REVIEW: New release – Submerged

Playing Submerged I’m left wondering if something didn’t make the cut? Some part of the story or an element to the gameplay seems missing? That’s not to say that I didn’t find things that were truly excellent, sound in particular, but it’s a game that feels like it was taken out of the oven too soon.

I began the game and with no idea how or why the world had been “submerged” I was again, somehow, in a boat with a young boy whose been injured; again no exposition on how. I came upon the remnants of a city and found a spot to dock and set up camp.

Once finished, the entirety of the game, every and anything you’ll do begins. This young boy, who obviously is important to you, is in need of several things to survive and a series of fetch quests begin that all entail finding a certain object; food, water, medicine, bandages, to accomplish this task.

Platform traversal is the key component to the gameplay, climbing and shimmying onto and atop several buildings that all have a common item related to these tasks at the summit of your climb. Your given a telescope that you can use to spot the buildings that have these important items atop them; you’ll see an arrow indicating where to go as well as items that can upgrade your boat that may be floating in the water.submerged 3

Throughout the game this same scenario plays over and over again; you need an item, you climb a building to the top, find a crate, repeat. There are collectables scattered throughout the world that you can use to try to discern some more of the story but again only through pictorials.

What really stood out to me was the soundtrack. Amazingly simple yet hauntingly beautiful piano melodies stand out and really help to convey the emotional state of these two travellers. Graphically this is also one of the better looking “indie” titles, the lighting at times is breathtaking, especially at dusk and dawn, however there are some issues with frame rate that at times really distract you from becoming immersed in this world.

Strange inhabitants watch as you go about the tasks at hand and while they are unidentifiable due to some; again unexplained illness that seems to be a result of exposure to the world, you find yourself looking more and more similar in appearance to them as you continue to be exposed. Much of this games meaning and story are built around the idea of implication. What may or may not have happened is left up to you to decide and while that’s a novel approach there just isn’t that sense of urgency to want to find out due to the repetitive nature of the gameplay as well as just trying to decipher what the collectable pictorials truly mean.

Al in all I’d say that there are many things that are truly done well, again sound and certain graphical effects, and others that just feel disjointed. I am excited for what the studio behind this game has in store for us next though as the things that are right in this game are very right!


If you would like to hear more about Submerged and it’s development process tune in to the latest edition of the Developer Workshop podcast to hear from Ed Orman, the lead developer at Uppercut Games: