Ready, Steady, Ship! – PS5 Review

It’s funny how games centred around menial vocations can prove such a hit. Overcooked has spawned plenty of imitators in a genre that is all about too much to do. Ready, Steady, Ship! is the latest of these to come to console. Jollybit Games have taken the simple, repetitive art of logistics and managed to deliver a cheery, mildly hectic effort.

The campaign comes in solo and co-op flavours. The latter is limited to two players but I certainly felt the levels gave you just enough to think about whilst maintaining pretty lenient measures for success. I’ve largely focused on the single-player campaign but, looking at the co-op campaign, they’re not that different. The same lessons are being learned in the same environments, there’s just an extra pair of hands to co-ordinate. The levels are usually mirrored to allow both people to be busy.

On your own, it’s a very focused puzzle game. Each area has its own individual mechanics to master. Whilst you are primarily tasked with getting a box from A to B, the tools of logistics freshen up regularly. Conveyor belts are the bread and butter with selected parts able to placed and rotated into position. Everything is taught in a gentle manner and, for the most part, the game is straight forward. The belts do a great job of indicating the flow of the production line whilst hinting at where the special parts may need to go.

Each level has three stages, each with three stars to gain for completion. These stages escalate fairly smoothly, building on previous lessons in a gradual manner. I really enjoyed the sense of progression. Levels rarely throw everything at you and the self-contained nature of each location allows for a concentrated effort. You can replay missions for better star ratings or quicker times and they usually don’t take up too much of your time. It’s certainly a richer experience with a friend but I didn’t feel short-changed on the solo campaign.

The physics can add a wildcard to the equation. Vehicles especially do bring some chaos. Forklifts require a certain finesse to control. You can be tasked with some tight manoeuvres and a misplaced pallet could completely throw your angles off. I found it tricky to deal with but, thankfully, it doesn’t feature that heavily. Some boxes are also marked fragile so handling them with care is crucial.

I had more bother with the cranes. The stringy cables can really add inertia to a box, if you’re not careful. I’ve definitely flung a few boxes into the abyss, ruining a perfect run from sheer haste. It can take a while to settle and, unlike the forklift, I don’t have the deft touch required to quite master it. Sometimes physics can be used to your advantage, too. Wet floors can allow boxes to skid across the surface and the closing stages of the campaign makes use of the weightlessness of outer space.

I’m impressed with how much Ready, Steady Ship! does with the concept. The campaign’s maybe 5-6 hours long but each new set of levels gives you a new area with a set of mechanics to consider. Outside of the more mundane warehouse levels, things take on a more fanciful aesthetic with forms of transport becoming more extravagant. Solid ground becomes a thing of the past as it progresses from sea to air and finally, to space. It kept me interested and was paced very well. Very few levels felt like a struggle.

The presentation takes on a cheery approach. The story is paper thin with your chosen avatar merely looking for work. Each successful move up the ladder has its own cutscene which, whilst not greatly acted, is at least serviceable. Cutscenes don’t take into account your chosen attire but there is some charm to the silent, blank stare of the default character. Voice acting can feel a little reserved and, at times flat. Still, there’s not a lot to it and I do find it mildly ironic that our floor worker is appreciated all through their journey.

Areas are bright and easy to read. Any boxes hidden behind furniture are usually indicated so you can go back for lost packages. Destroyed boxes can also helpfully pop back into existence. I didn’t have any problems with performance, although I did run into difficulties when trying to interact with two objects close together. I’ve also had one instance of a button prompt failing to disappear, leading to a soft-locked level. Aside from that, I’ve not ran into any other trouble. Characters don’t do well on the very edge of platforms but that seems consistent with the physics engine. Giving yourself that extra room to spare can help avoid becoming stuck. There’s some frustration to be had but checkpoints can be reloaded quickly.

The music is very jolly. The light tone carries throughout and the music only truly ramps up into terror when the clock is running out. There’s flourishes and helpful audio hints to let you know if boxes are reaching their destination and if star requirements are being met. It’s nicely to have that feedback when the end of the production line is out of sight. If co-op partners are splitting up, a dynamic split screen is on hand to keep track.

Ready, Steady, Ship! is an enjoyable co-op effort with an equally engaging solo campaign. Whilst the two don’t differ too much mechanically, there’s enough on the table to warrant giving both a shot. Over the six locations, there’s a lot of new tricks to uncover and the simple act of delivery rarely felt stale or frustrating. The physics can feel lively and vehicles can be a handful, but they rarely outstayed their welcome.

Ready, Steady, Ship!
8 Overall
+ A tight campaign with plenty of variety.
+ Solid level design.
+ Cheery presentation.
+ Less chaotic than some of it's genre contemporaries.
- Vehicle control can be a little finnicky.
- Physics can become a little unpredictable.
- The two-player limit on co-op is a little disappointing.
Ready, Steady, Ship! provides an accomplished and enjoyable experience. The variety within the level design means a new mechanic is just around the corner and the pacing of the campaign feels swift. The solo campaign lets the puzzles shine but co-operative play offers just enough moving parts for things both players to feel involved. Vehicles can be tricky to deal with but I was rarely frustrated by this charming effort.

About Mike

Mike gets all the racing games because he understands that stuff even though he doesn't drive.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *