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iPhone Game Review: Sea Captain

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Every now and then, when I sit down to write my Top 10 application lists, there is a game that slips under my radar. Maybe it is because I wasn’t paying enough attention. Maybe it just wasn’t popular enough. Maybe I just wasn’t interested at the time. In my July list, I managed to miss an absolutely amazing game — Sea Captain.

Sea Captain is a fun little game where you act as the dock master of a three-port region. While dodging floating ice and dirty pirates, you need to guide dozens of ships safely into their ports. While it starts off easily enough, the game progresses and soon you need to deal with 10-plus ships at a time. Oh, and they can’t run into each other as that would cause a loss of life.

Line games are a new fad on the iPhone, and one that is growing quickly. In these games, you take a character/object, trace a line with your finger, and then the character/object does exactly as it was told. While most people seem to like these games, and they are a huge factor in the market right now, I really don’t tend to enjoy them. Normally, I find them too easy, pointless, or just plain boring. This is not the case with Sea Captain.

One of the nice things about Sea Captain is how intuitive and easy it is to play. While it took me a while to understand smaller rules like submarines docking will still hit boats on the surface, the game was easy to learn. Click on the ship, drag your finger to the target, and let go. The game is a simple as that – in terms of controls at least.

While the controls are easy, the game is deceptively difficult to play. The first few levels fly by quickly, but then it gets into the harder stuff. Heck, the last challenge took me days to complete, as I kept messing it up.  One has to watch out for pirates, ice, and your own ships, all while trying to grab the new ships and send them into their port- – easy in the daytime, hellish in the nighttime. When the game gets difficult it gets far better, providing a real challenge and making the player work for success.

Yet another thing that Sea Captain has going for it is its price. At just $.99, the game is easily within everybody’s budget. Plus, it is well worth the money. What else can you get so cheaply that has hours of game play, good graphics, and is a ton of fun? Even if you beat the game and never want to play it again, there is enough in the first go-round to make one's investment worth it.

There is, however, one problem with Sea Captain. While I found the game easy to learn and play, I did want some help during some levels. It would be hugely useful to know what noises each ship makes, and what their speed is compared to the other ships. These crucial bits of information do not seem to be available anywhere. While the game does have a built-in tutorial, it would be much better if it included some sort of manual which contained such information. This is a small fix, but adding it would help improve game play significantly.

Overall, I believe that Sea Captain is a very good game, and well worth your investment. The game is fun to play, highly addictive, and a good value. The graphics are decent, the sounds are great, and the controls are intuitive and easy. This is one of the few line drawing games for the iPhone that I like, and I highly recommend it.

Sea Captain has no ESRB rating.

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About Robert M. Barga