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Submerged review - does it sink or swim?


For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me

Product: Submerged | Developer: Uppercut Games | Format: iPad | Genre: Adventure | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Submerged is a fairly classic third-person exploration game set in a water-logged dystopian future. Originally built for console and PC, it found its way to iOS this week on its little boat floating on hopes and dreams.

Playing as a young girl in this global warming nightmare, we have to explore the city around us and, as he's suffering from a deep wound, attempt to keep our younger brother alive.

Believe me when I say that I wanted to like this game – no – I wanted to LOVE this game, from the exploratory nature to the detailed environmental design, everything about it looks like it's going to be great.

If you can't tell already, there's a big 'but' coming.

My Bonnie lies over the ocean

The idea of the game is that you end up taking refuge in an old clock tower, sheltering your dying brother in its walls, before venturing out into the city on your little motor boat to try and find supply crates. These crates hold things like a lighter, water, and first-aid.

But once you've done one of these trips, you've done them all.



It's hard to ignore how pretty the visuals are, especially its use of lighting, but the controls are so skin-clawingly frustrating that I spent the majority of my time pawing the screen. Not only is its look sensitivity inconsistent at the best of times, the use of finger swiping to climb is utterly temperamental.

Usually after the use of some atrocious language, I eventually climbed up to the next ledge only to rinse and repeat the process.

My Bonnie lies over the sea

When you bring something meant for console/PC onto mobile, the port is always going to be a little finicky. But on top of requiring top-devices to feed this battery-vampire of a game its one-touch nature really just makes it play like a broken record. Tap once to go; tap once to stop.



Where the story falls flat is in its lack of antagonist, or any kind of danger, really. The mer-people popping up around the place were disappointingly placid, leaving me to my own until it came to the big climax. Exploration games are brilliant but even in Journey we had some kind of threat.

Overall, Submerged is a game that stood out from the pack like a perfectly decorated cake in a bakery. Only once you take a bite it's dry, flavourless, and dense enough to kill a duck.
 
Submerged review - does it sink or swim?
Reviewer photo
Emily Sowden | 7 September 2016
Submerged is an exploration game that had great potential, if only its story and controls lived up to the visuals' promise
 
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