Submerged

Submerged

I can’t say much about this game without spoiling the ending, so reader beware. And, frankly, it’s the disappointing ending that’s got me so riled up. The actual gameplay is pretty straightforward and repetitive. Once you’ve scouted your third building to find medical supplies, you’ve seen everything the game has to offer. From then on, you’re just going through the motions—climbing more buildings—to see how it ends. Once the protagonist started showing “sores” on her body, though, I was genuinely interested in where the story was going. Would she turn into a monster, similar to the strange creatures lurking out of reach? Would she even be able to save her brother? What would happen to him if she did become a monster?

It isn’t often I stick with a game for the story, so that’s saying something about the build-up here. Because, again, the gameplay alone just wasn’t selling it. While I like the idea of exploring a flooded city free of combat, that sense of exploration boiled down to a series of the same rudimentary, Tomb Raider-like ledge hopping. And what was the payoff for shimmying across 100 ledges? Nothing. The boy is saved. The girl’s sores are magically waved away, and she and her brother sail off having learned nothing. Submerged had the chance to pull a really gut-wrenching ending, but then they went with the safest, most bland choice possible. Missed opportunity…