Nantucket for PC review: Entertaining, enticing, enjoyable

Nantucket combines the challenges of keeping a ship and her crew in good shape with the sense of adventure felt while exploring open seas and seeing the world.

Herman Melville's legendary book Moby Dick is one of the most influential works in literature, praised by many for its ability to make readers feel like they were really part of the golden age of American whaling. The creators of Nantucket consider Moby Dick to be one of the best works ever written, and it served as their main source of inspiration for the new game.

This, coupled with the developer's skills, resulted in an incredibly fun and engaging title that takes place in a unique setting, never explored before in gaming. Though the combat mechanics could have been better, Nantucket is nevertheless a great experience.

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Story: Create your own Moby Dick epilogue

Nantucket takes place after the end of the novel Moby Dick, as Ishmael, the sole survivor of the ship Pequod (the ship Moby Dick destroys) becomes a captain and begins a new journey across the seas.

Nantucket offers a fantastic amount of freedom. Essentially, you create your own story. Want to become a famous whaler and hunt down Moby Dick himself for revenge? Then hire a crew of hunters and get harpooning. Looking to do honest work? Check the newspaper for jobs and assist those in need. You can even equip your vessel with ship-to-ship weaponry and bring pirates to justice. The world is truly your oyster in Nantucket.

Gameplay: Strategic and logistical

The majority of your time will be spent sailing across the oceans from location to location. However, preparation for these journeys is crucial. Ensuring that you have enough supplies, a healthy crew, and a ship in good shape before leaving harbor will be what ultimately determines your survival. Aside from real-time strategy titles, this type of logistical challenge is often not seen in games, and it's awesome to see it done.

That isn't to say that there's not strategic thinking to do while in the open waters, though. The direction of the wind and other weather conditions can have an impact on your ship and how fast you reach your destination, so knowing when to alter course to avoid hazards is important, too.

In addition, events can occur during your travels. Ranging from pirate raids to your crewmen simply asking if you could spare the time to visit their hometown, almost anything can happen at any moment. Your choices and actions in these situations will determine what your crew thinks of you and how loyal they are, which in turn affects their performance on the ship or in battle.

Combat with whales and pirates is the final part of Nantucket's gameplay. It's akin to traditional RPG turn-based fighting, which is both a good and bad thing in my eyes. I would have liked to see something more unique here, but at the same time, this formula is tried-and-true. Unfortunately, the interface for the combat is confusing, and it took me several minutes to figure everything out. Once I did, though, it was smooth sailing.

Presentation: Charming and authentic

One of the best aspects of Nantucket is the way the developers took care to create a fitting atmosphere. Whether its the high-pitched creaking of your ship's hull as it cuts through the waves, the voices of your crew singing shanties, or the sound of ringing bells as your vessel arrives at port, the audio design in this game is genius. Paired with the pleasant stylized visuals and lighthearted score, it's perfect.

Nantucket for PC conclusion

Though the combat is unoriginal and a bit confusing, every other aspect of Nantucket shines brightly and all of it comes together to form a great indie experience unlike any other.


  • Awesome setting.
  • Excellent strategic gameplay.
  • Strong presentation,


  • "Safe" combat mechanics.
  • Confusing combat interface.

Nantucket is available now on Steam for $17.99.

See on Steam

This review was conducted on a PC, using a copy provided by the publisher.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.