Shipwreckers! lets players take control of their very own pirate ship, equipped to the brim with weapons of mass destruction from the past and present. Players guide this ship through five different humorous worlds in a free roaming third person perspective. There's plenty of lighthearted action and strategy for all, wrapped up in an amusing and different game. Throw in an excellent five-player battle mode, and Shipwreckers! becomes a quaint little game that provides plenty of enjoyment without demanding serious attention from the player.
A variety of weapons are available in this historically inaccurate game, ranging from canons, broadsides, and oil slicks to rockets, lightning, and depth charges. Game play consists of driving the ship around taking out enemy ships, turrets, birds, sea monsters, and the like, in order to raise the pirate flag in the villages they are defending. When a ship catches on fire, some passengers jump out, and can be rescued for extra health. Other obstacles and small puzzles vary the action a bit. Things move at the pace of the player, and game play is more relaxed than fast and furious. Shipwreckers! feels and plays very much like a title Nintendo would produce, although not quite at that level of excellence.
The roaming third person perspective highlights the 3D graphics. Three distinct camera angles can be selected, which are useful for different parts of the game. The graphics have the typical sharp Psygnosis look, but this time without the flash and flare of titles like WipeOut or Destruction Derby. Still, the level of detail in weapon use and when ships catch on fire, as well as other instances, add much to the cute look of the game. The translucent water is especially effective in the realism of the wacky environments.
Sound effects fit the bill, with all the appropriate screams and explosions in their proper place. The music is strange but unobtrusive, with a certain pirate/conga feel to it. Definitely an excursion from the techno soundtrack that would be expected from Psygnosis, but the tracks fit the game perfectly. They do, however, become a bit repetitious over time.
Up to five players can battle it out in over ten different arenas with a multi-tap. Some real fun is to be had here, as all the destructive elements of Shipwreckers! turn into true mayhem when unleashed at once by five different ships. Strategy takes a definite role, as different weapons all have their strengths and weaknesses.
Overall, Shipwreckers! is a purposely cheesy and enjoyable game that offers gamers a unique experience. Those looking for in depth strategy or tons of action will not be satisfied, but anyone in the mood for a mild dose of action and puzzle elements will enjoy themselves plenty. The five-player mode, while not on the level of Bomberman, makes Shipwreckers! an excellent party game for the masses to enjoy. There's nothing too amazing or heavy here, other than solid game play wrapped up in a fun little package.
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