Submerged: Hidden Depths is the stand-alone sequel to Uppercut Games’ 2015 indie hit, Submerged. Taking place years after the first game, Hidden Depths once again put players in control of a young female named Miku, who has been cursed, or blessed, with a strange power that she doesn’t fully understand.
Following beside her is Taku, her younger brother that players will remember played an important story centric role, this time he’s a playable character and still holds weight when it comes to Miku and her story.
Submerged isn’t a combat focused game, Uppercut Games has called it a ‘relaxploration’ adventure game, which makes sense once you get a chance to sit down and play it. Hidden Depths is a third-person exploration game that focuses more on allowing players to freely wonder around without the need to worry about dying or continues.
The story sets Miku and Taku on an adventure to explore ruins that have been taken by the sea, it’s here that they set off to cleanse a mysterious plague that has overtaken the overgrown vegetation that covers the ruins. Using her powers, Miku is able to sense the locations of strange orbs that are capable of healing small section of the distrust lands.
As the player progresses through each plagued section, they will come across hidden notes and trinkets, these items unlock lore and backstory along the occasional cutscene that plays after each section. Finding hidden trinkets will unlock cosmetics for Miku and the boat that she and her brother uses throughout their adventure, it’s a fun reason to go back to finished sections and explore some more.
Graphically Hidden Depths looks pretty to look at, the bright colors are beautiful during day cycles but they kind of loose their splendor at night, each section of the game looks unique design wise. The water looks decent, which is something that players will be looking at a lot and the world itself is so mysterious in its familiarity, you’ll want to explore every inch of the water and land.
Miku and Taku are both expressive and does a great job showing emotion, which is important since they speak a language that is native to them and not English, the game uses subtitles when story beats are involved, and the siblings aren’t on screen.
Gameplay in Submerged: Hidden Depths is simple and can be easily played by anyone, players will guide Miku or Taku through platform puzzles, only one sibling can be played at any given time, and it always depends on which section the player picks.
Miku’s sections are bigger and more complex compared to Taku’s, he mostly operates the boat and can fish out trinkets from the sea. Miku has the main sections that deal with the story and the vile plague, she’s the only one who can sense the orbs, known as seeds, that can heal the land.
The puzzles are made to be enjoyed, so players don’t have to worry about getting stuck too much on a section, there’s one way to solve each puzzle and they all encourage exploration to find the solution. This is where the ‘relaxploration’ and the gameplay meet, the siblings can easily hop and climb objects that are clearly colored to stand out.
Players won’t have to worry about falling from high places when climbing pipes and jumping from platforms, the siblings will automatically reach for each platform and land just fine, this gives the game a great feel that players can truly explore without being punished for a mistake.
Going by just the first hour of the game, Submerged: Hidden Depths has the makings of a fun, relaxing, stress free adventure that could help many new players get into open world games. It’s a great entry even for veteran players that dislike the overbearing collect-a-thon that modern AAA open world games are known for but wants an open world game that moves at their tempo.
It’s great to see an open world game that understands, sometimes less is more.
Submerged: Hidden Depths is set to release on PC via Steam and Epic Game Store, PS4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Google Stadia on March 10, 2022.