TITLE: Submerged: Hidden Depths
DEVELOPER: Uppercut Games Pty Ltd
PUBLISHER: Uppercut Games Pty Ltd
PLATFORM: Microsoft Windows
RELEASE DATE: March 9, 2022
There’s a wealth of post apocalyptic games that go out of their way to kill you so it’s nice to play one that doesn’t. Submerged: Hidden Depths is billed as a “non-combat third-person “relaxploration” adventure” and it delivers exactly that. The world is a colour rich environment of a sunken city and the remains of an old world now mostly underwater which finds our sibling heroes Miku and Taku making their way through the ruins looking for bits and pieces of lore, animals, and most of all the “seeds” that might bring salvation to an otherwise destroyed civilization. Submerged is primarily a story of two siblings, Miku who obtained mysterious powers from her contact with the “Mass”; which is a plant like growth that has wrapped itself around the left over buildings of the past, and her brother Taku who is just trying to take care of his sister and keep them together. The general goal is to find and collect the “Seeds” at various locations and plant them to help heal the “Mass”.
The general gameplay is fairly straight forward as you make your way to various mostly submerged buildings. You’ll sail, climb, and zipline your way to collect the seed and various other collectables to unlock some backstory, progress the story or find other elements of the world. Exploration is key to find some of the more hidden paths that lead to cosmetic pieces that unlock ship or clothing cosmetics as well as finding collectible flowers or encounter some of the animals that are still around. The remnants of past technology are seen everywhere as you climb, jump, or take elevators upwards and onwards to find the “Seeds”.
Taking the seeds and planting them in their appropriate place will help heal the mass and progress the story forward. The nice open world aspect and fast travel unlockables make it easier to return to places where you might have missed a book, or unlockable piece. Yet even in this colourful environment there are reminders everywhere that an apocalypse took place, from the sunken city, the decaying runs overrun with plant-life or the human like plant echoes of people who once lived or survived only to be consumed and left their nuclear like shadows made of plants.
It’s a beautiful example of indie games that leverage story telling and a familiar situation in a different way. The music is often soft and understated as you progress while it can also ramp up with events that take place over the course of the game. Eventually as you get to other areas you’ll find some extra interaction using your boat to tow or pull down elements to help you progress in your journey but none of these are especially puzzling and just add to the experience. There is a story to be found and a relaxing trip to take without the urgency of things trying to end you. Though I will admit I missed some of the collectables in some of the areas that I’ll end up going back for as I wrap up my own playthrough, but for the purposes of this review I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve put in so far. If you’re looking for a break from the usual open world exploration types I would certainly recommend Submerged: Hidden Depths as one to take a look at. There’s a welcome amount of depth to be found wrapped in some easy gameplay and a wonderfully crafted world. Also there are whales.
You can check the first 3 hours of my playthrough over on our Youtube channel below if you want a closer look at the game.