World War 2 shooters tend to follow the same old formula every time. Games like Call of Duty and Brothers in Arms often feature the same ragtag, world-weary group of Americans or Brits, fighting against insurmountable odds to defeat the Germans. For once, we’ve found a WW2 shooter that shows the opposite side of the conflict: In Silent Hunter Mobile, you control a German submarine that single-handedly sinks the Allied fleets to help Hitler win the war.
While this twist might make some folks uncomfortable, the storyline is not nearly as intriguing as it could be. Instead of reaching Das Boot levels of tension, Silent Hunter Mobile is a brief, shallow shooter that simply replaces rocket launchers with torpedo tubes.
You begin in the Atlantic with your U-boat, led to your mission objectives by a bright green arrow over a map of Europe. When you encounter your target, you enter a 3D-rendered stretch of ocean, where you can either move up to the surface, or dive your sub to undetectable depths. You have access to different attacks at different depths: Underwater, you can stealthily target Allied cruisers and battleships with torpedoes, while on the surface you can use a mortar gun or anti-aircraft guns.
Each attack controls slightly differently. Torpedoes are targeted with tilt controls, but you must judge the enemy’s distance correctly to ensure a critical hit. Mortar fire is also controlled by tilt, but it’s more of a timing-based minigame, and you’ll be able to see a gauge that indicates where to release the attack button for a direct hit. The AA guns are controlled by a D-pad, so that you can shoot down enemy planes as they approach.
Can you spot the tiny Indiana Jones sneaking aboard?
These three main attacks, plus one extra tilt-controlled torpedo attack, make up the entirety of the gameplay. Throughout three brief acts, you’ll fight a combination of big ships, little ships, and airplanes using these same few attacks. Vanquished ships leave giant, floating powerups behind, which destroy any realism the game might otherwise offer. As a result, the game can feel very arcade-like, which seems at odds with the dramatic music and setting.
While we’re always happy to play through a unique perspective of WW2, Silent Hunter Mobile just isn’t much fun. The production values, especially the music, are very good, but the flat level progression doesn’t keep things interesting for long. It’s too bad that a WW2 game where you play as the Germans doesn’t manage to inspire fear, awe, or fury– but just plain old boredom.