Recently released by Uppercut Games, Submerged tells the story of Miku, a girl who’s younger brother is badly hurt. Located in a city that has been flooded and decayed, you must scale skyscrapers to find the supplies needed to heal him.
The man objective of the game is simple enough: there are 12 red parachutes on buildings containing supplies, and Miku must collect them all. Once you’ve spotted one, Miku docks her boat and begins her ascension. Climbing mechanics are about as simple as you’re going to get; simply shuffling left and right will get you around obstacles, and once you find your supply crate, it’s right back to the boat.
To maneuver throughout the city, you are outfitted with a boat, and given no other tools other than the ability to scale buildings. Controlling the boat is fairly easy to control, although turning it can sometimes be a bit of a problem. To upgrade the boat (really just the boost), you can find other wrecked ships and scavenge their parts.
The world that you find yourself in is almost as mysterious as the story itself. Not much is told to you about the world, but what’s easy to see is that everything is flooded and there are tons of aquatic wildlife surrounding it. Throughout the game, you can often find yourself sailing along next to dolphins, or perhaps even catch glimpses of larger life on the outskirts of the city. With a dynamic weather system built in, it’s very easy to just spend some time drifting about and watching the clouds roll in.
When I first started playing Submerged, I was instantly reminded of Team Ico, and how they often go about creating games; instead of focusing on extreme gameplay, the game allowed you to explore your surroundings and allow the player to just lounge about and piece together the story as they go along. Much like other Team Ico games, the real fun in Submerged isn’t in getting to the end of the game, it’s just playing it. The world that Submerged finds itself in is full of beauty and mystery, and simply rushing to the end would only rob the player of a much larger experience.
Each building in the game almost has its own story, and as you sail about the world, it’s hard to feel captivated by beauty around you. While the game may not be too long (an entire playthrough only took about three hours, and I almost 100%’d the whole thing), it doesn’t have to be to get it’s point across. As you go about finding supplies for your brother, the game begins to piece itself together for you, and you can start to learn about what happened to both the world and your family.
Submerged may not be the biggest game coming out this year, or offer any type of epic narrative, but it never tries to be that. What it does offer, however, is a truly captivating story that can take you away to an ever-changing world for a couple of hours. I often found myself either climbing buildings to admire the view or aimlessly drifting along the sea, and in a world filled with games that constantly throw action in your face, it’s nice to have something that allows you to just relax. Submerged is exactly that, and more.
This review was based on a digital review copy of Submerged for the PlayStation 4 provided by Uppercut Games.