The simulation game is something of a conundrum. They offer you an opportunity to complete perfectly possible and often mundane tasks from the real world, but instead in the virtual plane. They shouldn’t be, but often these games end up being utterly compulsive despite the fact it would be much more productive to power off your console and complete these tasks in the actual world.
However, this one had me a little stumped to begin with. Ship Graveyard Simulator? What on earth is that?
Well, it turns out that it rather quickly falls into the ‘somewhat tedious’ category. ‘Scrapyard Simulator’ would be a more accurate title, because this is a game which has you hunting through junk for spare parts and raw materials. The action takes place in a small town, on the beach along a coastline littered with rusting ships. Although the area you can explore is pretty small, truth be told.
Your job is to set out on foot, or in your trusty truck, using your tools to gather the treasure trove of resources. These can then be sold to local vendors for cash, which in turn will unlock new and upgraded tools which can then be used to harvest parts more efficiently. In essence, this is how Ship Graveyard Simulator works and round and round you will go. There are a couple of bells and whistles, but this is essentially all that’s on offer here.
Before long your virtual toolbox will consist of a hammer, saw, blowtorch and even a lockpick to name but a few. The latter comes in handy for opening various secure boxes and even full on safes. Sadly, for each tool it’s a simple button press to use each one and they have very limited animations, so they don’t feel particularly different or unique.
When you have enough cash, you can order in scrap ships to take apart piece by piece, depositing them on the shore. These vary in size and complexity, with some requiring various tools for you to successfully extract all the assets. There is a day and night cycle at play, but it has a very limited effect on the gameplay. At 08:00 every morning, you will be billed for another day’s access to the wreckage unless you cancel it. Otherwise, you can work away for 24 hours or more without any effect on your productivity. Sounds handy.
Once you have enough dosh, you’ll be able to construct a furnace to create more valuable items by combining common elements. Further to this, you’ll eventually gain the ability to recruit a workforce to help lighten the load. However, this upgrade is not just about money because you’ll need to correct skills unlocked too.
As you get to work collecting scrap, you’ll fill your XP bar, levelling up pretty regularly. Taking on jobs from the locals will fast track this a little, however all of these just has you handing over large quantities of certain items. Again, it’s repetitive stuff.
Levelling up will unlock new materials and ships to order, as well as awarding you skill points. These can be spent on several skill trees, which mostly upgrade your tools to make them better, faster and stronger. You will gain other perks, such as extra storage space too.
Progress in Ship Graveyard Simulator is slow, steady and takes a fair bit of grinding to raise enough cash to unlock the next key item or building. This formulaic approach is not deviated from, which makes the game very difficult to stick with after a few hours, as you are trapped in its tiresome cycle. In fact, it’s downright dull.
Unfortunately, this is also the case with how Ship Graveyard Simulator looks. It’s jagged, choppy and looks like something that has been dug up from the gaming scene from some twenty years ago. All objects will crumble in exactly the same way whether they are made of stone, metal or wood, and this can look absolutely ridiculous. At one point, I got out of my truck and fell through the floor into some sort of graphical void before the game managed to recover.
Part of the game’s official brief reads: “Be careful, you can have a serious accident or even die at any time”. After many hours of gameplay, I found this to be completely untrue. Sadly, this is emblematic of the difference between what Ship Graveyard Simulator aspires to achieve, but in reality delivers. It all sounds very exciting, but ends up being the opposite.
Ship Graveyard Simulator tries to bring the excitement of breaking ocean-bound vessels to your sofa. However, it ends up feeling like something best left buried at sea.
Ship Graveyard Simulator is on the Xbox Store
- Smashing stuff is fun (for a while)
- Looks poor
- Incredibly repetitive
- Isn’t remotely exciting
- Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Ultimate Games
- Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
- Version reviewed - Xbox One on Xbox Series X
- Release date - 2 December 2022
- Launch price from - £10.74
I really don’t get these ‘insert mundane task’ simulators. I like to play on my xbox when I don’t have to do boring stuff (wash the drive, cut the grass, etc). This one baffles me, I lost interest just reading the review, let alone playing this game. I guess someone must play them…