Laying aside traditional video game cornerstones of risk, challenge, and combat, Submerged produces an pleasant, remarkably subdued exploration experience. Intrigued by its strange, almost serene overtures, I found myself caught in the quiet, eagerly anticipating my next discovery as I wandered the macabre avenues of a sunken civilization. Some of what I found revealed disillusioning limits to this world’s scope and polish, but overall the journey through a fascinating, haunted archipelago of mossy buildings lurching up through the rolling surf of a drowned planet was a rewarding pleasure.
Refreshingly nonviolent, Submerged presents no enemies, no obvious time limits, no failure penalties, and no way to die. Though my quest for medicines was a matter of life and death for a sick young boy, I was pleased to discover that the worst consequence I could expect for miscalculating was having to double back a bit along my route. Relieved of the need to proceed with wary caution, I was able to invest myself fully and without fear in Submerged’s aquatic playground.