One of the reasons video games are so fascinating and engaging for me is because it is one of the most immersive forms of storytelling. People ingest most media – such as books, movies, or television – by being an observer, a bystander. In video games, you become part of the narrative being written. I connect with worlds and characters easily when I take an active role in storytelling. And Submerged: Hidden Depths might be one of the most immersive storytelling adventures I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
Submerged: Hidden Depths Trailer
Submerged: Hidden Depths is an adventure exploration game developed and published by independent developer Uppercut Games. It’s the sequel to the 2015 game Submerged. You take on the role of the sibling duo Miku and Taku who are lost at sea on their motorized boat. Chased from their home due to Miku’s strange powers, they come upon a sunken city lost to a mysterious “Black Plant”. Hoping to finally find a place to call home, Miku and Taku look to solve the mysteries of the city and appease this “Black Plant”.
As you dive further into the city ruins, you learn in order to satisfy the Black Plant you must find “seeds”. These seeds are the source of power monuments of old technology. Miku takes on the brunt of the action, as her powers are essential to interacting with the world and activating the seeds. Taku assists in driving the boat and taking on smaller locations where the seeds aren’t present.
The world you encounter is vast and colorful and mysterious. You can find exotic plants and various creatures populating the map, along with dredging up old artifacts from the water and landmarks of places long ago. Miku’s powers interact automatically with the world, adding more vibrancy to the screen.
Those looking for action and combat might want to skip this one. Submerged: Hidden Depths is not a video game for the active at heart. The game promotes and succeeds at creating a combat-free title. Its main goal is for the player to experience the world Uppercut Games created. The developers made a game that allowed you to journey at your own pace. But the game is not devoid of tension. Uppercut Games creates it by piquing the player’s curiosity for uncovering the mysteries throughout the adventure. Cleverly using visuals and sounds allow you to immerse yourself fully into the game, reveling in Miku and Taku’s journey.
I enjoyed the easy journey into the world created by Uppercut Games. However, I imagine it could grow dull for some players who want something more. The puzzles are rather easy to solve and didn’t slow my progress meaningfully. The enjoyment comes from rather mundane tasks. You can discover the diary entries that tell the story and catalog animals you see. And players collect flowers and relics to display in the base camp. It’s all about taking in the atmosphere. One of the more interesting features that allow this is their Postcard Mode which allows setting up your screen just right for pictures the flex Submerged’s incredible art.
BAFTA-award-winning composer Jeff van Dyck returns from the prequel with a score that conveys enigmatic tranquility for your playthrough. The audio draws you into the story and allows you to feel like you are in the game. You hear the ocean waves and listen to the soft sounds of the world falling asleep and waking up with the sun rising and setting. A light amount of voice acting adds to the on-screen captions during the cutscenes. This helps tell of the internal struggles Miku and Taku endure as they try to fix the world and fear they might be torn apart.
Submerged: Hidden Depths Screenshots
I thought Submerged: Hidden Depths was an awesome work of art. The world created was lively and exotic and I really appreciated the developers allowing me to investigate at my own pace. I couldn’t help but wonder if adding a sense of danger would’ve added to the game. The descriptions of ‘crumbling skyscrapers’ or ‘encountering creatures’ do little more than add a backdrop as opposed to being something for the players to interact with. Even so, none of this reduced my interest as the ‘relaxploration’ was something that brought peace to my mind as I played.
Submerged: Hidden Depths first launched for Stadia in December 2020. It will be available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam on March 10.