Submerged is a beautiful exploration game which focuses on providing a tranquil, stress-free experience while also stimulating your curiosity through a story told solely through symbolic drawings.

You take the role of Miku, a young girl who arrives in a sunken city together with her wounded brother, Taku. The 10 short chapters of the game will have you explore the world and gather various supplies to help Taku overcome his injury. Submerged is designed as an open-word game with a small map, one that you can traverse as you desire without having a specific order for the locations you must visit. No matter where you go, the next chapter of the story will be revealed as long as you complete that location.

Submerged is a walking simulator, or perhaps better described as a sailing and climbing simulator. In order to find the necessary items to help Taku, Miku will have to roam her boat to one of the main locations and climb atop the building in order to reach a supply crate. On the way you’ll find several collectible items represented by drawings which narrate the story of Miku and Taku, but also the history of the sunken city. The challenge here relies only on finding the correct path to the top, by grabbing onto ledges, sliding up and down drain pipes or holding onto flowery vines that grow on the outside wall of the buildings. These paths are sometimes linear, but also quite tangled other times, with sequences in which you can easily lose your way or run climb in circles.

It’s an exploration game, and collectibles are a given. Submerged offers over 100 of them, each represented by a child-like hand-drawn picture. For Taku and Mika’s tale or for the history of the city, these act like frames that reveal their story sequentially, one at a time. Apart from these, you can also collect drawings of the creatures you encounter or of the special landmarks you visit, but also upgrades for your boat that will allow you to keep its speed boosted for a longer time.

The visuals are absolutely great and the atmosphere is even better. Submerged is a world full of half-sunken buildings that have been conquered by vigorous vegetation, with lots of areas in which you’ll need to make your way through thick and tall grass or through fields of adorable flowers. The slow rocking of the waves, together with the relaxing background music gives the player a soothing feeling. There is also a day / night cycle, and sunny / stormy weather as well – both of these adding an extra touch to an already immersive work of art.

The game can be finished in around 2 hours, if your focus is only on completing the story. In order to gather the rest of the collectibles, you’d need around 2 extra hours, making it a 4-5h experience for a 100% completion. The map shows the landscapes and the main collectibles as you uncover a region, but Miku can also use her telescope to scout for secrets or boat upgrades, which will then be also marked on the map. Already gathered collectibles are grayed out, which is extremely helpful if in the end you want to use a guide to identify what you missed.

Submerged is a game suitable for those that don’t seek a challenging experience. Its peaceful nature will have you sit back and relax, while exploring the gorgeous world of the sunken city and unravel its story one frame at a time.

Related: Submerged: Hidden Depths (Review)

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