Should I be excited about… Under The Ocean
Under The Ocean is a lonely game. As the lone survivor of a shipwreck you are tasked with surviving long enough to build shelter and eventually build a raft to get off the island. This is all done on a 2D plane where you have the ability to run back and forth, jump up and gather materials and ultimately exercise your survival instincts. As a genre, it’s hard not to lump Under the Ocean into the same category as sandbox games like Terraria or Minecraft. Even though it shares obvious similarities there’s a certain bleakness evident in the game that makes the experience less of a ‘do whatever you want’ and more of a ‘you have to survive and overcome’.
Did that last paragraph put you off? I hope not, because there’s a huge amount of potential in this game. That depressing feeling of loneliness in the game? The beautiful art and harmonic music turn it into an incredibly relaxing experience. That not-quite-sandbox niche it seems to fit into? The inherent crafting system in the game means that, whilst you can’t properly affect the scenery around you, you can create as many structures and contraptions as your imagination allows (And that number will surely rise as the game leaves Alpha).
Let’s talk about crafting for a minute now. The crafting system in Under the Ocean actually splits the game in two – an active mode (which we’ll call exploration) and a passive mode, which houses the crafting system entirely. In the exploration mode you are free to run about, collect objects and interact with the scenery and wildlife in whatever ways you wish. In the crafting mode however, time stops. Everything freezes as you are presented with a new screen, a screen that invites you to play with the objects you have found – twisting and turning them and forcing into or onto other objects in your possession. All in all it proves to be a rather fun system that rewards you for simply trying things out.
The dangers presented to you in Under the Ocean come in the form of local wildlife (And your own clumsiness if you’re not careful). The wildlife here form a simple kind of food chain, in which you must find your own place – while the likes of the fish and chickens will be easy to overwhelm (and ultimately eat), the crabs and boars are generally aggressive and will try to kill you without much provocation. These aggressive critters, and even the passive ones, give rise to the many varied contraptions you are able to create – either to hunt them down for food or to trap them to stop them killing you.
As mentioned earlier, the art and audio for Under the Ocean are incredible. The gradual change from day to night and back again are displayed in such a beautiful array of colours I often found myself sitting back just to watch the environment change from the bright blue filled skies of high day, to the gorgeous deep golden evening. I even loved the pitch black night sky that accentuates your loneliness and really lets the environmental light shine through. The audio backs this beauty up with a touching arrangement of strings and piano that harmonizes perfectly with the art to create a beautiful peaceful experience that you could honestly just sit and take in for hours.
The one word of caution I can offer if you are considering buying into the Alpha version of Under the Ocean is that currently there is a game breaking bug (or at least it was for me) that seems to cause items in your inventory to get stuck and unable to be selected or picked up in any way. This causes no end of problems and frustration as it can also transfer across to items within the scene leaving you unable to affect objects and thus able to do very little. (This is most evident in my first attempt to build a house – I was unable to pick up a single log, so I gave up and decided to hide under a pile of them.)
If you’re a fan of survival games then you should be looking forward to this. If you are looking for an intensely relaxing experience then you should give this game a try. If you always wanted to see what it was like being a washed up survivor all on your own you’d get a lot out of this game. If, however, you are an adrenaline junkie who only gets their kicks out of high fueled shooters or action games you should probably stay clear. So… in most cases yes you should be getting excited about Under the Ocean.Should I be excited about... Under The Ocean,