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Submerged: Hidden Depths Review

Set in a breathtaking city gripped by a dark mystery, Submerged: Hidden Depths is an adventure exploration game that sees players climb the ruins of lost skyscrapers to uncover the tale of the sunken city. Protagonists Miku and Taku have their own history with the darkness and whilst one wants to use it for good, the other fears it will tear them apart.

A beautiful exploration game with zero danger to worry about

What’s that? You want a game where you can explore a ruined world covered in water where you don’t have to worry about dying? Where you can casually play it and pick it up any time without having to remember the controls? Sounds like you’re after Submerged: Hidden Depths.

The Game

Submerged: Hidden Depths is a beautiful looking game, that has some flaws. Thankfully they’re quite limited, although one does cause some annoyance. Before we get to that though we need to talk about all the good in the game.

The game is designed to be relaxing. There’s no danger of death. Nothing to really worry about. You just explore and help save the roots from their darkness. There are a few bits that I’d like to change, like the ability to jump on your own. It’s not a dealbreaker though, but as it is, it feels like a little bit of control removed from you. Even if you couldn’t jump off a building and you were still confined to the walkable area, being able to jump on your own would be a nice additional bit of control. The lack of mechanics is disappointing but certainly not a problem.

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You have the most control of the game when you’re on your boat. WIth your boat, you can go practically anywhere, and with the use of your monocular, you can see points of interest and find your next area to explore/heal. You can level up your boat so that it can speed along a bit faster for a period of time, but that’s about it.

Exploring the areas can provide a few challenges, although nothing too taxing. It’s a relaxing game after all. Each area has its differences that make them unique and I particularly liked one where you picked up one or two items, then had to get back into your boat to pull open a doorway in order to further explore on foot. It was a nice change-up from the previous area explored.

Although there is a story that is told in Submerged: Hidden Depths, it’s done so at a gradual, relaxed pace which is in keeping with the theme of the game. The campaign is advanced by hunting down the seeds which are scattered around the world and are then dropped into the dying roots in order to regenerate whole areas.

Now, the little annoyance. If you drop the orb into the roots to save the plant and then you’re transported back to your base. It drives me mad. It’s fine if you’ve collected all of the items from that area, but when you haven’t, you then have to travel all the way back to that area afterwards to go get them. For the story aspect to continue, you need to be back at your base, so I get the logic. But you have to get back in your boat to go anywhere, so it would be a lot better to let you fully explore the area and then transport you back to your base once you’ve gotten back into your boat. It’s a small thing though.

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Look & Sound

A lot of design work has gone into every aspect. The world that has been created is hauntingly good. It’s a submerged world in ruins. It shouldn’t look as good as it does. The animal designs are stunning and inventive and the buildings look amazing. There’s a load of lovely little touches as well, particularly when you hold one of the orbs and flowers bloom in your footsteps.

It’s not perfect though. There are times when on your boat that you see water pass through the actual boat, almost like the boat isn’t a solid item. It’s not something that I’ve seen for a long time in a game. It’s not all the time, but it happens often enough and you can’t help but notice it.

The music is relaxing enough and the voice work is good. It’s a story-driven game so you’d have hoped that the voicework was at least good.

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Length & Replayability

For Steam, there are 14 achievements. These shouldn’t be too difficult to get and realistically you can complete the game in a fairly short time frame. After two hours, I’d restored half the areas, although I didn’t have all the items in some. But that comes back to my gripe with the game, as I would have got them if I wasn’t transported back to the base the moment I dropped the seed into the roots. At least let me get back to the boat before you do that. But anyway, we’ve covered that already.

With so few achievements, it’s very doable. So replayability is added because of this. It’s achievable, so you want to get them all. It shouldn’t take most people more than five hours to complete though.

Conclusions

Submerged: Hidden Depths is a chillout experience about exploration with a slight story and sadly not much else. Honestly, though, I’m kind of okay with that. Sure, it doesn’t make it the best or most memorable experience, but it’s something different. It allowed me to pass the time and enjoy a beautiful looking game with zero stress, which is the point of the game. So in that regard, it does its job. It’s nailed its core goal. There are a few problems, but for the most part, it’s fine. And I think “fine” is about where the game is at. There’s nothing boring, but there’s also nothing exciting. And sometimes, that’s all you need.

I score Submerged: Hidden Depths a 6/10.

A code was kindly provided for us to review this.

We Score This Game

rating score: 6

Good!

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