Ship Graveyard Simulator review for PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: PS4
Also on: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Developer: Ultimate Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Given the frequency with which Ultimate Games (or PlayWay, if you?re looking at PC) churns out job simulators, I suspect that quality isn?t exactly the main goal for the games. In fact, I?m almost sure of it: while I?ve played one or two of their simulators that were kind of fun (Train Station Renovation springs to mind), for the most part these are bargain basement games that barely work on consoles, with dodgy controls and iffy visuals.

So when I write that Ship Graveyard Simulator is an enjoyable game by the standards of the (Insert Job Here) Simulator franchise, understand that is a very low bar to clear. It may be the best Simulator I?ve played in awhile, but that?s only because most of them have been so bad.

The game?s main problem is that there?s not all that much to do. The game introduces its gameplay loop ? salvage scrap metal, sell it to various managers scattered around some coastal village, and repeat ? right away, and then never adds to it. It?ll take you a few hours to upgrade everything you have, and then there?s not much reason to do anything else, since all you?re doing is increasing your money ? which, obviously, you won?t be able to spend, since you?ll have upgraded everything.

(Sidenote: the coastal village setting is odd. On the one hand, it?s unique, since places like Alang, India aren?t exactly prominent in video games. On the other hand, the way the villages are portrayed feels a little?offensive? Problematic? While you can hire one or two villagers to help you, because the game is so low-budget most people just sit around in the same spot all day, every day. In fact, there?s one villager who seemed to spend all his time lying on the ground inside a rotting boat. To be clear, I don?t think there?s anything malicious going on, but I also don?t think the developers fully thought through their setting.)

As for the salvaging itself, it?s fine. While the trailer may make it seem like you?re taking apart giant ships, the reality is that you?re mostly just hammering away at metal bars and sawing metal beams, with the occasional foray into small controlled demolitions. While you may find those explosions a little satisfying, the bulk of the game is, as I said, hammering and sawing.

The good thing about the gameplay loop is that, like Train Station Renovation, Ship Graveyard Simulator makes things simple enough that you can get into a bit of a zen groove doing all these repetitive tasks. They?re not difficult, but they?re also not hindered by terrible controls. You do your work, and the game doesn?t get in your way. By this franchise?s low standards, that constitutes an achievement.

Ultimate Games provided us with a Ship Graveyard Simulator PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: C+