The big draw here is really the multiplayer component which allows you to take the fight into skirmish mode and pit your wits – as well as your ship building – against real opponents. It’s a welcome relief from the offline campaign which relies far too great an extent on “surprise” attacks and triggered events, making the re-playability value very low. In multiplayer though, the human opponents have an infinite scope to surprise and confound you by making unexpected strategic decisions or creating unusual ship designs.
Leviathan feels a bit limited in a number of ways. As mentioned, the single player mode is reasonably lacking in depth, which would be a major factor if it weren’t for the emphasis on the skirmish mode – in effect, the campaign here can be explained largely as an extended tutorial to get you ready for the multiplayer. However there’s a couple of other niggles, most significantly that the restricted number of different types of equipment makes a lot of the customisation options relatively meaningless. Whether the cannon is mounted here or there, a forward-facing cannon is a forward facing cannon, and with a relatively small number of different types of weaponry to choose from there’s not the same scope for diversification as seen in many other deck-building games like this. There’s an argument that because of this constraint of choice, the emphasis remains on competitive gameplay rather than the metagame of creating an unbeatable fleet, but I feel like maybe that balance has shifted too far.
Others have complained about a glitchy interface and not being able to issue orders correctly, but I have to say I didn’t experience that in the Windows version (with the exception of during the tutorial where it turns out most of the UI is disabled anyhow). Your mileage may vary of course.
On the whole, Paradox Interactive did a brilliant job of generating hype for a title that would probably have gone largely unnoticed otherwise. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the game – even the problems noted above are not that significant at the price point – but there’s also not a huge amount jaw dropping about it either. It’s a solid, enjoyable title but it isn’t going to a game played by many people (or potentially even remembered by them) in six months. If naval warfare and deck-building customisation is your thing, I’d suggest you consider picking it up.