Originally published at: https://xboxera.com/2023/01/06/review-ship-graveyard-simulator/
Ship Graveyard Simulator takes the premise of “what would it be like to work in a ship graveyard breaking down scrap, as a House Flipper rip-off” and runs with it. You’ll smash, cut, torch, and mop your way to many thousands of dollars as the same few songs play on repeat. It’s only $12 so is it worth checking out if the thought of slicing apart old ships in very specific spots appeals to you? Let’s find out!
Boat Parts Flipper
The premise, which is paper thin, is that you live in an ocean-side village and can call in progressively larger boats to tear parts out of. Things start off with you scrounging scrap on the sandy shores, and you’ll quickly earn enough to call in your first tiny boat and buy a few tools to attack it with. The setup is immediately familiar to those who played House Flipper on Game Pass. You’ll get various hammers, cutting tools, torches, and more which you can upgrade at your workshop. There are multiple buildings that you will work towards creating and upgrading such as the furnace and barracks. The former is how you’ll craft new parts out of the scrap you collect, and the latter allows you to hire workers who will slowly get you parts over time.
To get around this island you have a pick-up truck that stops the instant it touches anything and has the magical ability to never hit a person. Your home shack houses a computer from which you can order in ships, which will arrive at 8 am the next day and have a set cost for however long you keep them around. These are paired with a basic leveling system that gives you points you can spend in a varied tree tied to each tool and some overall meta systems. It ends up being a solid amount of content for a budget title, but it’s the best part of what is otherwise a dreary-looking, performing, and playing title.
The graphics and controls are tied together in Ship Graveyard Simulator. Playing on a Series X the game has massive, hideous pop-in, especially when driving. The framerate fluctuates wildly as well, and it never felt good to move or try and aim. This makes it maddening at times to move the cursor around as you try to hit the critical spot on an item with your hammer or cut the proper part of a mount with your blow torch. There is a lockpicking mini-game that is straight out of the Elder Scrolls series, but worse. The only items you seem to get out of these locked boxes and safes are the same things you’ll find when breaking down ship pieces but of a higher level.
This is clearly a budget title, possibly made by a 1 or 2 man team. Most of the graphics look straight out of an asset store, and the optimization on console leaves a lot to be desired. For something that would look at home on an Xbox 360 the fact that the framerate is so rough is a killer. The basic act of smashing specific parts of an old ship apart should be satisfying. Far too often your hammer swings will miss despite it looking like they clearly should have hit, mopping up oil spills feels random on what section will disappear, and overall it never gave me that feeling of zen that other “cleaning” simulators did.
One other bright spot is that I didn’t run into any major bugs and the music, while repetitive, was ok. I don’t know if it fits the beach village theme of the game at all but it was inoffensive. There is no voice acting or dialogue as there is no story whatsoever.
Wrapping Things Up
For $12 if you are desperate for something to play while you listen to a podcast or some music, get this game on PC. It runs terribly on consoles and feels awful to play. The overall setup and amount of content is its best point, but in execution, it simply isn’t fun.