got into it because of the clunky controls. I sympathise with the difficult job developers have when it comes to porting controls for a game like this to the Switch. It simply isn’t good enough and took me out of the experience.
Her Majesty’s Ship, in particular the Switch port, might as well be the Titanic; this Switch port belongs at the bottom of the ocean. It might be a halfway decent game on PC but on the Switch, it simply does not work. HMS involves too much mindless micromanaging which lacked any depth in how one manages their resources independently, for better or worse. The experience gets no better due to how unintuitive the controls are. As far as this Switch port goes, I cannot recommend it.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can buy Her Majesty’s Ship for Switch from the Nintendo eShop.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.