Submerged: Hidden Depths preview (PC)

If you’re looking for a game that was the very definition of a relaxing experience, then Submerged: Hidden Depths could well be the game you’re looking for.

Coming from Australia-based development studio Uppercut Games, Hidden Depths has players guide a young woman, Miku, as she explores the ruins of a flooded city, having to heal the city from a black vine-like substance called The Mass. Joining her in her journey is her brother, Taku.

Hidden Depths is a sequel, I guess, to Uppercut’s game Submerged from 2015 and I’m able to tell you about my first hour with latest game. I did play Submerged so can report that Hidden Depths is as just a chill game as its predecessor. It’s bright and colourful, has a nice, relaxing soundtrack and it’s a rather pleasant experience putting along in your little boat, just taking a look.

Submerged: Hidden Depths of relaxing exploration.

It’s actually refreshing to play a game where there is no pressure to race against the clock as you complete a task, there are no enemies to clear out when you explore a building, there are no mid-game bosses to impede your progress. As the girl explores, she finds “spirits” of the city’s former inhabitants. Frozen how they were when The Mass appeared. By finding magical glowing orbs and planting them in the heart of The Mass at each location, Miku can reverse the evil entity’s presence (although it still stays there but just turns green, like a healthy plant).

With Submerged: Hidden Depths you jump into your boat, use your telescope to look for interesting locations and head out. As you sail the seven seas, so to speak, you’ll discover upgrades for your boat, treasures hidden under the waves, landmarks, and wonderous sea and land creatures, such as whales and lizards. Miku will climb buildings to plant the seed and the game automatically jumps and climbs for her (you just need to push the left stick forward in the direction you want to go and the game does the rest). Personally, I’d rather press a button to jump or climb than have the game do it for me.

No fail state, no pressure… no urgency?

Calmness and relaxing vibes aside, though, Submerged: Hidden Depths does run the real risk of becoming tedious, given players don’t have to worry about dying, being eaten by a giant creature or falling from a great height (the game won’t actually let Miku walk off the end of a platform either). Gamers who get bored easily will struggle with Hidden Depth’s “no fail state, no pressure, just explore” style game play. I also wasn’t really clear as to what danger The Mass is really causing to the world as it doesn’t react to Miku at all when she is near it.

Visually, Hidden Depths looks nice, with a vibrant colour palate, but it’s not going to blow you away with its visuals. It’s difficult, too, to convey how Submerged: Hidden Depths story concludes as I’m only able to share the first hour of game play.

Submerged: Hidden Depths will appeal to a certain type of gamer: Someone who loves games with no combat, no fail state and no pressure.

If that sounds like a bit of you, keep an eye out for it when it releases in March.