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Submerged: Hidden Depths Review

Shallow Depths

I said this in my initial preview, but Submerged: Hidden Depths feels like the perfect weekend game. That is, the kind of game that doesn’t ask for more than 4-5 hours of your time or a ton of engagement. A simple jaunt that won’t win any awards for innovation but gives players an adventure that’s gentle and full of nice art and audio. To that end, this pseudo-sequel to 2015’s Submerged does exactly what it needs to do to fit this use case.

This time around Miku and Taku, the same brother-sister duo from the first game, find themselves in yet another flooded city and attempting to make a home of it while driving out the ‘Black Plant’, an oozing mass that’s strangling the environment and has seemingly wiped out the city’s inhabitants. Using a mysterious power attached to her arm along with special seeds found throughout, Miku sets out to transform the Black Plant back into a natural, green state with her brother along for the ride.

Doing so sees the pair travel by boat to a series of landmark buildings and locales that have been mostly lost to the water, solving incredibly light environmental and traversal puzzles to locate each of the 10 seeds and bring peace to their new home. None of the main locations required for progress as well as the litany of smaller, optional areas will challenge players’ dexterity or grey matter –– it’s an almost entirely one-button affair with Miku and Taku automatically climbing and leaping as needed – but they’re still engaging enough to hold interest.

Also dotted around the game’s playable area are extra collectibles to uncover and upgrades to make the siblings’ boat perform better, adding a bit of incentive to go exploring but not much other value beyond completion. That said if you’re hankering for some basic open world gameplay and want something that you can see the back end of in the same day this might scratch that itch nicely. There’s a satisfying sense of progression attached to everything too, with your home base slowly filling with collected remnants of the old world and paintings depicting the area’s history.

The biggest victory here is a tangible sense of place afforded by some lovely visuals and thoughtful worldbuilding. Standing at the central hub and looking out across the flooded city with a telescope to figure out which landmark you’ll head to next is a great way to get a feel for the world, and it all looks great with strong art and decent tech. Everything feels appropriately large and rich with detail and there are some very cool moments as things ramp up towards the end.

As a game, Submerged: Hidden Depths is just fine, but it wins extra favour for being the best ‘just fine’ it can be. It won’t tear anyone away from the big games of the moment but it’s got enough charm and playability to make it a worthwhile palette cleanser between all the big-budget, grimdark stuff.

Final Thoughts

Submerged: Hidden Depths doesn’t necessarily do anything new or exciting in the space of contemplative, exploratory indies nor does it challenge players in any real way, but it’s still an enchanting adventure. It’s brisk, beautifully assembled and a massive improvement on its predecessor but if you like your puzzles cerebral or your reflexes tested you might find it all a little too passive.

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Reviewed on PlayStation 5 // Review code supplied by publisher

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Submerged: Hidden Depths Review
Nice day for a swim
With no timers, no combat and barely any challenge Submerged: Hidden Depths is a super chill if overly shallow adventure that makes a good palate cleanser between bigger titles.
The Good
Super chill non-violent gameplay
Nice-looking little world to explore
Doesn't outstay its welcome
A marked improvement on its predecessor
The Bad
Might be too simple for some
Doesn't have much to say narratively
6.5
Has A Crack
  • Uppercut Games
  • Uppercut Games
  • PS5/PS4/Xbox Series X|S/Xbox One/PC/Stadia
  • March 10, 2022

Submerged: Hidden Depths Review
Nice day for a swim
With no timers, no combat and barely any challenge Submerged: Hidden Depths is a super chill if overly shallow adventure that makes a good palate cleanser between bigger titles.
The Good
Super chill non-violent gameplay
Nice-looking little world to explore
Doesn’t outstay its welcome
A marked improvement on its predecessor
The Bad
Might be too simple for some
Doesn’t have much to say narratively
6.5
Has A Crack
Written By Kieron Verbrugge

Kieron's been gaming ever since he could first speak the words "Blast Processing" and hasn't lost his love for platformers and JRPGs since. A connoisseur of avant-garde indie experiences and underground cult classics, Kieron is a devout worshipper at the churches of Double Fine and Annapurna Interactive, to drop just a couple of names.

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