Hidden Deep — Deep sea mining, early impressions

The team over at Daedalic Entertainment and Cogwheel Software have been kind enough to allow us early access to Hidden Deep — a metroidvania adventure steeped in survival horror themes. With a demo out soon and the full game coming to PC via Steam in 2021.

Hidden Deep takes place in a remote, submerged, deep sea mining rig with the title screen depicting a small submarine transiting your crew to the facility. The eerie silence of the rig is pretty apparent and visually the style reminds me of an eighties scanline monitor, in an almost voyeur-like manner. Flickering lights and darkened areas playing on the paranoia angle that influences some of the story events that make Hidden Deep.

Clearly influenced by films like The Thing and horror games like Silent Hill, where survival is paramount but the paranoia of an enemy just out of sight is always present. That twitchy uncomfortable progression mechanic is rooted as one of Hidden Deep’s key strengths and supported by some intelligent use of both music and sound library built to drive tension.  

Objectives are delivered to your team via a crackly radio operator and although you may have the mission goal in sight it’s often not that simple as both health and materials are in short supply on the main path. Exploration is needed to gain an advantage with extra ammo or health but again the reward is generally defended by enemies, traps or puzzles.

Entering the Facility

Currently it’s all fingers and thumbs as it’s keyboard only with no gamepad support but expect that to change as it comes out of it’s alpha build. Even with gamepad support the controls and movement is a little reminiscent of a 2D transformation of PSX classic Resident Evil. Purposefully crafted to only allow a single action at a time it layers the pressure on when the enemies arrive.

A careful & cautious approach rewards players with success as the facility you explore is very, very dangerous with your team mostly being very soft and squishy with an added element of puppet like clumsiness from the physics engine and the player’s latency and delay in reacting to events.

It’s not just about keeping yourself alive either, in a great throwback to Interplay’s Super Nintendo gem  Lost Vikings, you’ll eventually find your team interacting to survive and solve a number of puzzles that block your path to freedom.

Not a graphical powerhouse but still clearly a well presented game that relies on its atmosphere and a Dark Souls like punishment level, Hidden Deep is one to watch. For those interested, there’s going to be a demo going live on Steam on February 3rd.

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