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Navy Challenge

For: Mobile

You sunk my battleship

Product: Navy Challenge | Developer: European Software Games | Publisher: Vivendi Games Mobile | Format: Mobile | Genre: Multiplayer, Strategy | Players: 1-2 | Format: J2ME | File size: 151KB | Reviewed on: N-Gage QD other handsets | Version: Europe
Navy Challenge Mobile, thumbnail 1

Of all the games you played as a kid, battleships involved the most hard work. It wasn't like noughts and crosses, where you could get away with four hastily-drawn lines on a scrappy piece of paper. You needed two neat grids per player and the patience of a saint to draw them out by hand.

This was, of course, offset by the pleasure that could be had actually playing the game. But it always seemed to be too temporary a high for the cost.

So Navy Challenge should be a top game then, offering all the fun of battleships without the soul-sucking hassles. And, in its own little way, it is.

For starters, even if you haven't played battleships since you were knee-high to a grasshopper, you soon remember just how much fun it was. Although it's largely down to luck whether you win or not, the same sort of tension is on offer here.

Following the tried-and tested mechanics that have seen action in playgrounds across the world, you play against another person (either a chum in multiplayer or the computer when you play on your own), and the first to sink the other's fleet is the winner.

Each player's fleet is composed of five ships, each of varying lengths, that are placed on the map unseen by the opponent. You then take it in turns to choose and fire upon a particular square in the grid in an attempt to locate and sink the enemy's ships.

It's not rocket science, far from it, and even the Advanced mode that Navy Challenge includes in its arsenal doesn't over-complicate matters.

In fact, it makes things easier: torpedoes and missiles are added to your fleet's armaments, streaking along one column or row of squares until it they hit something, while airstrikes and radar sweeps bombard and reveal wide groups of squares respectively.

These special attacks come courtesy of the various ships in your fleet. The airstrike, for example, is only available while you're still in possession of your aircraft carrier and it's sweet indeed when you sink said carrier before your opponent uses its capabilities to the full.

But really, at its core, Navy Challenge is just as simple as it was when you sat inside on a rainy school lunchtime, and that's both its blessing and its curse. On the one hand, it's just as easy to pick up and begin playing on your mobile phone. But on the other, it's just as limited a gaming experience.

It's tactically very shallow, with victory going to whoever happens to get lucky with their guesses. If you want a really satisfying challenge to get your teeth into, you'll be disappointed.

However, such complexity is not what battleships was ever about. Rather it was a pleasant time-filler for those quiet ten or 15 minutes you had on your hands, and that's exactly what Navy Challenge is. As enjoyable a single-player experience as it is in multiplayer mode, the game will reliably provide a short burst of fun without demanding much mental sweat in return.

If you want something that's more fulfilling in the long-term, there are always the reminiscences it'll stir up…

Navy Challenge
Reviewer photo
Mike Abolins | 4 August 2006
Uncomplicated fun from the playground that'll keep you out of mischief
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