Interestingly, for those who are not as inclined to the narrative, Abandon Ship offers a brief combat campaign, in which you get to experience Abandon Ships core gameplay – the ship combat – in a much terseer fashion. The engagements are all real-time, but the game can be stopped as desired by the player. Because of the real-time nature of Abandon Ship, that could cause some issues, although Abandon Ship does conveniently provide a pause button which can be used pretty much anytime to enqueue commands or simply evaluate the status of your current situation.
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Abandon Ship puts you in the role of a captain sailing the ship across a procedurally generated, varied world, taking place in a fantasy version of the Age of Sail. Abandon Ship is a game that I was visibly disappointed with when it initially launched, and I find myself eager now to explore new seas and fight even stranger ships night after night. I have enjoyed my time with Abandon Ship, but I can also never shake the feeling that I could have played any number of games in this same mould, which have found niftier, more engaging ways of offering these kinds of survival/combat/management/roguelike experiences.
Combat is great fun, and you get to pick the attack range, weapons, who goes where, and prioritize attacking over repair, and then board your ship. Abandon Ship takes all of the ship-and-crew-management Roguelike elements of the Subset Games breakout hits and moves them out of the stars into the open ocean. In Abandon Ship, players assume command of a ship called the Age of Sail, alongside the crew who will accompany them on their journey.
Overall, this is a slightly weird system, as the game forces you to pick your encounters before you can venture out of the zone, and outside of time pressures from the pursuits in the early game, there seems to be very little reason for having to float through the wide open spaces to pick up encounters, other than for the aesthetics. From mortars that deal little damage, but light up a ship (damaging a ship over time) to swing guns that funnel electricity around and can stun a whole crew (making them less able to react to your attempts at boarding, or to fire barrages), the abandoned ships allows for different gameplay styles. Combat is real-time, but paused, and involves directing your crew to manning guns, extinguishing fires, and generally making sure that your ship is the one with fewer holes.