All Guns On Deck (Decaying Logic)
Seemingly satisfied with dominating the jigsaw puzzle genre on Steam, Decaying Logic has turned their attention naval combat. Well, strategy, real time tactics, action RPG, and naval combat to be exact. Combining all these genres into something that not only works, but is actually fun to play is quite a task, which is why the developers opted for Early Access to ensure everything is done right.
All Guns On Deck basically hands you a ship and instructions to take down your opponents. The twist is that your opponents have opted for an aerial force instead of a naval one. This means that while you are trying to shoot down enemy planes they will be raining destruction down on you from above. Since ships, especially the large cruisers in this game, are not exactly known for their maneuverability, victory often comes down to effective crew management.
When you start out all your crew are chilling in the off duty area and you must drag them towards the areas of the ship where they will be most useful. Place some men in the damage control area and they will work on keeping the hull intact, while the ones in the gunnery stations will keep the weapons firing without your input. You will also need to station men in the maintenance bay to keep those guns reloaded and crew is needed in the special bay if you plan on using any specialized weapons or equipment. Finally, there is the reinforcement bay, which handles the special “chips” you take into battle. These chips are what is used as “power-ups” in the game and there are a variety to purchase. You can only carry a few with you into battle, so choosing wisely and restocking often is advisable.
The game also allows you to take direct control of some or all of your guns, which is definitely recommended as the aim of your crew is generally awful. You will still need to keep an eye on what is happening with your ship though as fires or leaks can scuttle your chances of victory before you know it. Placing crew members in the changing bay enable you to select their specialization, from fireman and engineers to welders, tech heads and more, which increases the amount of things you need to keep track of. Crew cannot be managed outside of battle and you only have ten free seconds between rounds, so good multi-tasking skills is a must in this game. In addition to battling human enemies you will also encounter giant sea monsters, but these formidable foes can be avoided by only travelling during the day.
Map travel is done via nodes, with safe zones indicated by blue nodes and red nodes harboring hostiles. The number displayed on red nodes also indicated the amount of waves you will face. Your penalty for death is losing all the bounty that you have accrued for defeated waves, but the number of waves you have vanquished is subtracted from the total, which makes subsequent attempts easier.
All Guns On Deck features crisp, 2D visuals and the overall visual style is quite nice. The ship and enemy designs in particular are very good and the interface, while initially confusing, soon makes sense. When not fighting waves of enemies you can return to a safe port to restore the health of your vessel. Port is also where you can hire crew, buy equipment and construct new ships. Unfortunately, at this point the port section feels a bit lacking and slow paced. Slowly walking from the one building to the next simply feels like a chore and we can’t help but feel that a simple menu would have worked better.
Since its release on Early Access the game has had a few patch updates already, which shows that the developers are committed to creating a great game. While there are only a handful of warships and battles thus far, the completed version will boast a gameworld spanning six continents. Taking direct control of the guns on your ship and shooting down enemies feels like Missile Command on steroids, while the strategic elements have enough depth to keep things interesting. With a bit more polish and enhancements All Guns On Deck has the potential to be a classic, so don’t miss out if you are a fan of quirky, but fun games.
This preview is based on the Early Access Version 0.1.3.210