In Uppercut’s latest offering, Submerged, you play as young girl Maku who, with her wounded younger brother, Taku, finds herself in a mysterious flooded city. With Taku fading fast, it is your responsibility to find the resources he needs to survive, equipped only with a small boat. Visually impressive for a small-scale game, wildlife is seamlessly integrated into the eerily peaceful dystopia. As you sail in search of supplies, bottle-nose dolphins, pelicans and stingrays are welcome companions.
These provisions, however, can only be retrieved by scaling once-magnificent landmarks. While these structures vary in design, climbing them can become repetitive and there is little in the way of actual challenge. With each supply chest you find, secrets of the city and your family’s turbulent past are uncovered. Some of these make little sense, but the personal story element adds a much-needed sense of progression.
Inversely, as Taku’s health improves, the more ominous your own fate becomes. This wordless tale of individual sacrifice is reduced to simple figure drawings – it is up to you to piece it together. Much like in a silent film, the serene soundtrack acts as a sensory trigger, prompting an emotional connection with the broken family’s tragic tale. This is where it truly succeeds. But if you’re not invested in the story, gameplay can become tedious.
More of a relaxation game than anything else, Submerged is charming, but limited by its lack of variation.
I personally liked the relaxing atmosphere and the no-pressure wandering. I also liked trying to find the story clues and deciphering the pictures. It’s a nice break for when you really are just trying to sit back and relax with a no-stress game. Definitely not going to be for everyone, but it’s not a terrible game for those that can get passed the lack of violence, action or even a forced pace of any kind.