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All Hands on Deck: “Ship of Fools”

Alright, folks, let’s get into this game that stood out to me like a lighthouse in a storm. The game? “Ship of Fools,” made by the folks at Team17. I had been itching for a solid game to play with my girlfriend on the couch, and when I eyed this one, it seemed like the perfect match.

Playing this game is like hopping onto a boat with a world of sea creatures as friends. You’re tasked with saving the world from some big storm using your ship, cannons, and teamwork. I snagged my controller and got ready to ride the waves with high hopes – I adore a good teamwork game.

But did this sea venture float my boat or did it sink before reaching the fun part? Let’s get into it and see why this game both thrilled and kind of let me down.

A Familiar Harbor: The Look and Feel

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So, picture sea life, like fish and such, but make them walk and talk as if they’re people. That’s the crew you get to play as in “Ship of Fools.” The art? It’s got that cartoon look, sketched out as if someone’s drawn it with a lot of love. But here’s the rub: I’ve seen a lot of these styles before. If you’re gonna make me a captain, I’m looking for a ship that stands out, you know?

The critters you control are adorable, that’s for sure, and they would pass for a great toy collection. But as for their sayings and jokes? It sounds a bit like they’re trying too hard to be cute and funny. It’s like, the game tells you, “Hey, go fight those sea monsters, save the world from this never-ending storm, and… that’s about it.” Not really the tall tale you’d tell around the campfire.

Don’t get me wrong, the people who you meet on the little island hub where you restock and start over are a bit more entertaining. They have a spark in their banter, but it’s not enough to make the game’s storytelling tug at the heartstrings.

When the Wind Picks Up: Gameplay Adventure

A game that says “do it again, and again, and again” needs to nail that “again” part. “Ship of Fools” has all the pieces for a blast of a game: tricks to learn, fun ideas, and a fresh feel. But it’s like starting with a boat that only wants to go in circles.

I’ll shoot straight: Early on, the game feels slow. You set sail, you fight, you lose, you try again but without much reward for your hard work. Only after you’ve sailed those boring waters again and again do you start to see the good stuff.

Once you break into new areas and get into a groove, the game shows its true colors. The mix of shooting, whacking away baddies, and figuring out what to do with the treasures you find turns out pretty great. That is if you’ve got the patience to wait for the wind to pick up.

A Map Without a Legend: Learning the Ropes

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What’s a captain without a good map? “Ship of Fools” throws you in deep without much help. They cover the basics well enough, showing you how to fire cannons and fight up close. But as for the rest? You’re on your own, matey.

Take the map. It’s got a bunch of symbols, but good luck figuring out what they mean. And some parts of the game, like using special spots to make your stuff better? The game never spells it out. I found myself guessing what to do more than I’d like to admit.

For a game that’s supposed to be fun, these missing hints can make it feel like you’re trying to sail during a blackout – not cool.

Life Jackets Not Included: The Bare-Bones of It

Indie games often skip some of the fancy bells and whistles, but I at least expect them to nail the basics of making a game everyone can play. Here’s the lowdown on “Ship of Fools”: It doesn’t go the extra mile to make sure everyone can join in.

The menu that lets you change settings? It’s almost empty. The words on the screen? Tiny as barnacles. I could barely make them out, and I’ve got good eyes. And if you’re wondering what a new piece of gear does, better read fast or you’ll miss it. Missed it? Too bad, it’s not written anywhere else.

Games these days need to be for everyone. If someone can’t read well or needs a bit more time to get things, they’re left out at sea with “Ship of Fools.” That’s the kind of thing that would make any sailor hang up their hat.

Better with a First Mate: The Magic of Co-op

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Now, here’s where the game shines like a polished compass: playing with a buddy. I got my girlfriend to grab a controller and join me, and “Ship of Fools” went from rough seas to smooth sailing, just like that.

With two of us, the game felt right. One person could shoot, the other could plan our path or swat away the beasties trying to board our ship. It was where the game went from alright to good fun.

And credit where it’s due, the game lets you sail solo without much trouble. You won’t have as easy a time as with a friend, but it doesn’t leave you feeling like you’re trying to patch holes with no wood.

The Voyage Summary

What’s the scoop on “Ship of Fools”? It’s like a ship in a bottle – looks fun, but getting to that fun is a real test of patience. The start is slow, and learning the game feels like trying to catch a fish with your bare hands. Once the game gets going, though, and you’ve got someone to share the helm, it’s quite the adventure.

Try this game if you’re up for a bit of a wait before the real excitement begins or you’re looking for something to play with a friend. Just be ready to steer through some waves before you find that treasure.

About the author

Tom Henry

I worked as a PM in video games, now I'm trying some new things.