Submerged: Hidden Depths is quite possibly my game of the year for 2022. Yup, I said it. This puzzle game meets walking simulator is gorgeous and has a story that not only draws you in but stays with you.
Title: Submerged: Hidden Depths
Release Date: March 10, 2022
Number of Players: 1
Time to Play: 8 hours
Availability: Steam, Epic, Playstation, Xbox, Stadia
Recommended for fans of: Submerged, puzzle games, artistic games, collecting games, walking simulators
Geek to Geek Media was provided with a review copy of this title
What’s The Story
Submerged: Hidden Depths is actually a sequel to the game Submerged. I didn’t know this until I’d already beat Hidden Depths so don’t worry if you haven’t played the original. However, I now want to go back and play it now. Not just because this game is amazing and I want more… but I also am curious now about how the story connects.
In Hidden Depths, you play as siblings who are trying to survive while also making the world a better place. The girl, Miku, has a curse. While this curse caused them to become outcasts from the world of men, it also provides her with a beautiful power. You see, their world has been taken over by “the black plant” which destroys all it comes in contact with. This plant killed everyone…until Miku. It left in its wake “remnants” of the living creatures it consumed. Remnants of people and animals alike are scattered throughout the world.
While I won’t spoil the story (it is really interesting to watch it unfold through diary entries!), Miku’s gift allows her to spread light and peace again. It seems to calm the black plant and make the remnants sing.
So, Miku and her brother, Taku, travel around and Miku aids the black plant in finding peace by rescuing seeds that the humans had stolen and which were used to harness energy from. By returning these seeds to the plant, flowers can once again bloom and the darkness becomes light.
What the Gameplay Feels Like
Submerged: Hidden Depths is a third-person exploration game with puzzles. It has some walking simulator feel to it, and some Zelda temple puzzle feels to it. Most of all, it is relaxing. The music, the graphics, the speed that it moves…everything is peaceful and calming. The creators of this game did not cut corners anywhere, there are things to see and do everywhere you can go. Even out on the open sea, there are so many things to find and collect. Upgrades for your ship, relics to use in creating a bit of a museum at your home base, creatures to catalog, these are all over the world. For completionists, finding all of these collectibles adds another element of fun to the game.
Additionally, throughout the world, you can find diaries that are used to help you uncover more of the story of what happened to the people who used to live here. Seeking out all these diary entries is a fun challenge, which thankfully wasn’t too frustrating to do, and helps you be more immersed in the land.
When on an island that does not have a seed that needs Miku’s powers, Taku takes over to do the work. It is fun to be able to play as both siblings, and also can give you a hint of what to expect on the island when you get out of the boat.
Climbing, jumping, sailing, walking…so many fun mechanics in this game as you crawl all over the ruins left behind by the black plant.
What I liked
As I’ve mentioned, this game is beautiful. Not just in its graphics either. The music, the pacing, the story, it is all beautiful. This game has just the right combination of puzzles and beauty for me. I could go on and on…but really, you should just play it and see for yourself.
I love finding collectibles in games. That aspect mixed into the puzzles of the levels made me thoroughly enjoy every minute in this game. Especially as some of the collectibles allowed you to change Miku’s hair or outfit. While a silly side thing, I loved the different options provided.
What I didn’t like
The only thing I wish for to make this game a tiny bit better would be a guide for finding all the creatures somehow. I have completed every single achievement except that I am missing one ocean creature and I cannot find that thing at all!