Submerged: Hidden Depths
Submerged: Hidden Depths is one of those relaxing games that require no effort and no skill. You control a couple of unreasonably athletic teens in a future time in which the world is covered in water and strangled by a huge vine-like plant. The two youngsters travel on a boat, retrieving and returning the plant's seeds so that it won't be angry and discovering on the way relics of Earth's past and journals that explain what went on. Each stage is almost linear, easy to go through, devoid of danger and marked in multiple ways so that you don't have to think your way out of anything. In other world, it's a visual feast of a fantasy world in which you just discover stuff.
At first attracted by the concept, since I usually enjoy the story, exploration and discovery part of RPGs much more than the fights, I got bored rather quickly. It's the same thing again and again, even if "the world" is practically a small sandbox. I liked the design, although the graphics are really simplistic. The occasional proto language words they use are fun and the soundscape puts you in the mood.
What turned me off a bit is that occasionally the video card would throw an error and I would have to forcefully close the game and start it again. Also, there are ways to skip the animations, which is good, but it skips the good parts as well. There is one of the most satisfying activities around: finding relics, where the repetitive animation of the boy throwing an anchor and pulling it back gets rather old, but the "strange things" they recover, like typewriters and sextants and so on, it's new every time. And of course when you skip the animation you skip the entire thing, not just the repetitive part. Such a small thing to think about and fix and they wouldn't do it.
Every time you save a seed there is a storyline that gets advanced and at one time I saw a large black vine hand coming out of the water. I said "We're gonna need a bigger boat!" so I collected all boat upgrades first and stopped saving seeds until I understand the journals, but the upgrades just add extra boost to the boat and the journals are mostly in the seed parts, so not something particularly satisfying. I am going to continue to play it to the end, because sometimes I just feel to turn my brain off, but other than that it feels more like a demo than a full game.
Playing hint: if you don't like the weather (fog, rain, whatever) you can just save and return to the menu then continue the game and it starts from a sunny mode again. Same if you get stuck in the map and can't move.
In the end I've completed the game. The ending was quite underwhelming.
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