Her Majesty’s Ship review for Nintendo Switch, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Developer: Every Single Soldier
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

The underlying concept behind Her Majesty?s Ship is pretty good. As you may have guessed from the title, it?s a management game set on a ship in the British (or French, or Spanish, or Portuguese) navy in the 1700s. With that kind of setting, there should be plenty to do, whether it?s rationing stocks, swabbing the deck, flogging miscreants, or, of course, engaging in naval warfare with the other continental powers.

In practice, however, the whole thing is a baffling mess.

Part of this, I think, is down to the platform and some accompanying design choices. While there?s no reason why a management sim shouldn?t work on the Switch and its touchscreen, unfortunately Her Majesty?s Ship doesn?t allow for touch controls, which means you have to use the thumbsticks and buttons to navigate a whole lot of menus.

But the broader issue with Her Majesty?s Ship has less to do with the platform, and more to do with the fact it?s almost incomprehensible. There?s a brief tutorial at the start of the game that runs through the basics — except the operative word there is ?run,” because it flies through a whole bunch of tasks without ever pausing to explain much or to ask you to do more than press a button to advance to the next page of text. I know this isn?t just a Switch problem, because the game?s Steam page is filled with similar complaints.

Bizarrely, the other complaint that you might notice on that page — that it?s more a clicker game than a resource management game — is also true. I found that I had the greatest success with Her Majesty?s Ship when I just clicked on random things as they started flashing red. I had no idea what most of them meant, but doing that I managed to keep my sailors happy and win a bunch of naval battles. Somehow, though, that feels like it defeats the purpose of a management game, since I wasn?t actually managing anything so much as I was simply clicking around without having any clue what I was doing.

However you look at it, though — whether as an impenetrably dense management game or as a mindless clicking game — it doesn?t paint a great picture of Her Majesty?s Ship. There could be a great game with this kind of set-up, but you?re most definitely not getting that here.

Ultimate Games provided us with a Her Majesty?s Ship Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: D+