“Life is a sea of vibrant color. Jump in.” – A.D. Posey
Submerged: Hidden Depths is a stand-alone sequel to the award-winning Submerged which was released in 2015. This colourful new adventure game follows a brother and sister as they explore the ruins of a sunken city and does not require knowledge of the original game in order to enjoy it.
Developer: Uppercut Games
Released: 10th March 2022
Price: £23.79 – £24.99
Engine: Unreal Engine 4
Platforms: Windows, Stadia, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Available on: Steam, EGS, Playstation, Microsoft, Stadia Source
Submerged: Hidden Depths follows a brother and sister as they navigate the remnants of a drowned city after losing their family. The city is afflicted by a terrible blight known as the Mass that coils its black oily tentacles around the buildings and structures. It soon becomes apparent that the sister has a special gift and can use specific seeds to heal an area from the Mass.
The narrative encompasses both the history of the siblings as well as the history of the city and the origin of the Mass. The story is drip-fed to the player as they progress and explore and is delivered using a variety of methods, ranging from being revealed via collectables, very short cutscenes and small pieces of dialogue.
The main activity in Submerged: Hidden Depths is taking the boat to the ocean and exploring the fragments of civilisation, afflicted by the blight and filled with ghost-like remnants of the people who once lived there. The game alternates which character is being controlled, allowing the player to take on the roles of both the brother and the sister. However, only the sister has a gift and by finding seeds, she is able to cure specific areas which can then be used to fast travel. Overall, the game has quite an open world feel in that players can explore different areas at their own discretion, the individual zones have a more linear setup.
The controls are simple and mostly consists of directional controls. Sprinting is automatic with walking being an assigned control (shift key on keyboard and mouse), additionally jumping happens automatically during any platformer type sections and only needs to be done manually when shimmying along ledges or climbing plants.
There are plenty of collectables in the game to incentivise thorough exploration, these include different flowers relics, landmarks, diaries, upgrades and seeds. Discovering certain items can reveal elements of the narrative or provide customisation options. Collectables can be viewed via an in-game journal but some can also be put on display at The Dome, the first healed area and the players main hub. There is also a telescope that can be used to discover nearby items and points of interest.
Submerged: Hidden Depths has a vibrant and colourful 3D art style depicting the watery ruins of a once-thriving city. The mix of modern architecture, the dilapidated state of the remains overtaken by nature and the darkness of the Mass all make for a lot of visual variety and interest. Additionally, changes in the time of day and weather types really help to bring the world to life and increase immersion. Even on low/medium graphics setting the environment is gorgeous and the lighting effects on the water are particularly stunning.
The soundtrack is emotive and powerful and matches the quality of the visuals with its mesmerising strings, piano and eerie vocals. There is voice acting in the game but despite store pages stating there is full English audio, the dialogue is delivered in an unknown language with subtitles that flash up just a little too briefly.
Submerged: Hidden Depths is a wonderfully immersive and relaxing experience that strikes a nice balance between allowing players to roam freely while still providing some rails to aid progression. There is no shortage of things to collect and do and the vibrant and varying environment is a joy to explore. The narrative is perhaps a little lacking but this does not detract from the enjoyment too much. There is a lot on offer here and I heartily recommend this game to anyone looking for an exploratory adventure game that doesn’t demand too much!
For more fun adventure games take a look at the following reviews:
Growbot – A Puzzling New Biopunk Adventure! – Lost in Random: Try Your Luck in this Exciting New Action-Adventure! – Mutropolis: Brand New Archaeological Adventure set in the Year 5000!