There’s nothing more therapeutic than slowly meandering through the deep sea in search of forgotten treasures, that is until you’re caught tits-deep in a minefield trying to desperately fend off a pirate that wants nothing more than to plunder your booty. This, my friends, is Diluvion in a nutshell.
I’m not a big fan of the sea, open water absolutely freaks me out, however Diluvion presented more of an intrigue than fear. In the game, Earth is no longer the world we know now after some awful event left everything trapped under ice, under water, trying to survive in amongst various underwater vessels.
The game is part open world exploration game and part crew / fleet management sim as you explore the depths of the ice-covered sea to scavenge for loot, recruit new crew members, find new parts for your sub, and much more. Like most open world games, in Diluvion you’re free to explore as you see fit despite their being an objective, however, at the start of the game you’re pretty restricted in terms of the depths you can reach and the defences you can put up.
The game begins pretty simply with you choosing your sub of choice, there’s one which favours speed over defence, one that’s pretty balanced, and another which favours defences over speed. Choosing the balanced vessel I began my journey to the centre of the Earth, however things aren’t as simple as they seem.
Because we’re under water, there are no real limits as to where you can and cant travel in terms of the control scheme, this means that you need to be able to comfortably travel six axis without overly complex controls. That’s something Diluvion has done well, the controls aren’t awkward, however I personally had to remap some of the buttons to my own preferences.
By default, you use W and S keys to set your speed, whether full steam ahead, or in reverse. The A and D keys are then used for more sharper turns, though you can naturally direct your ship using the mouse, this just adds an extra level of control. Finally, Q and E are used to navigate depth.
Personally, I preferred to have W and S as depth controls, with Q and E for speed as I often found myself upping the throttle when all I wanted to do was rise up a little higher.
Diluvion is a pretty open game in which players explore the depths of the sea, there are objectives to follow, especially if you want to progress through the story, but it’s also pretty enjoyable to just float around looking for hidden treasures or abandoned waypoints for you to loot. Following objectives however can be quite tough, especially when the schools of glowing fish disappear.
In an effort to make getting from one place to another a little simpler, the game has lines of golden fish to point you in the right direction which is fantastic, however they don’t stick around forever and you’re often left to your own devices. The knack is to stay true to the direction you were heading, however, as the game is under water and there’s so much to see, you will often find yourself a little disorientated, especially in the heat of battle.
Fortunately there is a compass for you to follow and get back on track, however, one problem I did find with the game was its odd camera angle. It’s almost as if it’s a third-person shooter with an over-the-shoulder look over your ship. While travelling gracefully through the ocean it’s not that much of an issue, however when you need to be quick off the mark, it can get a little awkward.
Aside from the game’s exploration, players are encouraged to manage their ship and crew. This management aspect of the game brings a whole new angle allowing you to swap out crew members on the fly based on your needs at that time. This is helped with the game’s “Captain Time” which slows time down allowing you to quickly swap out crew members during the heat of the battle.
Crew members can be found in a number of different places so it’s worth taking the time to explore your surroundings to find other locations for you to board. Once you have a decent crew, you can then expand your fleet of vessels and spread your crew accordingly. However finding the right balance for each scenario can be a little daunting.
Combat in the game is probably the most difficult part and the most ruthless. I’ll be honest, I’m pretty bad at dogfights in both the air, space, and sea, so this is always going to be a tough spot for me, however I feel in Diluvion it’s twice as difficult. In the early stages of the game you’ll rely mostly on junk to help defeat foes as you fire it out of your cannons making allowances for distance and trajectory, however no matter how well you aim, not every shot will hit.
Pirates and other nefarious characters on the other hand have almost perfect aim, and if you’ve got no armour or repair kits to hand, you’ll find yourself becoming fish food fairly quickly. Then take into account that your last checkpoint save was about 15 minutes ago, you’ll likely be quite frustrated with the game.
Despite being ocean-based, Diluvion has a pretty stunning colour palette, sure the game is mostly blues and greens, but occasionally there’ll be a nice pop of colour to break away from the norm. The game’s switch from a 3D sea exploration game, to a 2D crew management sim is also handled pretty flawlessly and work in tandem really quite well.
Overall, Diluvion is both a chill yet challenging game that came as a surprise to me. Although some aspects of the game are quite difficult, I found the game to be very enjoyable if you take your time.