Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter Review: A Board Game Turned Video Game
Submarine games… usually they are either dry or unrealistic. I mean there is legitimately a TV commercial from Progressive – I’m sure you’ve seen it – making fun of submarines, saying that they’re for our older fathers. Younger audiences are not typically ecstatic about the submarine genre.
However, I think Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter has the potential to grasp people’s attention. I’ve just played the demo and am impressed and confused all at the same time (confused because I don’t understand how submarines work).
The game is set in 1942 when the United States Navy created a convoy system to stop the out of control enemy U-boats that were smashing US boats. The game lets the player navigate a destroyer to protect a convoy from getting snuck up on by U-boats. In my case you will still be snuck up on, but at least you’ve got depth charges.
One of the things the game does well is it throws you right into battle with only the resources on the destroyer. You’ve immediately got lookouts calling out numbers which you need to translate into things that make sense. You need to get the boat lined up, get the guns pointing in the right direction, bring up some spot lights, and start loading depth charges. As the lookout and sonar department are calling out the enemy locations, you start to figure it out. Then it all goes silent. The last thing you have to work with is the last spot at which the U-boat was detected. It’s now gone deeper and is approaching the convoy and it’s your job to get into position and stop that from happening. Just as you start to lose hope of figuring out where the U-boat is, the lookout spots a scope and calls it out. You’ve now got a very brief window to start blasting before they can fire off at a convoy member and dive again. It’s intense.
So, how exactly do you do all this? You have access to different parts of the ship which you can click through at any point. The parts include the bridge, combat information center, sonar room, gun director, and lookout positions. Each position has very key features to it. First you have the bridge, which is essentially your control center. With speed, direction, loading/firing depth charges and watching maps, this is the place where things get done. Next, the combat center lets you see the blips on the radar and get an idea of positioning. Sonar allows you to control where to sweep and relays info on the location of anything that’s getting pinged. Gun director allows you to control the spotlight, change ammo types, and fire the guns. If you have a radar lock you can even have guns point in that direction. Lookout positions put you in various places aboard the boat where you can look around as if you are standing on the boat.
I think it is very important to the game that there is never a way to see above the boat in any type of bird’s eye view. You can only see from the deck or with your equipment. You are in the sea and apart of the battle with no advantages.
Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter is an interactive war thriller which seamlessly blends tactical WW2 anti-submarine warfare simulation with a gripping storyline, presented through Hollywoodesque, interactive cutscenes. Take command of a meticulously reconstructed Fletcher-class destroyer and lead your crew against nazi U-Boats in the Battle of the Atlantic!Iron wolf studio
Iron Wolf Studio is behind this game. In addition to this game, they created U-Boot: The Board Game which did pretty well. As they have been able to grow they decided to take on this PC game for a bit of a change.
It seems like players who are already familiar with the concept are the main target for this game. The board game allows up to four players to take on the different roles of Captain, First Officer, Navigator, and Chief Engineer. The players can work together along with a companion app to fight an A.I. that will try to sink them. From what I’ve seen of this demo the idea behind both games is very similar. I think any fans of the board game could easily jump into this digital version and try their hand at sinking subs.
While the demo was lacking many of the features and story that the main game will have, I was still impressed by it. It was fun and challenging. Some aspects still leave room for confusion, but I’m sure as the game is constructed there will be more tutorials in place and explanation as to how things operate. Overall, I felt like the combat was well done and kept you on your toes as you fought to figure out what to do next, keep all parts of your ship operating together, and complete the task at hand. This is a game to keep an eye on as it gets closer to release!