I’ve been on a lot of boats in my life: cruise ships, pontoons, pedal boats, kayaks, and more, but I have never felt completely at ease on the water. There’s something about the vast openness and the lack of knowing what lurks beneath the waves that have always made me feel uncomfortable when I’m on a watercraft. Jumping into a game like Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter quickly brought those familiar feelings back even though I was in the safety of my home. Having the added element of being in the middle of a battle certainly didn’t help. This being said, I’m always down for a challenge and decided to face things head-on regardless of the outcome in this naval-based game.
In Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter, get ready to embark on a journey that is both historically accurate and fully immersive as you take command of a naval Destroyer. Things become intense quickly as you navigate the turbulent waters of the Atlantic Ocean in this WWII simulation, moving from one location of the vessel to the next to ensure that your crew, ammunition, tools, and gear are prepared for battle. It’s like Battleship minus the break between moves as your opponent takes a turn. There are no breaks in this game. Everything is in real-time and you have to act quickly if you want to protect your warship.
Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter caters to history buffs and newcomers to the genre. It has to be said, though, that even if you are big on strategy, there is a learning curve. You will have to pay close attention to information provided by your crew as they detect enemy ships approaching if you are going to remain afloat.
For the gamers who, like me, need a little less stress in their game, you can manage the type of battle you wish to launch. Like anything new, it takes practice to develop skills and understanding, so easing into a battle made the most sense for me. Let’s dive in and explore some of the mechanics and features of the game.
One thing I appreciate about Destroyer is that the intro is long enough to set the stage and atmosphere of the game without it feeling like an endless tutorial. It’s my preference for most games. I’d rather learn as I play and make mistakes along the way rather than spend a good 30 minutes going through lessons, something that tends to disconnect me from the actual gameplay. I have no background in WWII warships so I was not familiar with the Fletcher-class destroyer, but this is the in-game model and to me, it appeared to be quite detailed. With several different views of the ship, I got to enjoy some of its architecture as well as a mix of weather and time of day that are randomly generated creating a rawness and realness that adds to the immersive experience.
Like the authentic look of the ship, the voices of the crew provide authenticity to the game. I’ll admit, that I had a little difficulty distinguishing voices because of all the different areas to manage (the bridge, sonar, lookouts, etc.) but having the color-coding and a timestamp for each of the people talking helped me keep track of events that occurred. The developers of Destroyer, Iron Wolf Studio, do an excellent job of heightening the intensity of this warfare game not only through the graphics, characters, and tactical aspects but also through the soundtrack. The orchestral pieces that move throughout the background are somber and majestic, haunting melodies that add another layer to the mystery of the hunt. The low timbre of the drums beating a steady rhythm mixed with the different tones of the stringed instruments builds the suspense in ways that the visuals alone cannot. Without a good soundtrack, the action of Destroyer would feel less thrilling but Iron Wolf Studio nails it.
Personally, I don’t typically turn to games like Destroyer for enjoyment. I enjoy strategy, combat (when it’s not excessive), and games with historical backgrounds, so it’s not like this new entry to the strategy catalog doesn’t check off the boxes for me. Saying this. I think that on account of there being a big learning curve and with the strategy involved being similar to that found in games like Battleship or Chess, it’s not exactly my cup of tea. I tend to prefer games with fantasy elements, a riveting storyline, and lots of character development which this game doesn’t have. With that in mind, I think Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter is worth exploring if you’re into naval combat and strategy. It’s currently on sale so check it out on Steam if you’re interested in risking your life to a watery grave.
Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter
Pros + Beautiful, historically accurate 3D warship design + Intense soundtrack that builds the suspenseful atmosphere
Cons – Very big learning curve that requires a lot of patience – Gameplay can become repetitive