The Great Whale Road

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
The Great Whale Road Game Poster Image
Ocean-centric strategy game doesn't quite hit potential.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

If you make good decisions, village survives, its people drink toasts to your health.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players can choose a course of diplomacy or war. Even if diplomacy is chosen, there's likelihood of battle. 

Ease of Play

Combination of decision-making role-playing that's old-school, turn-based combat. One is easy to drive through, the other requires more thought. Screen, menu navigation are both intuitive, easy. 


Fights are turn-based; while there are slashing marks across screen, minor red marks to indicate hits, bloodshed, there's no gore,. Game characters shown carried off field of battle. 


Frequent use of "s--te."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References to villagers, crew getting drunk, passing out. Options where player (as village leader) orders up a feast, plays drinking games. Nothing actually seen.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Great Whale Road is a downloadable period-based adventure game that combines elements of role-playing and decision-making with turn-based combat that uses skill cards. There are words denoting feces and frequent references to drinking, getting drunk, and passing out. There are no difficulty levels, and the tutorial is pared down, leaving some areas (such as combat) not fully explained. The fundamentals of combat are easy enough, though, and players can get the hang of the game quickly enough. While some slashes are presented on-screen to indicate damage, there's no blood or gore shown, and characters are carried off when injured.

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What's it about?

THE GREAT WHALE ROAD offers a touch of role-playing with turn-based combat, tactics, and cards. The player is the leader of a small Danish village that has to contend with nature, disasters, keeping the village fed, developing strategies for community progression, and defeating foes that can pop up just about anywhere. The game is set around 650 AD and has just enough of a foundation in history to give it some flavor. As players move forward, developing their communities and accepting quests with the chance for more riches and community prosperity, the game throws random incidents in the path, requiring decisions to be made that could lead to a content or contentious community. 

Is it any good?

There's a lot of potential on this "road," but as it currently sits, this adventure is best for role-playing and strategy fans only. The Great Whale Road refers to the ocean that transports the main civilization on adventures, leading to trade, diplomacy, and combat. At first, gameplay seems a bit too simple: The tutorials -- particularly where combat is concerned -- seem a little sparse even if the control schemes are intuitive. But it's precisely the combat, which uses skill cards that can be played on certain turns, where the game starts to expand and prove to be challenging. Similarly, the text-driven storylines attempt to capture the era, but the story is simplistic and the text "incidents" can be repetitive. But hey, if the decision made worked the first time, why bother to change it?

How the player prepares his or her village, where the skill points are allocated (into farming, husbandry, hunting, warfare, diplomacy, traditions, or craftsmanship) really sets up the chances for success as the game progresses. Plus, this helps with the heroes you get to crew your ship, each with stats and skills that help out in combat. Again, battle is the game's strength, and it's only enhanced with its random cards that throw a necessary twist to the action. Overall, The Great Whale Road has a lot of potential, which is just slightly underused right now. There's still a lot of extra content being released for the game, and it could become very intriguing for players in the near future.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about decision-making in The Great Whale Road. How do you make decisions when playing a strategy game? Do you know how each choice made has consequences that may either be good or bad?

  • Discuss strategy. How does strategy help you plan tactics in this game, and how can these tactics be applied to situations in real life?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $14.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Sunburned Games
  • Release date: July 28, 2016
  • Genre: Role-Playing
  • Topics: Adventures, History
  • ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
  • Last updated: August 18, 2016

Our editors recommend

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