Submerged is the tale of Miku, a young girl struggling to tend to her wounded brother in a world that is all but submerged in water. The game opens with the pair arriving at a mysterious city with their small fishing boat and from there Miku sets out on a search for the supplies needed by her sibling. It is a game without enemies or combat and also without the risk of death or failure. Instead, you are free to explore the flooded streets by boat before clambering on to the half-submerged buildings and locating the needed supplies.
Submerged is viewed in third person and all the environments are set outdoors which is a nice change of pace. Instead of exploring the usual dark tunnels or caves favored by the genre the focus is purely on navigating your boat to points of interest and then scaling the sides of the towering buildings. A handy telescope allows you to spot far-off supplies, secrets or boat parts and these are then marked on your map. While this gives you a lot of freedom to simply explore and soak up the atmosphere, it also means that there isn’t a lot of variety in your objectives. Simply collecting all the required supplies makes for a very short experience, which is why we recommend seeking out all the secrets. The “secrets” are simply basic sketches that provide an overview of what happened to the gameworld, but piecing together the full story make it worth finding them all.
Despite the poor health of her brother, Miku doesn’t have any time limits to contend with, so you are free to explore at your own leisurely pace. The day and night cycle, as well as weather effects actually means it is very relaxing to just sail around aimlessly and check out the environments. Although there aren’t any enemies you’ll still encounter some wildlife, such as whales, dolphins, manta rays, birds and other aquatic creatures. Sailing around with a school of dolphins flanking your little boat and a giant whale breaching the water right in front of you is quite an experience, but unfortunately there are only a total of 8 different species in the game.
Submerged runs on the Unreal 4 engine and at times look downright beautiful. During certain times of the day, such as sunrise or sunset, the environments look absolutely magical, but can also look a little drab under certain light conditions. The water and lighting effects are top notch though, and there is even a “post-card” feature that allows you to capture those picture perfect moments while you explore.
Speaking of exploration, Submerged only features about ten large buildings that need to be scaled in order to collect the supplies and a couple of smaller ones where secrets are hidden. Climbing the ledges, pipes, ladders and vines that provide footholds is as easy as holding down the correct directional buttons. No extra buttons are required to jump or anything like that which makes things much easier than in other games like the Assassins Creed series. You cannot fall or die in the game either, which removes all of the tension that usually comes with scaling very high structures. Some players will love this as it keeps the game very relaxing while others will miss the challenge. All the paths and footholds to reach the supplies on top of the buildings are also marked quite clearly, so getting lost or stuck is not really an option.
One of our favorite parts of the game is the soundtrack, which features some beautiful tunes. Fans of piano driven tracks will love the musical score of Jeff Van Dyck as it adds to the tranquil atmosphere of the game. The game also features plenty of sound effects, such as the noises made by the sea creatures or the wind howling around you as you climb the higher buildings. The straightforward controls ensure that the game is just as playable using a controller as it is with a mouse and keyboard setup.
We really enjoyed our time with Submerged, but there is no doubt that players looking for a challenging title with varied objectives will be disappointed. Submerged is not the type of game that requires quick reflexes or puzzle solving skills to complete, which means those not in search of a relaxing experience could find it too repetitive. It is definitely a game where you want to take your time and explore everything as simply collecting all the supplies will leave you staring at the credits in no time. Anyone who enjoys slower paced and relaxing games, such as Dear Esther and Home is Where One Starts should definitely check out Submerged though.
- OS: Windows 7 64Bit
- Processor: Dual Core 2.0+ GHz
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: GeForce 9800GTX or ATI Radeon HD 4770
- DirectX: Version 10
- Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
- OS: Windows 7 64bit
- Processor: Intel i5 2.5 GHz
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics: GeForce GTX 760 or Equivalent card
- DirectX: Version 11
- Hard Drive: 3 GB available space