I see him on my radar before anything else, before long I can make out a small glow on the screen as I approach him. Carefully lining up my cross hair I fire a missile towards him, he must have me in his sights as well, as our missiles collide between us. I quickly raise my speed before diving to get below him, this comes too late however, as a warning flashes on my screen that a seeking missile has locked onto me. I engage the cloak before thrusting the engine into reverse and turning to port. It was a gamble, but one that paid off as I was rewarded with a perfect target of my opponent's vulnerable side as I unloaded my missiles into him, emerging the victor in that engagement. I've won the battle, but the war remains unfinished as i notice that one of my allies has been defeated. I check the radar before making for the location of an enemy my teammate has announced through morse code.
That's just one of my many experiences so far with the newly Launched Steel Diver: Sub Wars. Simply put the game is a blast to play, I've already put about 4 hours into it and from the looks of it that number is only going to go up (Well it's not like it can go down anyway...).
Steel Divers: Sub Wars is a Free to Play (F2P) game by Nintendo of all people released just yesterday. It's the culmination of Nintendo's earlier announcement that they would be experimenting with the F2P model. The game is free to download and which gives access to two subs, the full multiplayer and two single player levels. For a $10 upgrade you get the premium version, which has 18 subs, 7 missions and more aesthetic options for your submarines.
Iwata called Sub Wars a "contemplative FPS" and so far I've got to agree with him. While I wouldn't call the battles slow it certainly is absent of the typical FPS's running and gunning strategy. Knowing when to dive, rise, cloak, reverse and use missiles makes for a much more thought provoking and engaging experience as players aim to outmaneuver each other in giant submarines.
Did I mention morse code? Because that's how you communicate with other players. While waiting for a match to start you can tap out your messages in delightful dashes and dots. It doesn't stop there either as its a useful tool in the game to call for help or help your teammates pinpoint an enemies coordinates. There's even a multiplayer chatroom to practice in. Here's a bit just for you guys!
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Sub Wars manages to be the good kind of F2P game. While you can only get two subs without paying, the subs all seem to be balanced well enough that skill comes out on top in battles.There's also no restriction on play time or the dreaded "free to wait" mechanic anywhere in sight.
Despite my affection for the game thus far it's far from perfect. The online options are incredibly lacking and there's no way to play with specific people like the "friends" and 'communities" feature in Mario kart 7. The single player missions leave something to be desired as well. There's 7 total, each taking around 5 minutes to complete. While there are 3 difficulties to go through for each level all it usually does is add more enemies.
All in all I've been having a lot of fun with Sub Wars, I even got the premium version to get access to more subs and hopefully support this kind of thing from Nintendo, I certainly wouldn't mind more games with this kind of thinking involved.