The manual, consisting of a 14-page PDF file, is not very substantiative. The manual covers the program controls and settings, but doesn’t actually teach you the complexities of driving or navigating a ship. While I have a very good working knowledge of things such as compasses, bearings, tracks, etc., a less experienced person might be a bit confused by some of the terminology and how to apply the concepts. There are three video tutorial files that are included that are actually well done and informative which go over some of the basics of how to control the ships and use the features on the screen as well as covering some of the features and capabilities of the included mission editor.
The start-up menu is straight-forward and after selecting “Start Game” you’ll be taken to the main mission selection screen. The sim ships with 40 missions that generally increase in difficulty as you progress through them. The first few missions introduce you to the sim and help you get your feet wet (literally). The first 5 missions are freely selectable in any order, but after that you must successfully complete 1 mission to unlock the next mission in sequence after the initial 5. Essentially, the sim requires you to proceed through the sequence of missions without skipping ahead to the more difficult missions. Also, not all of the different types of ships will be available right off the bat; you’ll have to work your way up to unlock and explore different vessel types. One small gripe I have is that, in my opinion, as you accomplish each mission they should be grayed out or somehow otherwise indicated as having been “passed” already so that you can quickly ascertain where you are in the sequence of missions. Clicking on a mission you have already played and passed will show you a summary of the fastest time you accomplished the mission and you can replay any mission you’ve already passed at any time.