As someone with an irrational fear of the deep sea, this game was a rollercoaster of emotions for me. The impenetrable darkness in the deepest depths of the ocean had me on the edge of my seat, my finger hovering over pause in case something terrifying just happened to appear out of nowhere and set my heart racing. With only my sonar and the render distance to guide me, I gladly plunged headfirst into Diluvion’s sunken world.
You begin with a bit of exposition. The Gods, angered by the humans’ constant bloodlust and warmongering, decided to call down a calamity that sunk the lands and drowned a large portion of the population, and trapping them under sheets of ice. Despite this, humanity has persevered and now live under the sea in dilapidated settlements. The seafloor is now littered with shipwrecks, mines, and relics of life before the calamity.
“Thankfully, Arachnid found a way to balance all three to create something wonderful to play.”
After the humans had adapted to life in these watery depths, one of the more merciful Gods declared that she had left a secret treasure at the end of an endless tunnel. Though we haven’t the foggiest idea of what the treasure may be, we’re building up a crew to go and find it, hoping all the way that it isn’t something inspired by H.P. Lovecraft.
The game revolves around your crew, your ship, and exploration. If any of these three parts of the game couldn’t hold their weight, then it’d leave the game utterly crippled. Thankfully, Arachnid found a way to balance all three to create something wonderful to play. You begin with your chosen ship, one crewmate, and are immediately let loose into the world.
The open world is full of stalagmites and mines to navigate through, so the controls need to be tight and effective, which they are. You control your speed levels with W and S, your elevation with Q and E, and move the camera with the mouse. Having listened to the community, Arachnid have swiftly patched in some tweaks and improvements to the games previously disorientating controls, as well as a slider to adjust the camera’s distance from the ship.
Each ship comes equipped with a helmsman, a gunner, and a communications officer for sonar. As you progress through the game you’ll need to upgrade your ship in order to survive the pressure at lower altitudes, and this also upgrades the amount of crew members you can employ. All ships can hold a certain number of sailors, and each one can be allocated to a certain room; i.e. a sailor helping the communications officer will increase the sonar’s ping radius.
“Though the world you explore is 3D and is peppered with breath-taking sceneries and interesting creatures scurrying about the ocean, once you peer inside a ship, or dock onto a settlement, it switches to a beautiful, hand-drawn 2D environment.”
Though the world you explore is 3D and is peppered with breath-taking sceneries and interesting creatures scurrying about the ocean, once you peer inside a ship, or dock onto a settlement, it switches to a beautiful, hand-drawn 2D environment. The small details added to each interior is what gives Diluvion its own flair, and is something to look forward to during your adventure.
Speaking of, exploration in this game isn’t done by charters and maps, it’s done by luminous fish. Throughout each area are several landmarks that attract schools of yellow fish, and these clairvoyant little guys are all too happy to point you in the direction you need to go, but won’t stray far from the landmark. Your ship is also equipped with a sonar that can scan the nearby area, highlighting anything of importance. Once you have a rough idea of where you want to go, you swim off in the direction and enjoy the view, and maybe fend off some pirates.
Diluvion also implements a checkpoint system at every landmark, indicated by luminous green fish this time. This makes it so you can’t save your game out in the ocean, you have to return to a landmark to do so. But not every landmark has these green fish, so I often spent a while trying to find a landmark that did, seeing as how I’d otherwise lose all progress as doing anything significant won’t auto-save itself. There has also been some talk of a manual saving feature over on the Diluvion subreddit from one of the developers, after complaints to the checkpoint system.
During your adventure, the only things you need to keep track of are your o2 supplies, your crew’s food, and your ammunition. Exploration alone netted me a ton of money, scrap-metal for ammo, rations for my crew, and refilling an oxygen tank is as simple as docking somewhere. Losing track of these could bring an abrupt end to your adventure, but nothing seemed scarce enough to create any sense of urgency. Other than that, you can explore and sightsee to your heart’s content, and there are plenty of sights to see. You’ll easily find yourself engrossed and before you know it several hours have passed and you’re beating down a deranged sailor with a crowbar to steal his precious flowers.
Diluvion is something I really sunk my teeth into, and though there were some snags, I thoroughly enjoyed my time. The excitement of exploring the deepest nooks and crannies of a fictional ocean is something I kept with me throughout my play through, wondering what mysterious creatures lurked beneath me. With a little bit more polish I can see Diluvion sitting in the top seller chart for a while.
***A PC code was provided by the publisher***
• Relaxing soundtrack
• Beautiful hand-drawn interiors
• Fun and interesting world to explore
• Easy to immerse yourself in
• Saving is finicky.
• Can get somewhat repetitive.