Here is an interesting little early access title. I've never watched the show Deadliest Catch but I know enough about it to play the game. Basically, you catch King Crabs. Please click "read more" for the full review.
The game play goal is simple, catch adult male King Crabs and sell them. However, the realism details are very complex.
|The manual should not be skipped this time|
Pretty much every aspect of fishing for King Crabs is accounted for in this game. The supplies including bait, fuel, cages, buoy's, crab sorting, and all the equipment to move these things and begin fishing. Everything must be done in order without skipping any steps or else you risk wasting resources and time.
Before one can begin fishing, they need to select a location on this map to fish in. The manual tells the correct temperature, depth, and seabeds that King Crabs can be found in. Fishing anywhere else will just waste your time. An interesting mechanic that is part of the real life job, but it means there is a lot of worthless map areas. If I could suggest something, possibly expand the creatures one can fish for besides King Crabs so that more areas are useful. Maybe Opilio Crabs like in the show.
Steps to catching crabs:
Use the crane to move a cage onto the launcher platform that can drop it into the water. Attach a buoy to the cage so you can find it once in the water but before dropping the cage make sure there is bait attached to the inside. Use the platform to lower the cage into the water but make sure the cage door is open and wait a few in game hours. Now, use a grappling hook to fish for the cage and have the coiler bring it to the surface. Next, use a hook or the crane again to place the cage back onto the launcher. (Assuming you managed to catch any crabs.) Then, use a control panel to have the sorting table move closer to the launcher and press a separate button by the launcher to have it dump the crabs onto the table. Finally, move the sorting table back to the center, sort the crabs keeping the male adults and discarding the females and not fully grown crabs, store the good crabs into the hatch and toss the rest back overboard.
However, before you do any of that, you must first prepare for the trip and choose a destination.
This is the dock. Pretty obvious what this area is used for. There is a place to purchase fuel, one for equipment, a skill shop, and one for buying ship upgrades. Also, another location is used to sell crabs, and one to pay the fines you get for accidentally selling female or adolescence (not fully grown) crabs.
Controls are very PC. There is no controller support and most of the various commands are mapped to different keys. If there wasn't a quick guide for the controls in the bottom right corner, it would be confusing. One issue is the mouse sensitivity. While this can be adjusted, you can only adjust mouse speed as a whole and not the X and Y axes. Moving up & down and left & right are at two different speeds which cannot be fixed in settings and that does get annoying.
That is really all there is to say. While everything is complex, there isn't much to explain. It is a very close to real life crab fishing simulation game. Although, if I have to criticize one thing, there is really on sense of danger. Even when it is dark out and there is a huge rain storm, everything functions normally and there is never any danger of falling overboard or other sea creatures attacking. There is no hunger meter or anyway to get sick in bad weather and the boat never rocks. Probably the only thing you would worry about is not having enough fuel to make it back to the docks, which is not hard to calculate for at all. Considering one of the show's main features is showing off how dangerous this job is, that is something that should be addressed for the full release.
The sound effects in this game are spot on to what they are supposed to sound like. Music fits very well too. There is a calm sounding music when the sun is out and nothing is happening and things get more intense to fit the situation; like if there is a big thunder storm or reeling in a big catch. Honestly, there is really nothing to complain about in the audio department. Nothing groundbreaking, but nothing wrong either.
The graphics for the boat look really nice and are very well detailed. Everything from the environment to the weather effects look great.
That being said, there are some noticeably missing animations. Whenever you use a latter there is no climbing, you just instantly poof to the top. Same thing with doors. Also, everything outside the boat at sea is pretty much just a menu and every area on the map looks the same minus the weather so it is limited. On the other hand, it is hard to think of any other areas or environments that could be added, so it is a moot point.
This may be an early access demo but there is a full experience here which is nice and does make me wonder what the full title will have in store. I suppose, that is the ultimate goal for a demo so, mission accomplished. Even so, this is a title for a specific audience so it is tricky to recommend. Fans of the show or realistic sims will enjoy it, but it is a little too complicated to attract any new comers. But, if you would like to follow this games development you can check out their kickstarter or steam pages. It is planned to release November 14th 2019 which isn't far away as of writing this so, let's see what happens.
Writing - n/a
Game Play - 7/10
Audio - 4/5
Presentation - 3/5
Overall - 7/10
Subject to change after full release