Developer: RITS PLASMAN
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆
Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

“You sank my battleship!” What kid of the 1970s doesn’t remember that statement of faux exasperation from the commercials for the classic board game Battleship? I have to admit, I never really got the fun of the game; it was more about pure guesswork than any real strategy. Fortunately, the developers of Battleships (note the additional “s” for copyright purposes) for the iPhone have created an interesting variation of the game that is more single-player puzzle than guessing game.

The object of Battleships remains the same as the classic board game – locate and destroy a series of ships, battleships and subs on an initially-blank grid. This time, however, there’s no opponent. It’s just you and the grid, turning the game into more of a Sudoku-style logic puzzle than a competitive experience. A few boxes on the grid are revealed at the start of each round, along with numbers along the bottom and right side of the grid. These numbers are essential; they indicate the number of occupied squares in each row. So, if a row has a “0″ at the bottom of it, you can go ahead and mark all of that row as ocean squares. Through a process of elimination, carefully applying the rules of the game, players can uncover all of the ships on the grid.

For a solo variant of a traditionally two-player game, Battleships is oddly compelling. There’s nothing sophisticated about the presentation – it’s serviceable, but nothing special – and the sounds are virtually nonexistent, but I’ve felt an odd compulsion to play again and again. That’s probably because Battleships is harder than you might think. It’s a game that has just enough of a frustration factor to keep you wanting to play more.

So feel free to yell out, “I sank your battleship!” to your iPhone whenever you like, but be prepared for some pretty odd looks.

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