Some folks would say that playing games is made better with your friends. We put that theory to the test with a new socially-charged title from Tequila Games called BattleFriends at Sea Reloaded. Does it score a hit? Or is our time with it a total miss?
Battleship. Yeah, right off the bat, I'll just go ahead and let you know that this game is pretty much Battleship. Whatever emotions and images that brings up, they're probably the right ones. You play against friends or complete strangers in random matchmaking, and take turns choosing different tiles on a grid to fire upon and hopefully hit their ships. The ultimate goal? Sinking your opponent's battleship, of course.
What makes BattleFriends at Sea Reloaded special is that... well, it's not very special. Truth be told, it's a competent Battleship clone, but it does nothing that goes above and beyond one's expectations. Instead, you're left with a game that provides a slight distraction whenever you have a moment to spare.
And really, that's all this game needs to do. You can go at your own pace and fight your friends whenever you want, after they've taken their turns against you. If you get antsy and find that your buddies are taking too long to strategize and attack you, the option to be matched with a random opponent is always available. In fact, you could have so many games running at one time that your iOS device would be in actual danger of exploding due to the notifications.
You can cull your list of opponents from Facebook, through SMS, Twitter, E-Mail, by nickname or by random match-up. This list of options is good because it'll give you more chances to meet BattleFriends' daily tasks, which reward you with in-game gold that you can spend on gadgets like the sonar. Examples of tasks include "Miss 10 Times!" or "Fire 15 Times!" So it would make sense that the more games you have going at once, the easier time you'll have completing these objectives.
Once you build up (or purchase), enough gold, you'll be able to afford secret weapons that will make it easier for you to destroy your friends on the high seas. BattleFriends at Sea Reloaded currently has four secret weapons that you can activate with gold -- Sonar, Salvo, Napalm and X-Fire. Sonar, which is available early on, lets you highlight a select area on your opponent's grid and will point out if there are any ships there. It is then up to you to let loose the dogs of war, or whatever the naval equivalent would be called. Dolphins of war, maybe?
The other secret weapons let you fire in more than one tile, effectively letting you blanket an area with shots and giving you more chances to hit your opponent's ships. It can be a bit of a cheap thrill to fire off into a patch of water and then find that you've located an enemy ship. Each successful hit gives you another free shot until you hit water again. Theoretically, you could sink someone's battleship in just one of your turns. But, you know... that's how you win games and lose friends.
The 3D graphics are passable, if not somewhat boring, and the sounds in the game are also decent. But if I had to pick the hero of BattleFriends at Sea Reloaded, it would be the social gameplay that can provide a brief distraction. It's not the most riveting of pursuits in the App Store, but it's one that can eat up many moments of your day if you let it. Just take care not to torpedo any of your friendships in the process.