Sunless Sea game review - a spooky croissant for Lovecraft fans

Author: Luc
Date: 2015-02-17 09:01:00
The review was based on the PC version.

A lot of time has passed since the peak popularity of roguelike games, but as always - the best, sooner or later comes back to favor. Thanks to titles such as FTL , The Binding of Isaac or even Rogue Legacy , the genre is experiencing a small renaissance and although it is still a niche theme, it regularly hosts the mouths of the gaming community. Demanding and ruthless gameplay, high entry threshold and theoretically endless fun are the main advantages of this type of products and that's why I always welcome them with open arms. I've spent over a hundred and fifty hours in total on the games listed above in the last years and hoped that Sunless Sea will soon join this group from Failbetter Games. A very original concept, combined with an unprecedented climate seems to be a recipe for certain success, although as it turns out - even the most interesting idea is not always enough to be completely happy.

In Sunless Sea, we play the role of the captain of a small ship, which is preparing to leave the home port. By creating a hero, we decide where we come from and which life ambition we intend to pursue during our adventures. After finishing the process of choosing the portrait and name, we are ready for sea voyages and we set off into the unknown. The world we visit largely refers to the climate and specificity of the one we have already seen in the browser game Fallen London (by the way our port is also called) and, as in the previous production, also here the Failbetter Games studio decided to even flood the players number of stories. At this point, it should be clearly stated that if you are rejected by hundreds of thousands of words, you can skip Sunless Sea - half the time in the game spent analyzing the next pages of descriptions and dialogues, and if someone does not like this kind of gameplay, the title is deadly wynudzi. Those who, however, decide to take the challenge and delve into reading will undoubtedly be delighted - the history of each place and person is not only unique, but also surprisingly well written. No matter what we read about, you feel constant anxiety and tension in the air, and asking any questions usually raises even more doubts and dilemmas. The vast majority of threads are also simply surprising and unpredictable. If you've ever wondered what the kingdom of guided pigs looks like and how coffee tastes like a court of devilish aristocracy, then Sunless Sea is the best chance to find out.

Full of mysticism and quirks are also places where we listen to each of the unique stories. The mystery that constantly bombards us is influenced not only by the dark, depressing colors in which the entire title is maintained, but also how the locations we call look like. As with history, here too, each place is unique and full of surprises. Ordinary ports such as London are rare - we land more often on the islands, which by their very appearance seem to shout "do not swim closer!", But this element constantly pulled me towards further travel. Well, who would be able to resist checking what awaits us on the archipelago entwined with cobwebs or land surrounded by ruins of giant statues? At times, just looking at the wonders and wonders that surround us, and if we also put our own imagination to work, casting an anchor next to the most disturbing places can be relatively difficult. On the other hand, at the moment when I had any doubts, I remembered the basic principle that prevails in Sunless Sea - in the end we will die anyway, so why not give it a try?

That's right - death. An inseparable element of rogulike games also determines how our game progresses. In the production of Failbetter Games we often die - be it for lack of food, killed by live icebergs or as a result of e.g. the rebellion of a crew mad with fear. There are really many ways to leave this world, but they all come down to the same - we play the role of the next captain and try to discover the other secrets that the endless sea hides on the new boat. This is where Sunless Sea's biggest problem probably appears. The game restarts always looks identical. The layout of the map is relatively similar, individual mysterious locations are in fixed places or a little further away, opponents occupy the places assigned to them, and the stories themselves ... These, unfortunately, always sound identical. Some of them have an alternative ending, but the vast majority go from beginning to end in a predetermined way. Setting off on a trip for the third or fourth time does not bother particularly strongly, we still have plenty of undiscovered places, but during the tenth and subsequent course, patting through the same dialogues is tiring - especially if in the previous game we have already visited most of the map.

Being on the topic of running out resources - for this element of creators should still be praised. Food or barrels disappear at an alarming rate and probably not everyone will like it, but personally I was a fact of high difficulty level delighted. Setting out on even the shortest journey requires proper planning and recalculating whether we 'have' enough funds to return. Establishing permanent trade routes, on which we are able to earn the most, in order to be able to purchase fuel at a favorable price at a favorable price that allows us to travel further into the unknown, undoubtedly has its charm. And this even after taking into account the fact that the economic element is not as extensive as one would expect from the title of traveling by sea. However, without general calculations of travel costs, it won't happen, and before we get enough wealth to stop worrying about the amount of fuel in our tank, we'll die at least a dozen times.

A much less "controversial" issue that should appeal to the majority is the graphic design of the title. The fact there are no fireworks and the title in this respect is implemented in a simple way, but the hand-drawn locations and images accompanying us during the story are made really great . Mysterious and aesthetic, even in their "poorness" they can delight, and if we add the extremely characteristic colors of green and black that accompany us in virtually every place, we get a very unique and atmospheric whole. The mysticism of production is also undoubtedly added by the music that flows through the speakers. Although we do not hear it all the time, but only in the case of some specific events (e.g. approaching the island), when the notes actually begin to flow, the shivers spontaneously passed through my back. The irresistible desire to return to safe London as soon as possible after a few seconds of listening to disturbing rumbling as for such an inconspicuous production is a considerable achievement and in this place the creators deserve great applause.