Genre: WWII Submarine Simulator
Cost: $6 for Android version on Google Play
Engine: The multiplatform Unity Engine
This is a simplified WWII U-boat simulator, with lots of arcade energy. Smell the oil fumes and sweat in your type VII U-boat, look through your scope, listen to your sonar, and find that rich convoys are always right there for the picking -- but be prepared to switch rapidly from the hunter to the hunted in this high stakes game of cat and mouse.
Its a solid game if you are looking for some mobile fun on your phone or tablet, and its only $6. Its also yet another example of the type of games where touchscreen controls work well. This is for those games where you want a keyboard full of information or controls at your fingertips.
The game has several levels, from easy to "Simulation". At easier levels, you are the sea wolf among sheep, and if you can dispose of a few pesky escorts, can have fun firing up the diesel engines to 19 knots for the long stern chase, and send those fleeing Liberty ships to Davey Jones with your 88mm deck gun.
At harder levels, just try to get into position on the surface, risking almost certain death if spotted (or forcing you into a 'Crash Dive'). Keep at periscope depth on your batteries, running fast, and fire off a salvo of your 53cm torpedos (hope for no duds) at the zigzagging convoy. Then dump that decoy and dive, and run, anything to get away from the torpedo wakes as the destroyers home in on where you launched, active sonar looking for their target.
Do you risk diving deep, knowing your VII-C may crush anywhere beyond 200 meters? Do you stay slow and silent, or try to rush away from the area? Do you try a snap shot at an aggressive destroyer (nothing like shooting a torpedo right down a destroyer's throat), knowing it will give away your location if you miss? The decisions are yours, mein Kapitan.
The touchscreen controls are well done, with simple engine, direction, depth control and weapons - nicely spaced, easily distinguished. You can switch views from scope to sonar / strategic map. Damage shows up on screen, but there is little you can do but prioritize what gets repaired (flooding is top priority, but then batteries, as without juice you have little hope). The arcade simplifications do give you more information than you would have, but they also let you have a whole adventure in a few minutes. You can play a campaign, or just go straight to battle.
Graphics are surprisingly good, with the ships being notably detailed. If you sink one, there are explosions, flares, and then flotsam (eerie). It does you give you pause that you really expect bodies, and feel remorse in attacking a truly defenseless merchantman on the high seas, especially as you are on the Axis side. If you destroy the escorts, the convoy is truly defenseless.
An annoyance is that the Allied destroyers seem to be able to pass through each other, while they can (and do) ram your sub (which will likely be fatal to you).
What price are you willing to sacrifice you and your crew for? Battleships and troop transports are heavily guarded and require multiple torpedoes, but with persistence you can sink them -- but the price may be almost certain doom for all but the most savvy of skippers. Or maybe you have survived the long counter attack by the destroyers, watched them steam off, but stealthily followed them on the surface until the rendezvous with the slow convoy, which sets up a second attack if you are a bold enough sub driver.
Tell your oberbootsmann to secure the hatch and dive into action with Crash Dive.
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