Shinsekai: Into the Depths was a surprise release on the Nintendo Switch when it appeared in the Mini Direct. Is this Apple Arcade game hidden treasure or just sunken trash?.
Shinsekai: Into the Depths puts you in the diving boots of the main character, happily going about their underwater business until everything starts to freeze over at a rapid rate!. You grab your pick and high tail it into deeper waters, trying to survive and find answers to this whole mystery.
The story in Shinsekai remains mysterious throughout and does so in a way that you just NEED to find everything out. It actually drives a good chunk of your exploration, wanting some answers or at least a direction you can go in!.
Graphically Shinsekai isn’t exactly a powerhouse but the direction and setting manage to capture the underwater vibe to perfection. Character models are a little stiff, intentionally for some and unintentionally for others. All in all it’s a nice looking little underwater adventure which all the aesthetics to pull you in.
On the sound side of things Shinsekai is in a totally different depth to everyone else. The ambient sound puts you deep into the ocean, the cracking of ice around you means you feel your impending doom, every sound perfectly crafted to create a response. The soundtrack is also top tier and has a perfect mix of chilled and soothing ocean tracks to dangerous and claustrophobic!.
So what exactly is Shinsekai: Into The Depth? Well it is an underwater action adventure with a slight sprinkling of Metroid style progression. As you explore the ocean floor you’ll come across sections of “red water”, these sections represent how deep you can venture, you’re tasked with finding hidden resources to upgrade your suit so you can dive lower. Eventually you get access to a submarine and other lovely tools to aid in your exploration.
Naturally you have to find stuff to help you survive in the depths, you’ll find many rocks, sea vegetation and other stuff allowing you to create items and upgrade your current ones. Because the game is set underwater you’ll be jumping from sources of air, to last longer you can find more air tanks but if you fall too quick or get hit by an enemy these will break.
The fact you’re constantly monitoring your air keeps you on your toes and keeps the already focused progression going smoothly. Despite it having roots in the Metroid style of game it felt very focused in keeping you going forward; rather than stumping you.
The combat is the weakest part of the game, there is little feedback, melee combat is wimpy and the harpoon gun while aims fine just lacks any gusto. This isn’t a game killer it is just a shame the lack of polish is so apparent within the combat.
What really got me about Shinsekai: Into the Depth was how the game stuck with me between sessions. I generally don’t like underwater sections, games set underwater and the like, yet with Shinsekai I couldn’t wait to get back to it!. The sections out of water couldn’t feel more alien and it shows just how well this game draws you in and makes you feel like the Ocean is your home.
Shinsekai: Into the Depths is one of my biggest surprises of the year, I hadn’t heard about it and initially its setting didn’t appeal. From starting the game to completing it, Shinsekai is still with me, it’s such a well crafted tale from its gameplay loop to its music & ambience, if you are into the “Metroidvania” genre I implore you to take a dive into this Ocean.
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