The sun is rising, the ocean waves are crashing together around buildings in a flooded city, but it’s not Venice. Mystery surrounds this isolated location and its origins as two youngsters float by in their boat, a boy and a girl. Who are they? Where are they? The only thing we really do know, this is… Submerged.
Developed by Uppercut Games, Submerged is a third person exploration game, free of having to cause harm to anything or anyone. Centred on a brother and sister, Taku and Mika, your role is to guide Mika around this desolated city to find supplies to help save a wounded Taku. This city is your oyster; go where you want, whenever you want, to get what you need to get Taku off his deathbed. There’s no one here to help or hinder. Or maybe there is!
Equipped with just the boat they drifted in on and Mika’s incredible climbing skills that Lara Croft would be proud of, it’s time to get to the nearest building and begin scaling it. The majority of Submerged will see you guiding a boat around the city to find buildings that may be hiding the supplies that you need. In total there are ten supply crates to find throughout and these will bring Taku a step closer to being healthy whilst also giving you a back story for the siblings, but not in any normal fashion.
In fact, basically anything you do learn about their origins, the secrets of this now flooded city and the creatures that inhabit it, will all come from simple drawings. For example the first you’ll see are child-like drawings of a family, where it makes it obvious these are siblings. It’s a cool way to tell a story because in effect it’s down to the player as to how they read into things and put it all together. I’ll be honest though, when it came to a few of the artistic impressions I couldn’t work out what was going on.
A large portion of Submerged involves Mika climbing her way towards secrets of the city or those highly coveted supplies. I wasn’t entirely convinced about how good this part actually was; sure she can jump across tiny ledges and ascend ladders with ease, there just came a point where the climbable parts weren’t visible enough on the buildings. This turned it into guesswork on occasion. Uppercut Games also added in various ways to venture that basically lead nowhere, but I didn’t mind that so much as it made you forward plan and think about the direction you need to go for your objective.
The city itself presents a vast world to travel around and despite Taku being wounded, there’s really no rush to do anything at all. Relaxing in the boat, taking in all the pretty sights during the daytime, from the highest points, with mouldy looking whales doing flips every so often, it’s peaceful. By night they deserve credit for turning the eerie meter up real high, and it feels like someone’s watching you at all times, very creepy.
There isn’t an awful lot more to do apart from scour the ocean for other boats, that when found, work as a speed boost upgrade for your own. It’s the search for these and the secret clues of the city which can almost double the overall play time.
My inquisitive nature is allowed to thrive in a world that’s well crafted and opened up to encourage discovery. Sadly the main objectives of the game can be completed in no time, with traversing from important building to important building sometimes taking as long as searching for the supplies themselves. With exception to the unclear climbing apparatus, it’s very easy to navigate your way up a building as a child, making this a simple and relatively quick game to finish the core objectives; it took me about ninety minutes. It’s pleasant to take time to appreciate the surroundings but the derelict building novelty soon wears off, no matter how big or small they are.
Submerged works best as a relaxation tool due to its laid back attitude on doing things but as a game it doesn’t offer enough of a natural challenge or even enough to actually do. This is one to pick up when it submerges itself into a sale.