A cruise ship should be a place that brings joy, peace, adventure and sometimes even the case of Norovirus. What usually does not happen is that the ship is mysteriously moved to another dimension and attacked by evil creatures. However, this is the package found in Dread Nautical for Nintendo Switch from Zen Studios, perhaps best known for its excellent Flipper FX2 franchise and the recent RPG classic Operencia : Stolen sunshine. Does this developer, who is always going into the genres, have any success with Dread Nautical?
Dread Nautical is a turn-based tactical role-playing game that also contains a lot of ray mechanics that you will love or hate. Before the adventure begins, you need to set several options, the first of which will be difficult in the game. There are descriptions of the consequences of each difficulty in the game, and I’ve decided to keep it as simple as possible. Then you choose your main character from a small selection of passengers. Each character is unique in his possibilities and style of play. I chose a gentleman’s private detective, with a coat clique that made it even more appropriate. It didn’t hurt that he got a bonus for his marksmanship.
While you enjoy your cruise on board the Hope, you are suddenly interrupted by a crazy storm and everything gets dark. When you wake up, you realize the ship isn’t what it used to be. When you get drunk and confused, you’ll find that Jed trusts you and seems to be sufficiently aware of the situation, but his personality will seem distorted for a while. Sitting in the lobby, you decide it’s best to search the ship to see if there are other survivors who can help you through this difficult situation.
The play levels penetrate to the decks of the ship, there are only 20. However, every time you visit the game, the layout is restored, making it one of the graphic elements of the game that you will encounter for the first time. You can move your character freely in the target field. However, if you provoke an enemy, the game changes to tactical mode, very similar to games like XCOM. In general, there are only two ways to end the bridge, either by the sound of the horn on the bridge you have to reach (apparently every bridge has a bridge at ….), or by death. You can also get off the elevator at the beginning of the level, but that won’t do much good, it will only have some management implications, which we’ll talk about later.
The real goal of the game is to meet enemies that appear in different forms next to the main goals. The deeper we get into the ship, the more evil creatures are hiding. In the early morning you will come across disgusting moral concepts, which are not very powerful and not very mobile, but certainly irritating. You’ll soon realise that it’s worth cleaning up everything that glows yellow, because in this way you’ll collect new weapons, items and protective equipment that are more or less difficult. Sometimes you are equipped with arrows, sometimes you find a rare katana that causes strange damage! Playing Dread Nautical is a balance in the way the game combines tactics, controls and deceptive elements, and there are a reasonable number of elements to juggle with every time you download the game.
In the lobby and during your stay on board Hope, you will open new stations that will offer you and your rescued crew new benefits. Stations to improve your skills, health, etc., as well as upgrading and repairing weapons and things like beds to accommodate more people, to ensure a high but very manageable aspect of the game.
If you go to a bridge, you can meet other passengers. The interaction with them leads to a dialogical decision, and if you make a wise choice, you will please these beautiful or less beautiful people. Any positive interaction with them will allow them to join your team. When this happens, you can finish the levels with the team instead of flying alone. I have noticed that there are many advantages, because every passenger has special skills that can be useful in a fight. It’s just as well to have extra firepower against the bad guys. At the same time, another element of the roulette genre may come into play here, namely that the figures may die… and then disappear forever. If your main character bites the ball, you can lose a lot (depending on the level of difficulty you choose). It is always best to act with the utmost care.
What I like most about Dread Nautical is that it gives the impression, both aesthetically and objectively, that a game comes to life in Clue. They make their way through a cruise ship full of secrets in the hope of solving a big situation and being rescued. On the way you discover other passengers and learn a little about them and their stories, which come to life with a very pleasant voice that I did not expect. Part of the fun is finding out who these characters are.
The aesthetic presentation of the cartoon and the colour palette also match Clue and fit perfectly into the dark theme of this title. Unfortunately, the user interface is a bit uncomfortable and could be explained a bit better, but at least there are touch keys and controls for those who want them. It took me a while to figure out where the action points were and also how many PA points I had to use. It forced me to slow down the game a bit because I understood the mechanics of the game, and I’d appreciate it if someone would give me a little more explanation about the interface and the commands.
Dread Nautical has light and nuanced learning systems that are fun to experiment with. It is fascinating to steal after solving the ship’s puzzle, and although some research really becomes superfluous, I have participated in all the sessions I have played for a long time.
- Graphs – 7.5/10
- The tone is 7/10.
- Course of the game – 7.5/10
- Late appeal – 7/10
Final remarks : GOOD PLACES
Dread Nautical is a turn-based tactical role-playing game with striking elements. The mix of these elements with an exciting story, interesting characters and a classic risk/reward system works well. Finally, it reminded me of a board game called Clue, which came to life in combination with a small amount of XCOM. The repeated deployment of ships and enemies thwarts the otherwise excellent game concept.
Alex has been actively involved in games since the release of Nintendo. After turning his hobby into a profession, he spent just over ten years developing games and is now creative director of the studio.
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