[PS4] Ship Graveyard Simulator Review

by Ajescent

Ship Graveyard Simulator from Ultimate Games will have you explore the largest one ever as you try to salvage as much stuff as possible. Check our Ship Graveyard Simulator review!

Ship Graveyard Simulator from Ultimate Games will have you explore the largest one ever as you try to salvage as much stuff as possible. Simulator is a weird genre, isn’t it? It’s like game studios are all in competition to bring you the most out there and obscure activity/profession that can be simulated. We have had being a truck driver, a firefighter, becoming a police officer, and even building your own PC. Whilst those guys were patting themselves on the back, feeling proud of their work, Games Incubator said to the masses, “hold my Beer.”

Ship Graveyard Simulator is the latest game of such a curious genre to grace the PlayStation 4. After doing the rounds on PC since 2021, it is now on consoles. But is it worth your time? In order to answer that question, it is better to look at Ship Graveyard Simulator (SGS) and understand what it aims to be. There are indeed people out there who live in ship graveyards and strip decommissioned ships for parts. These people are often poor and have to eke out an income. SGS makes a good attempt not to glamourize the job by not presenting it as a glamorous calling, as some games can unintentionally do. SGS aims to show Ship graveyards in their natural light by having the person you play live inside nothing more than a shanty shack with a bed, a hammer, a PC, and a truck.

Ship Graveyard Simulator Review - 1

Using the PC, you can buy timed access to one of 17 ships in the game. Upon gaining access – at 8 a.m. the next day – you will have 24 in-game hours to destroy as much of the ship with your trusty hammer as you can before the next day begins. Upon doing so, you can heave your haul back to your shanty town to sell to merchants are managers looking for wares. When you make enough money, you can eventually acquire new tools, upgrade them, and improve your yield. That is the essential loop of the game, destroy, collect, sell.

Gaining access to your first ship will immediately shine a light on a few problems the game has. The main one is that the game presents itself as being able to destroy a ship down to its barebones, there is even a destruction bar at the top of the screen that charts how much of a ship you have destroyed so far, but the more you progress, the more it becomes apparent that you cannot destroy an entire ship. You are limited to certain prescribed bits of the ship that can be assaulted with your tools. Even if you manage to get 100% completion on a ship, it will still look as though nothing has happened to the outside. Indeed you can acquire access to larger ships and “remove” bits of the sides, but even then, you are limited to attacking prescribed bits of the ship. Ultimately, the promise of complete destruction that you would hope for going into this game is not met.

Though SGS is feature-rich up to an extent, with 17 ships of differing sizes and designs and six different tools to use to strip the ships down, ultimately, things just feel a little lacking. The game can be played in two difficulty settings, either Easy or Normal. Playing on normal, I had managed to unlock all abilities and upgrades by day 30 in-game. At no point when doing this did I feel taxed or challenged. By day 32, I had completely negated my need for money and, at this point, was only playing just to see what the different ships had to offer. If you like trophies, this is a necessity for the platinum, but if you do not, your desire to keep playing would have ended a long time ago.

Ship Graveyard Simulator Review - 2

Sure, you can attempt the recurring loop of trying to cater to managers looking for materials. As you upgrade your smelter, you get more exotic and complex orders that you can either make or hire workers to help you collect and store in storage for you. Whilst this is an interesting idea, I feel it does not go far enough. For example, why are workers only limited to generating materials instead of maybe also being able to collect the excess ones I leave on the ship simply because I no longer have the inventory space to horde them? Why are manager requests not time sensitive? I think the game could have faired better with more consequences for not being able to meet goals.

If you are unable to pay the daily fees of workers and ship rentals, they leave, but I feel more could have been done to make the game feel more sim-like. A fatigue system could have encouraged you to figure out how to manage your time more carefully because by day 40 of my save, I was spending multiple days aboard ships with no problems simply because by then, I had expired my need for upgrades, resources, and money. The managers are useful early on because they pay more for goods than the general market, so they can be exploited easily should they wish to get rich quickly. Whilst on the topic of managers, a time limit on their requests could have easily made their encounters a lot more interesting. In addition, when it is time to hand in requests for managers and upgrades, not being able to consolidate from the four different storage locations you have access to seems to be an oversight. There is just too much sifting through menus and juggling inventory for any of it to be fun. The inability to have access to all four inventory spaces on your PC feels like a missed opportunity.

Ship Graveyard Simulator Review - 3

Whilst it might seem unfair to have so many expectations on a game from a Polish studio specializing in low to mid-budget games, a fair bit of corner-cutting should be expected – the lock pick system seems to have been lifted directly from fallout games – it should be acknowledged that this game had the potential to be something bigger than it turned out to be and it is a little frustrating to see the bones of what the game could have been lying in disuse. In fairness, there are things to celebrate about SGS. The controls work well for the most part. The implementation of the “weapon wheel” is a lot better here than in other simulator games I have come across in the past. The music is strangely the best part of the game. The soundtrack has a chilled vibe to it, especially one of the tracks evoking memories of Final Fantasy X, which is no bad thing.

Ship Graveyard Simulator is a game that tried to be a simulator of what it means to grift day to day for scraps, but weak implementation made it just become another collect-a-thon of resources. And even then, it failed in achieving that because the collecting aspect falls flat when you realize it is also redundant. When you distill it down to its bare bones, SGS is a game for people who just want to his something with hammers for a bit. Whilst the initial premise is a very unique one, I can’t help but feel that there are other games that do things much better. Ship Graveyard Simulator is out on PlayStation 4 at a $14.99 price.

Ship Graveyard Simulator Review - 4

This Ship Graveyard Simulator review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Ultimate Games.

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