Submerged: Hidden Depths is an upcoming third-person puzzle game by Canberra-based developers Uppercut Games and is a stand-alone sequel to their original 2015 game Submerged. Uppercut also developed 2018’s City of Brass, and where that game features a hefty combat component, Submerged: Hidden Depths is the opposite with no combat at all. Described as a ‘relaxploration’ adventure, we will see sibling duo, Miku and Taku, uncover the mysteries of a sunken city in a vast and vibrant world. The game world is gorgeous with many screenshot moments as shards of light find their way through ruined structures and over the ocean, and the music score is divine which creates such a chill and calm gaming experience that I highly recommend you add to your wishlists.
If you haven’t played the original game Submerged, it’s about a journey of two characters in a world that has flooded with creatures frolicking both in the water and on land, and ruins that are overgrown. There’s a black darkness called The Mass that has stretched its tentacled presence across the ocean and winding up the ruined structures, sometimes blocking your path. The Mass kills anything it touches, and you’ll see humanoid figures frozen in time as they tried to run away from The Mass or were pointing at something. As you approach them, they sparkle with light and green growth, sometimes animating them slightly to point in a direction. As you exploring these different locations, you’ll come across an orb that promotes life as it passes by. Placing this orb into a floral recess will expel the darkness from that structure, replacing it with blooming flowers and creeping vines.
In each location are puzzles to solve, platforms to jump to, zip-lines to swing across and items to discover such as boat parts and journals. Collecting the journals will give you an insight into the story, as the characters speak in their own language. Subtitles reveal their translations, but the story advances as you clear these ruined areas, and you use a telescope to look further into the distance and mark locations on your map. You’ll also find towering lookouts that will give you a bird’s eye view of nearby surroundings to uncover more mysteries on your map to solve.
We were only permitted to preview the first hour of the game, but already I am hooked. Not only is the game a pleasure to play and not too challenging, with shiny hints to point you in the right direction. It’s more the ambient sounds of the water and nearby creatures making the world feel alive, as well as the fantastic music score by BAFTA-Award Winner Jeff Van Dyck that sees you easily chill, unwind and escape into Submerged: Hidden Depths after a busy day dealing with real life.
It’s been a breath of fresh air to play a puzzle exploration game that has no combat, and it’s up to you as to where you go next. Traversing the water by boat, you’ll come across relics and boat upgrades you can collect. But simply just cruising along the wavy ocean is a pleasure as you travel between locations. Often, I didn’t collect every item at a location, and the in-game map lets you know what you missed so you can go back there at another time.
For me, these collection games get me hooked and I usually want to collect every piece before moving onto the next location. However, in this game I am eager to see what else I can discover through the telescope and set off in a new direction to see more challenges. As such, I’m super keen to play beyond the first hour of this preview ahead of full release early next month.
Key features from the game include:
- Vast Outdoor Environments: Explore a rich, colourful and vibrant world.
- Relaxing Experience: Play at your own pace with the freedom to enjoy the beauty of Submerged: Hidden Depths.
- Discovery: Search for hidden objects to uncover the story, find upgrades for the boat and discover new creatures.
- Boating: Cruise through the striking city streets in the powered boat, spotting new areas for exploration.
- Puzzles: Climb, sail and use abandoned mechanisms to solve physics puzzles and reveal the city’s mystery.
- Expanded Player Tools: Fans of the prequel, Submerged, will enjoy further developed tools and puzzles as they progress through Submerged: Hidden Depths.
Written by: @ChrisJInglis