Under the Waves is an emotional narrative-driven game, that focuses on the power of grief. The game is set in a techno-futuristic 1970s and focuses on the professional diver, Stan, who is struck with grief, leading him to work in isolation in the depths of the North Sea.
At first glance, the game’s dark underwater setting looks like the perfect horror story, but instead of gruesome monsters and things lurking in the sea’s depth, the game focuses on Stan’s loss and the monsters inside his mind.
While Under the Waves does have some high-tension moments, the majority of the game focuses on tackling subjects such as mental health and the environment, which leaves us with a much deeper game (in more than one way).
The vast openness of the sea, along with the isolation of having no one else in the game to talk to, apart from the occasional chat with Tim, and Stan’s random comments to himself, really immerses the player in the sense of isolation that Stan is going through.
Stan is given daily tasks, many of which involve cleaning up rubbish from the ocean floor or fixing leaks that are polluting the water. To go between these tasks, you’re given a mini-sub, which has a limited amount of fuel, making the player need to think about their trips wisely.
Fuel isn’t the only finite resource either, being a deep sea game, the player also needs to think about oxygen when leaving their sub, while there are plenty of oxygen top-ups you can use, it often leaves you in a panic, scrambling back to your sub, or for the nearest source of air.
While the game looks undoubtedly impressive, there were are couple of game-breaking bugs throughout our playthrough, as well as some minor graphical bugs, which took away from the game’s usual immersive atmosphere. Hopefully, with some patches, these bugs can be ironed out, and Under the Waves can be the immersive, narrative-driven game it was designed to be, free from issues and distractions.