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Submerged: Hidden Depths Preview

Submerged: Hidden Depths Preview

Submerged: Hidden Depths is a game that boasts a “relaxploration” style of adventure; whilst I’m not a fan of mashing two adjectives together, the words relaxing and exploration certainly fit this game perfectly.

The developers over at Uppercut Games have given us a taste of what to expect in the full PlayStation 5 release of Submerged: Hidden Depths, giving us the first hour of the game to experience. The sequel to 2015s Submerged was initially a Stadia exclusive, but now console and Steam players have the chance to experience this peaceful, vibrant adventure.

Our journey begins seemingly soon after the ending of the previous game (it’s worth noting that I have not yet played the first Submerged) with the two playable characters, Miku and Taku, trying to solve the mystery of a black plant known as The Mass that’s sprouted up all over the remnants of what little land is left in the flooded world. The Mass has absorbed all life and left hollow copies of the once living beings in its wake. Our heroine, Miku, was touched by The Mass, but instead of having her very essence absorbed, she inherited an ability that seems to be the antithesis of the deadly plant, allowing Miku to purify infected areas.

Snippets of the story are revealed as you progress through the game, with our two protagonists occasionally mentioning a past event that adds to the narrative. To speak more of the plot would be difficult; within the game’s opening hour there isn’t much exposition, although just by exploring the world the player can piece together what has happened and form their own story around that. It would be interesting to learn more, and as mentioned previously, not having played the first game may be a detriment to my understanding of the world in which Submerged: Hidden Depths is set in. For example, Miku often speaks of herself as being the reason that she and Taku are outcasts, but within the opening hour the game doesn’t explain where she was outcast from, or why.


Never has a ruined city looked so inviting!

The main premise of the game is to travel via boat to different ruined sections of the city in order to search for giant seeds that aid in removing The Mass from that particular area. Submerged: Hidden Depths is a combat-free videogame, focusing more on its light platforming elements and simple puzzles. After purifying the first area at the very beginning of the game, I hopped into the pair's small motorboat and was given a location on the map where I would find the next seed. During the short journey across the stretch of ocean, I noticed several things that really added to the immersion. Miku running her fingers through the water on occasion, or standing up at the bow of the boat when close to an area that needed to be explored on foot: small touches, but ones that give the characters more personality; all without uttering a word!

Disembarking on the second islet of debris and ruined buildings, I gained control of Miku, making my way upwards in the remnants of what seemed to be a library to reach my goal. There are no jump or climb buttons, the characters will automatically perform actions based on the direction of movement, and with no fail states or deaths, players of any ability will be able to enjoy the game. The controls are so accessible, in fact, that an option to play one-handed is available in the menu, letting you control where a character walks based on the direction the camera is facing. It’s a lovely addition that is very welcome in this age of increasing accessibility options within games.

Along the way, I found a treasure trove worth of collectables, some of which added to the story in small ways, others that allowed you to customise your boat or Miku herself. I wasn’t able to collect everything on the islands I explored, but from having a quick browse through the menu, these seem to be different sets of collectables that, upon finding them all within a single area, unlock a new costume or colour swap.


You'll find these mysterious entities all across the map. Creepy!

It’s instantly noticeable that Submerged: Hidden Depths is set in a post-apocalyptic world. What’s also noticeable is just how vibrant and lush this world looks. Sure the city you explore is completely flooded and devoid of life, but the flora found here — especially when an area is cleared of The Mass — really adds to the whole game's peaceful nature... Mostly. The human copies mentioned earlier are all hauntingly eerie; vines twisted together to create something so human-esque that they almost seem alive despite their stillness. In addition to this, the majority of them have their arms outstretched or are looking off in the distance as if trying to keep something approaching them away. It’s a portion of the story I hope will unravel throughout the rest of the game as the small teaser has left me intrigued.

Everything regarding the audio seems to blend with Submerged: Hidden Depths’ aesthetic perfectly. There was a constant feeling of serenity as I explored ruins or sailed the ocean, and the musical accompaniment of relaxing piano chords and string instruments plucking away meshed very well.

One stand out moment for me towards the end of my playtime was at the top of a tall set of ruins; the sun was setting (who doesn’t love a day and night cycle in a videogame?) and I could hear the ocean swirling against the rocks far below me as the tranquil music seemed to sync with the chirping of birds above. I looked out across the map and saw in the distance a wreckage of an ocean liner. It was quite an “oh wow!” moment; it looked so inviting, a colossal ship begging to be explored and full of potential treasures, but would it even be a playable area in the full game? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

Submerged: Hidden Depths is set for release “soon”, and will be available on PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store. The game is already available on Stadia.

Mike Crewe

Mike Crewe

Staff Writer

Bought a PS5 and won't stop talking about it

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Artura Dawn
Artura Dawn - 10:11pm, 17th February 2022

The graphics in this game look phenomenal, I can't imagine how it must look in an OLED display!