Have you ever dreamed of living at sea? Perhaps you are just looking for something fun to appeal to your nautical side, not the Subnautical one? There may be a solution in the form of the best naval games. Even though it may appear to be an unusual niche to some, naval gaming is surprisingly popular. You will see what we mean by how many people play World of Warships regularly.
In some titles, exploration and discovery are the focus, while in others, treasure hunting and combat with other ships are the focus. There is sure to be something in this vast ocean of entertainment options that matches your preferences.
Today, we’ll look at just some of the most popular naval games available in 2022 and what they can offer if you’re on the hunt for adventure. To be clear, though, the genre is not very popular, so even some of the best games in it may be pretty subpar.
Let’s kick things off with a bang. World of Warships is one of the most famous naval games in history. Within this title, you’ll find a host of different ships you can control as you sail through the world, conquering different locations and finding players to destroy. Though commonly identified as a “war game,” this title has a clear naval focus.
Ships include everything from the WW1 and WW2 eras to more recent creations, and they’re highly customizable too. The game is frequently updated with new features and places to explore. If you’re looking for a game similar in style to Battlefield or Call of Duty, with an ocean theme, this could be the option for you.
Unlike most free-to-play arcade games, World of Warships also requires a significant amount of strategy. It would be best to think about how you will attack each opponent.
Sea of Thieves
Looking for something with a little less war and a lot more pirates? Sea of Thieves is the most impressive pirate-themed game in recent years. Designed by the experts at Rare, Sea of Thieves allows you to live out your secret dreams of becoming the scourge of the ocean.
Players assume the role of a pirate, who can complete voyages for various trading companies. The open world is a lot of fun to explore, particularly when you have an opportunity to seek out treasure and loot other players. On your ship, each player will have a specific responsibility they need to think about to keep you afloat.
You’ll need to cooperate with other players to make the most of this game, particularly when tackling bosses and enemies. Overall, it’s a fun and engaging game with many cool weapons and discoveries to explore.
Similar to Sea of Thieves, Blackwake is all about multiplayer gaming. You’ll need to work with your crew to sail the seas and defeat enemies safely. The game’s theme is a little more old-fashioned than Sea of Thieves, but there’s a lot of realism to make you feel like you’re on the water.
Blackwake takes place in the “Golden age” for pirates and allows you to either captain a ship’s crew, or become a part of another team, depending on your luck. You’ll need to complete various tasks according to the instructions to play your part in this fast-paced game.
Crews feature up to 13 players, all of which have jobs like resupplying and reloading cannons, making repairs after you’re attacked, and even boarding other ships.
Like the idea of being under the ocean’s surface more than traveling atop it? Cold waters is a submarine simulation game created by Killerfish Games, and it’s commonly referred to as the “spiritual successor” to the 1988 submarine game, Red Storm Rising.
Cold Waters walks the line between simulation and arcade-style gaming. The title is set in the cold war so you can expect a lot of tense shooting and battles. Your submarine has the task of intercepting enemy forces and stopping them from accomplishing their goals. The cool thing about this game is you can choose to be as stealthy or obvious as you like with your attack.
There’s a lot of mission variety so you won’t get bored of the same old thing too quickly. There’s even new content being released all the time, so you can enjoy this title for months without it getting old. There are even more than 40 different ships and submarines to choose from.
Ultimate Admiral: Age of Sail
Quite a unique offering in the naval game’s landscape, Ultimate Admiral, is an engaging single-player story experience where you play as the incredible Admiral Nelson. You’ll be taking the helm at the heart of several historical battles and events. There’s a British campaign involving a journey through Central America and the battle of Trafalgar.
Alternatively, you can opt for the American campaign, where you take on the role of John Paul Jones and participate in the War of Independence and the creation of the US Navy. The wide-open environments and high-quality graphics make this a wonderfully immersive game.
One thing to remember is that this game requires a bit of strategy. Learning to use all the weapons correctly takes time, and navigating the choppy ocean waters takes time. The realistic sailing experience might be challenging to some, but it’s still a lot of fun.
Better with friends, Windward is a fully procedural co-op game that comes alive when you invite other people to pilot your ship with you. Part of what makes Windward so compelling is its wide-open environment. You can create your own world from scratch that’s unique to you, design your own faction, and explore.
There are various tasks and challenges in this game to enjoy. You’ll sail around finding resources you can transform into necessary materials, hunt down upgrades for your ship, and even encounter towns asking for your assistance. The further you travel from your home base, the more you’ll encounter pirates trying to steal your goods.
The world in Windward grows the more you interact with it. Finishing a task for a town will help it to evolve and give you new challenges in the future. You can also upgrade and increase the size of your ship over time. Or you can just become a pirate yourself.
Carrier Battles 4: Guadalcanal
Probably one of the most classic examples of a naval game on our list, Carrier Battles 4 is a hex and counter wargame covering all of the air and naval battles of the Pacific war. Initially, the game was released on iOS and became a massive success with the mobile crowd. As more players joined, the company decided to release a Steam version.
The PC version has slightly fancier graphics and upgrades, but it’s still a straightforward game for people who don’t want to invest too much time into strategy. There are more than 80 types of warplanes and historical ships to discover, as well as a variety of hex maps to explore. You can also leverage cross-platform multiplayer features.
If you’re playing solo, there are some challenging Japanese AI bots ready to put you to the test. One thing worth noting is this game is still in production. The developers are planning future upgrades to make the gameplay even more immersive.
Another title by Killerfish games on our list of the best naval titles, Atlantic fleet, has some fantastic Steam reviews from top fans. Atlantic Fleet is a tactical and highly strategic game that simulates the Atlantic’s battle during the second world war. You’ll have the option to control the Axis or the Allies during the war.
The turn-based game means you must think carefully about each move before you do anything to avoid destroying your ship. As you progress through the game, you’ll take control of submarines, surface ships, and land-based and carrier aircraft. There are 30 single missions to explore, 50 mission campaigns, and the option to create your own battles.
The tactical game is about protecting your ship and going on the offensive when enemies arrive. Though not as fast-paced as some other naval games, this is a title you won’t want to miss.
From the Depths
From the Depths isn’t an exclusively naval-focused game, but there’s a lot of fun on the open waters. In this title, you’ll be able to build your own unique war machines from over 1000 components to help fight a range of AI factions on various maps. You’re in complete charge of designing your vehicle, so you can be as creative as you like.
There are plenty of opportunities to experiment with different weapons as you take down your enemies. You can also download some blueprints online for extra help if you don’t know where to start with your builds. Aside from designing warships, you’ll also be able to create tanks, aircraft, and spaceships for fighting aliens.
Thanks to an active online community, there are plenty of ways to transform your gaming experiences with apps and mods from the Steam workshop.
Ironclads 2 Collection
Strategy is everything in this naval game from the Totem Games company. Ironclads 2 is a series of bundled titles available only on Steam designed to help you make the most of your naval obsession. You’ll have various opportunities to fight various enemies throughout the nineteenth century.
While the activity in this title is turn-based, engagements happen in real-time. You’ll need to learn how to make the most of your ship fast if you’re going to survive in this game, as managing your fleet can quickly get complicated. The opponent AI ships are difficult to beat, but you’ll have various ship models and unique settings to choose from to help you.
One little point to keep in mind is there are absolutely no tutorials included with this game, so you’ll need to learn how to leverage all of your ship’s tools from scratch. On the plus side, you get a lot of games in one package, so you’re less likely to run out of things to do when you’re looking for some time to enjoy the sea.
Silent Hunter 3
Another submarine-style game, Silent Hunter 3, is a phenomenal 3D title with a realistic and immersive environment. The atmosphere is filled with beautiful water models, day and night cycles, and historically accurate submarines and aircraft. There are countless boats to choose from and various weapons to experiment with.
You can follow the story in this game or create your own campaigns from scratch. The decisions you make in the story will also influence what you can do in the game’s future. This makes it easier to enjoy a more creative and unique campaign.
If you want to take your experience to the next level, consider making the most of the multiplayer option. You can bring up to eight players into your ship and command them to carry out various actions, like patrolling the ship or battling enemies.
The Best Naval Games for 2022
There you have it, our custom-picked collection of the best naval games for 2022, all chosen to deliver different water-based experiences to today’s avid gamers. Which are your favorite titles out of the options explored below? Do you have any preferences that we haven’t mentioned so far? Feel free to get involved in the comments discussion and share your recommendations.