Ah, just what everyone wants when they think of a dream holiday, sailing the seas--monsters finding their way in and swiftly taking out the majority of the passengers on board. A springtime tale it is...being forced to fight against tooth or famine. Well, I hope you got your bags packed for this luxury cruise aboard Zen Studio's Dread Nautical!

Turn based RPG in nature, your main objective is to signal for help for the remaining passengers as you inevitably run into 'living' hazard after hazard. But... doesn't this all feel familiar? Within the introduction we realise that the fog horn already has been activated, but has some sort of power that has rendered surviving members of the cast unconscious. You wake up in the same place before all the terror began, doomed to repeat the great task again.

You'll have a small handful of characters to choose from, each with their own style of play and specific bonuses allotted to them. There's a nice bit of variety in the visual style of each too--anchoring on the idea of classics like ranged and melee, solidify their individuality in design.

Gameplay revolves around exploring each deck of the ship, usually for supplies to survive, but it does tend to vary. Sometimes you go on little retrieval trips for other survivors and things of the sort, all the while ending each deck by signalling the fog horn. As it's turn based, action points are allotted for your actions, be it hitting or shooting, or simply getting around. Strategy is required however--different weapons mean different action point costs, making it so you really have to plan ahead your next move.

Unfortunately, Dread Nautical sinks pretty hard in a few different places. The map layouts feel a bit hollow if I'm honest--you tend to just get a jumbled up version of the last floor you were on, just mixed up in a sort of stock layout. The graphics aren't terrible, but they're not great. I understand the style that was trying to be achieved, but found the blocky Playstation 1 hands waving around to be a bit distracting. If you're a turn based game junkie, there's no doubt in my mind that you'll be playing Dread Nautical thinking of other games in the genre that would be so much more fun instead. It's kind of a bummer, to be honest--I really wanted to enjoy everything, especially because I found the setting to be pretty darn cool and intriguing...but it just fell flat in almost every way for me.

That said, if you don't have turn based games under your microscope, and like the look of Dread Nautical--this might be a good start for you. It's a good one to enjoy without the jaded lens that I seem to bear, and I even gave it to my ten year old to enjoy...which I'm happy to report they did (and learned it pretty quickly without any help). So, proceed with caution, get a few different viewpoints under your belt and best of luck to you sailor!