‘Underneath the Waves’ is a tragic however stress-free oceanic journey

Written by Jeff Lampkin

Parallel Studio’s Underneath the Waves is a soothing sport. Between the cheers and jeers from Crash Workforce Rumble gamers (presumably workers) close by, I used to be diving. Diving deeper and deeper into the inky blue, chasing a jettisoned transport container because it bounced off rocks, spilling smooth toys and revealing a mysteriously deserted submarine hidden deeper nonetheless. Whereas I may need been relaxed, I used to be a little bit unsettled.

First introduced finally 12 months’s Gamescom, in Underneath the Waves you play as Stan. And he doesn’t appear to be in a very good place. My demo began on the third day of his placement at an underwater residing pod, however I do know (from the sport’s synopsis) that he’s down there fairly actually to get away from all of it. He seems to be grieving the lack of his daughter, however it’s solely frivolously touched on throughout these opening components of the sport. Stan appears unsettled and twitchy in mattress (and facially twitchy generally – hopefully, his face will calm down with extra time in growth).

At the beginning of the demo, Stan wakes with a piercing headache and picks up a name from what I assume is an offshore coworker known as Tim. He reveals that the residing pod’s oxygen combine is out of whack, doubtless explaining the sore head. Tim even added {that a} earlier employee didn’t flag his complications, and by the point the remainder of the dive workforce, the employee had began hallucinating. (And naturally, Stan will get his personal hallucination moments very quickly after.

Under The Waves

Quantic Goals

Whilst you’re capable of stroll round your oxygenated residing quarters, many of the sport is spent within the ocean, both diving with a restricted quantity of oxygen (which could be replenished utilizing oxygen sticks) or whereas steering your individual deep-sea car, which might cowl floor faster and assist preserve oxygen.

In a nod to the fact of ocean waste, spent oxygen sticks will float the place you permit them. These could be collected and transformed into plastic. All through the sport there can be machines and crafting blueprints so that you’ll have the ability to make your individual gadgets (like extra oxygen sticks) from plastic, steel and different supplies discovered floating or left on the ocean flooring. (Parallel Studio have partnered with Surfrider Basis Europe to help its ocean preservation goals.)

Whereas the ocean flooring is engaging and attention-grabbing, the man-made options have a retro-futuristic design, like an alternate future that’s… prior to now. Like Prey or the newer Deathloop, the anachronistic mixture, one way or the other works.

Stan is supplied with a scanner, making it infinitely simpler to decode directions from Tim and different targets. You’ll nonetheless have to concentrate although, a little bit like Firewatch. When Stan heads out to repair the oxygen points, you’ll should hint the route of a number of pipes, noting the damaged ones based mostly on their pink bulbs. The scanner doesn’t merely do all the things, however it does make sure you’re at the least headed in the precise path.

In plenty of methods, whether or not it’s the story but to be revealed or the uneasy stress that’s touched on recurrently, it jogs my memory of Firewatch, even when it’s all set undersea. Whereas that is developed by Parallel Studio, it’ll be revealed Quantic Dream’s new Highlight arm, targeted on new developer IP. Quantic Dream has created a number of video games, together with Heavy Rain and Detroit: Change into Human, which positioned an enormous deal with narrative and storytelling. For developer Parallel Studios, it appears a very good match.

Underneath the Waves launches on August twenty ninth, 2023.

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About the author

Jeff Lampkin

Jeff Lampkin was the first writer to have joined He has since then inculcated very effective writing and reviewing culture at GamePolar which rivals have found impossible to imitate. His approach has been to work on the basics while the whole world was focusing on the superstructures.