Cruise Ship Horse Racing (CSHR) is a wagering simulator billed as simulating pseudo horse races that were made by rolling dice and moving wooden horses. Apparently, this was a popular pastime on old cruise ships where voyages were not filled with swimming pools, discos, and theaters. CSHR is a very simple game with a busy presentation. There isn’t a lot of game to CSHR, it could be easily made by a high school student in a few hours, minus the pretty facade. The player starts with $100 and makes bets on horses by number, with payouts based on cumulative bets made by other hypothetical passengers on the voyage. If the player is repeatedly lucky calling the win, place, or show, the $100 could be parlayed up to some greater amount.
CSHR is played with the mouse and its only use is to click buttons for selecting the horse number, wager amount, win/place/show, start race, etc. There are no graphic options; the sound is only capable of being turned down or off. The music and all sound effects are tied together, so the music is always on if the sound is on. The music is a big band style sound, that goes with the theme, but is too loud by default. There isn’t any save game option; however, the game does appear to auto-save as starting the game resumes where the last game left off.
The layout or presentation of CSHR is not bad, but it is a bit confusing at first. There are only a couple of screens, but the main screen, which displays the odds and allows the player to make the bets, is oddly laid out. It is as if the developer wanted to use every bit of screen real estate possible, so it is very busy to look at. As far as actual game play, there is little to do. Make a bet, click ‘Run Race’ and watch the race. Fortunately, there is a speed up button during the race as it will get tedious to watch, it goes up to 2x speed. For some reason the developer decided to add a 0.5x speed option, slowing the already slow race to a crawl. A 10x speed would be a welcome option, and also making it persist so that it doesn’t have to be re-selected during every race.
CSHR will likely run on pretty much any PC made in the last 10 years or more, it doesn’t appear to have any bugs. The graphics look fairly well made, and the sound is reasonable. The problem with CSHR is that it’s a one race horse; there’s no there, there. It is unlikely that old cruise ships were running these races all day long, every day of the voyage, because it’s not all that fun to make bets until all of the money has been exhausted from the wallet. There is no way to win or beat this game, the iron law of statistics means the player will eventually lose everything in the wallet, no matter what strategy is employed. Even if the player were to have a long winning streak, there is nothing else to do other than make more bets. There is about $2 and 10 minutes worth of game in Cruise Ship Horse Racing; it is not recommended for more than that.