A battleship is essentially a floating platform for a huge battery consisting of hundreds of heavy guns with a maximum firing range of dozens of miles. In its time, the battleship was the epitome of engineering and naval power.

Unfortunately, the slow-moving behemoths were vulnerable to the torpedoes and mines deployed by smaller, nimbler, and cheaper craft, and thus relied on a screen of destroyers, which specialised in hunting down torpedo boats.

Eventually this gave rise to the battlegroup, a task force of smaller ships whose job it was to scout and intercept for the vulnerable battleships.

Full Ahead

Cue Doodle Battleships, the mobile game from developer Net Lizard and distributed by Connect2Media, based on the pen and paper game of a similar name.

The game opens with each player placing ten 'ships' on a 10x10 grid. Each ship is represented by one to four blocks, and there has to be a gap of at least one square between each of them. The object is to place them in an unpredictable manner to confound your opponent.

Once you're satisfied with your placement, players take turns firing 'shots' at each other's grids by selecting a square with the flashing cursor. Hit an empty grid and play passes to the other player. Strike a ship and you get another turn.

When you've successfully hit every block that constitutes an enemy ship, the surrounding squares will be marked to indicate a successful sinking.

Ocean View

In keeping with its roots, Doodle Battleships is presented in faux notepad style, not dissimilar to the stylings of another C2M published title, Parachute Panic.

Sound effects are sparse, limited to a selection of tinny explosions and splashes accompanying each shot you fire. Sadly, there's no option to listen to the rather excellent menu music while playing.

There are three levels of difficulty in single-player mode, though we suggest skipping the ridiculously simple Newbie Mode in favour of the more challenging Expert Mode.

Hey, you're peeking!

Whichever difficulty level you choose, playing against the AI quickly loses its charm. After all, there's little satisfaction in playing a guessing game when you have the niggling sense that your opponent already knows where you've placed your pieces.

Fortunately, Doodle Battleships features multiplayer over bluetooth. Competing with another human being is far more enjoyable, especially if your challenger is prone to tantrums, but even the most competitive of friends will soon tire of the repetitive nature of the game.

There's no disputing that this Doodle Battleships looks stylish, but much like the two-dimensional game it's based on, there's an inescapable lack of depth that ultimately sinks this battleship.