Annoying younger siblings everywhere rejoice! Battleship: Official Edition is now available in the Play Store. The classic game of naval combat was adapted to Android devices by Marmalade Game Studios (best known for the mobile version of Clue), and thankfully it incorporates online play so you no longer need to pester your older sibling to play with you.
Battleship: Official Edition is far from the first battleship game in the Android catalog. Other mobile titles that offer the same gameplay but without Hasbro’s official IP have been around for years. The game itself is technically public domain, so it’s unclear what the official version brings. Maybe it’s the font? Who knows.
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What is clear is that the classic game with white and red plastic pegs has been faithfully adapted to Android devices. Classic Mode is the same well-known 10 x 10 grid game that you remember from your childhood. You can play against the CPU with three different difficulty levels or against other players online.
You can’t play against your friends, however, since there currently isn’t any way to find specific players. In fact, you can’t even change your tag, and are stuck with some randomly generated sequence of words and numbers. There are also quests and player levels, but the game doesn’t say what rewards are available when you level up. It wouldn’t be a mobile game without some kind of progression system.
This version attempts to spice up the two-player naval guessing game by adding a new Commanders Mode. In it, you choose from several commanders with unique abilities and fleets. On each turn you earn 2 energy in addition to your normal shot, and you can use this energy to unleash one of four abilities. One of these is your commander’s special ability, which can turn the tide by clearing an entire line or guiding your shot to the nearest ship.
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There are also new map types with strange shapes that speed the game up a bit by reducing the number of possible hiding spots. Each map features a specific historical scene, with a normal 10 x 10 grid and a uniquely shaped map that’s only available in Commanders Mode.
Unfortunately, each additional commander and map in Battleship: Official Edition will cost you real money. In a game that’s already paid (just a dollar, but still), this feels particularly egregious. At launch there are four commanders and four maps, half of which are unlocked from the start.
The game is fun though, and it just takes a few seconds to find an online opponent. Finally you can play the official battleship without carrying around two plastic carrying cases. Just don’t be that guy on the metro shouting “You sank my battleship!”