Uppercut Games’ standalone sequel to Submerged — Submerged: Hidden Depths tells the story of the protagonist Miku alongside her younger brother, now a teenager. Once a Google Stadia exclusive, it is now coming soon on PC and Xbox, with a Playstation release slated for March 2022. As a third-person “relaxploration” game, one finds the vast post-apocalyptic scenery to build on that of Rapture’s underwater city, albeit with the absence of Big Daddies and Splicers; one can still see the influence of Bioshock in a game by several of its ex-developers.
You start out on an island where The Mass has proliferated — a black, inky substance that has left only decay in its wake. Miku is now in possession of the power to get rid of the Mass after coming into contact with it. This is represented by an arm guard in the shape of a twisting vine covered in flowers. Her brother is worried for her, but does his best to assist — you control him as he navigates the vast ocean.
Miku’s main task is to find seeds — circular balls of natural energy, and each one you find is hooked up to a device that would fit right at home in Frank Fontaine’s labs. Once she detaches the rods, the electricity crackles and pops before dying — and she can return it to the Black Tree — the central natural force of the island, turning it green again.
What stuck out to me was how each seed was surrounded by a different type of electronic device — on the main island it was dozens of televisions. Whilst the seed enclosure would fit right into an episode of Black Mirror, Submerged: Hidden Depths allows players to go at their own pace, and doesn’t dwell too heavily on the horrors of screen exposure.
There are many collectibles and upgrades for the player to collect, as well as styles for the boat and Miku. What’s more is that carrying the seed around Remnants — black, decaying humanlike plant statues — has them bursting into bloom with flowers trailing along their green backs. These were made by the Black Tree of that island, in a fading comparison to the people that once inhabited it.
Along your travels, you can also find diary entries — 152 in total — that when pieced together, tells the story of the archipelago and its eventual demise. This was the most exciting part for me, as I slowly put together what had happened to both the city and the siblings before the Mass’ arrival.
Submerged: Hidden Depths is on the horizon, but I’m already looking forward to what’s further in the story. For now, I will be content driving my little boat around — bringing life back to the islands.
Keep an eye out for Submerged: Hidden Depths on Steam and on the XBox Series X/S! March 2022 brings the PS4 and 5 release!