When I first came across Her Majesty’s Ship I was surprised how great it looked on paper, or in this case, on the Switch store’s page. The gameplay made it look like a sort of FTL: Faster Than Light, but with ships. It ticked all the boxes for strategy and combat. Unfortunately, what works on paper doesn’t always manifest as a fun video game—and Her Majesty’s Ship is just so much wasted potential.
Her Majesty’s Ship is a management game with some strategic decision making. This is definitely not a strategy, or real-time strategy game as I’ve seen on at least one of its store pages. Instead, it’s much simpler than that, with mechanics that are extremely reminiscent of a mobile game. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but being compared to a mobile game is never a ringing endorsement. In this case, it’s just the tip of what could have been.
What could have been is a smart, even a little FTL-like game with multi-crewed ships that have to fight other ships in tactical combat, while you salvage goods to sell at port to keep your crew happy and health. What we got is a mobile clicker, where you just click the object you want your crew to interact with. You do have to keep your ship stocked, and crew happy, but there is nothing more to it than waiting for a cooldown to go away, and the correct station to open up. Timing is not crucial, but you’ll end up spamming the station you want until it’s available.
It’s possible that Her Majesty’s Ship could have been redeemed with satisfying combat. The rest of the clicking could have been saved for mundane tasks and the overworld map. Sadly, combat isn’t even really a consideration. What determines your chances of winning are crewmembers, gunpowder, and the number of guns you can shoot. Those all just increase your odds, as it’s a single button click and a random number generator that does the rest. There is hardly even an animation to show the conflict, and it’s over faster than you can assign men to the proper stations—bummer.
But maybe, if Her Majesty’s Ship isn’t about combat, then exploring the world and buying/selling could be fun. First of all, traversing the world is an utter pain. There’s no way (that I found) that you could speed up travel. This is especially frustrating because your AI opponent seems to, by default, be faster than you. Buying/selling is similarly brainless—you buy what you need, and hope you have the gold to sustain your crew.
The setup of Her Majesty’s Ship is as sad as the gameplay. There just isn’t much to do. It’s you versus a number of AI opponents, and that’s pretty much it. The Switch version, unlike the Steam version, does not even have multiplayer. So the Switch is robbed of even that feature that may have had some redeeming value.
There just isn’t much to do in Her Majesty’s Ship, and doing it isn’t very fun. It does have a lot of systems—so it has the potentially to be mechanically meaty—but it just never delivers those systems to its players in a meaningful way. Combat is a dice roll, and everything else is just “click where needed.” There are just so many better games out there—don’t waste your time.
Her Majesty’s Ship is available now on Nintendo Switch and Steam.
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