Developer Game-Labs has pushed their highly anticipated naval combat sim, Naval Action, over to Steam’s Early Access Program. Early last year, SimHQ took a couple looks at Naval Action in its premature stages, but now, it seems, Game-Labs is getting ready for prime time.
In brief, Naval Action is a very detailed naval combat sim that involves a good amount of strategy to successfully navigate its often perilous open world. You can play as a number of nations and pretty much do as you please (fighting, trading, sitting around looking pretty), but wanton attacks will eventually flag you as a pirate. As for the ships, they’re detailed and look quite good, especially considering the genre and early stage of development. Sailing utilizes proper physics models (wind/water), and requires you to get accustomed to each ship’s handling before you can really master their controls. As you might expect, the positional damage models in Naval Action are pretty solid and provide players with ample ways to wreak havoc on their opponents (fires, structural damage, leaks, torn sails, etc).
As with most games using the Early Access / Extended Alpha model of development, Game-Labs is hoping to utilize its fan’s zeal to find and help snuff out bugs and design flaws before the Official release. When is that release date planned to happen? Your guess is as good as mine. It seems the developer is playing it pretty safe and clearly has extended plans to stay in Early Access for some time:
“We plan to stay in Early Access until core features of the game are finished and polished.”
You don’t get much vaguer than that, eh?
Naval Action runs about $39.99 USD for the Early Access version of the game, with plans from the developer to increase the price once the game is officially out. Currently, Naval Action is very playable, and has basic crafting, trading, and conquests (along with a healthy number of ships), but it is missing many planned features, including a user-friendly UI. The UI that is currently in the game is a bit messy, if functional, and you’ll want to definitely take some time acquainting yourself with its ins-and-outs. Considering the popularity of the game and its robust features (both in game already and planned for the future), if you’re a fan of naval warfare, you may want to consider picking it up before the price rises, as well as lending your voice to the ongoing development. That said, you’ve probably got plenty of time to decide if you want to dive in, considering the developers hazy release plans.