Before I get into this review for Deadliest Catch: The Game, I feel like I need to get a little something off my chest. It’s very rare and I mean VERY rare that a licensed game like this is ever actually good. In my experience, I’ve enjoyed very few games that have been made from TV Shows or Movies. Aladdin for the SNES was a BANGER and Hercules for the PlayStation was so good and who can forget Simpsons Hit & Run?! But outside of that I can’t think of a single game I enjoyed.
The same can be said for games being turned into movies or TV shows as well. So with that in mind, you can imagine my reaction when I saw this game. Well, is The Deadliest Catch: The Game an Alaskan King Crab worth keeping or will I be throwing it straight back into the Bering Sea?
What’s the deal here then, what’s the goal of Deadliest Catch: The Game? The gameplay features you as the captain of your own fishing vessel, in my case, I named my ship the S.S Disappointment. Your goal is to basically do what the TV show does, go out into the Bering Sea, catch some king crabs, sell them, hire some staff to make the process more autonomous, rinse and repeat.
The tutorial is pretty good at showing you the ropes and getting you going, which I think is absolutely necessary ‘cause once I went at it for real, this game just got confusing as all hell. Before you actually set sail, you’re in the port, the port town is where you’ll refuel your vessel, buy equipment and supplies and hire staff. The first thing I did was hire a couple of crewmen as some of the jobs on board were super boring. The one I hated the most was checking the crabs to see if they match the right criteria, that thing took so long.
But the problems with Deadliest Catch: The Game begin here for me. You need to give your staff jobs, certain jobs can’t be completed until the previous job in the sequence has been done, for example, you can’t put bait in the pot until it’s loaded on the rack and opened, makes sense right? So, why was my crewman not prepping the pot after the other crewman racked it up?
I had to remove the guy from the job and do it myself, while he was assigned to the job I couldn’t physically touch the pot, it wouldn’t let me prep it at all! Then while I was trying to assign him a new job, I got stuck in the menu, none of my inputs was working at all. I tried everything you could think of and nothing would work, my last resort? Closing and reopening Deadliest Catch: The Game. Then I had to start ALL OVER AGAIN.
When Deadliest Catch: The Game was working, it was okay. It’s super repetitive and very slow-paced as you can imagine, you’re a crab fisherman, you’re not going to be fighting pirates and looking for treasure now, are you? But for the most part, the game didn’t work for me, I had so many bugs, whether they were gameplay bugs, audio bugs or visual bugs like my crewmates clipping into objects on the ship, it just seemed like a mess.
It seemed like it had been slapped together and thrown overboard, somewhat like my crab pots, in the hopes that they could catch some revenue based on the name and honestly, it probably will shift a fair few units, people love The Deadliest Catch.
But the MAIN problem I have here lies in the fact that, when you watch the Deadliest Catch TV show, there’s drama, it’s peoples livelihood on the line. If they don’t catch GOOD crabs and plenty of them, they don’t make money, they don’t pay bills, not only that but when you’re watching a bunch of blokes who are cooped up on a boat for days and days, things get a little tense, people argue, people get sick etc.
Deadliest Catch: The Game doesn’t have that feel. Your crew are robots, even though the game has leaderboards it doesn’t feel rewarding enough to put in any amount of time to push for it. As previously mentioned the game itself is very buggy so not only is it relatively dull and not feel rewarding, it doesn’t even work properly half the time!
If this game was in beta or early access, I could forgive all the bugs and even the fact there’s no atmosphere on your boat, or a feeling of dread, in the middle of the Bering Sea. But this game left early access in April 2020 and for a game that’s been out for 7 months at this point? I just feel like it’s a mess.
I can appreciate the work that has gone into it and I can somewhat appreciate what they were trying to achieve with the game. But I feel like you need to take the core values of the show into play when you make a game like this and if you can’t capture that feel, you may as well bin the idea and create something new.
That OR create something that uses the same theming and make it your own thing, that way people can’t ‘compare’ or look at the show it’s based off and say things like, well the crewmates were at each other’s throats on the show but on my boat all they did was stand aimlessly with their arms out looking like they were getting ready to fly into the middle of the ocean, ignoring almost every job I assigned them!
Deadliest Catch: The Game overall thoughts
For people who like simulation games, this game or specific sub-genre I guess has potential and if you’re into it I can imagine you could get a fair bit of playtime out of it. But when this game retails at £15.49 on steam, with the number of bugs it has and the way it feels as if you’re literally on a ship in the middle of the ocean on your own, even with a full crew, I just can’t recommend it.
If the developers want to make changes or want to scrap this project and start again, I really must suggest that you put some time into making things feel even SLIGHTLY like the Deadliest Catch show. I don’t want to be a crab fisherman, but if I’m buying this Deadliest Catch: The Game, I want some of the experience, make the staff their own actual characters, give me some feeling of being with a crew out at sea. Unfortunately, I felt more like I was on a raft, in the middle of the ocean, on my own. This is one ship, this captain won’t be going down with.
As always, if you wanna chat garbage with me or if you want to tell me you actually loved this game, you can reach out to me on Twitter at @Stubat_ I’m always up for a discussion!
Deadliest Catch: The Game is developed by Moonlit and Ultimates Games, who also publish the game alongside PlayWay. The game is available now on PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One. In the meantime, why not check out more of our game reviews by clicking HERE.