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In Other Waters


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#1 nick68k

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Posted 03 May 2020 - 08:21 PM

The IMG crowd are a pretty high concept bunch (right?), and so here's a high concept game to tickle your respective (high concept) fancies.

In Fellow Traveller's In Other Waters you play the game as a diving suit AI while the xenobiologist protagonist explores an alien ocean. Sounds a bit like SubNautica? Yeah? No, wrong. There's no screaming here. This is a very, very mellow game. There's practically no animation, no 3D (no graphics to speak of at all, really), and a 4-bit colour palette. The game is essentially the suit UI, with a LOT of text to read. As far as I can tell, you can't even die. So what's the point?

The point is exploration, to find out what happened to your missing colleague, and to collect biological samples to make sense of the alien ecosystem. This is done by (slowly) navigating around the map with some mild puzzle solving in the interim (i.e. certain biological specimens will modify the ecosystem around you, changing the flow of water, and removing obstacles etc). Sounds lame right? It's a supremely relaxing experience, and very stimulating for the imagination. There's a rather lovely ambient electronica soundtrack and suitably bubbly undersea rebreather noises. It's not going to give you an adrenalin hit (unless you're excited by the taxonomy of aquatic spores, moulds and fungi), but if you want something meditative and relaxing while the world burns in coronaviral hell this might hit the spot. I've been enjoying it a lot.

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#2 Cougar

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 10:20 AM

Found out about this game when it released. Looks like all the good bits of Subnautica without the tedium. Definitely on my wish list for sure.

I'm playing Miasmata now, and it shares some similarities of exploration. Despite the survival elements, it's very relaxing to wander around the landscape and use triangulation to fill up your map. It's a great time to play nature-themed games.

#3 nick68k

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 11:15 AM

It hits the immersive SF/ambient/calm sweet-spot for me.

On the downside, for a game that is essentially a 4-bit, 2D-UI, it gives the fans on my 2020 QC-i5 MacBook Air a good workout. That's the Unity tax (or whatever) I guess.
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#4 Cougar

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 11:24 AM

View Postnick68k, on 04 May 2020 - 11:15 AM, said:


On the downside, for a game that is essentially a 4-bit, 2D-UI, it gives the fans on my 2020 QC-i5 MacBook Air a good workout. That's the Unity tax (or whatever) I guess.

It does use Unity but there's a lot going on.

#5 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 01:57 PM

Have had it on my Nintendo Switch wishlist for a while now. It got surprisingly good reviews when it came out.
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#6 nick68k

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 03:34 PM

View PostThain Esh Kelch, on 04 May 2020 - 01:57 PM, said:

Have had it on my Nintendo Switch wishlist for a while now. It got surprisingly good reviews when it came out.

It's fun, dare I say it, if you like that sort of thing. I bought it from GoG as an impulse purchase and I don't regret it. It reminds me of old Arthur C. Clarke novels.

Speaking as a part-time biologist, the developer has created a convincing alien ecosystem, and there's a light touch to the writing which I'm appreciative of.
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#7 Cougar

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 04:17 PM

View Postnick68k, on 04 May 2020 - 03:34 PM, said:

It's fun, dare I say it, if you like that sort of thing. I bought it from GoG as an impulse purchase and I don't regret it. It reminds me of old Arthur C. Clarke novels.

Speaking as a part-time biologist, the developer has created a convincing alien ecosystem, and there's a light touch to the writing which I'm appreciative of.

Oh gosh, as a biology minor and as someone who spent his twenties studying SF academically in grad school... this one might have to violate my "don't buy unless it's in a bundle or less than $10" rule....

#8 Cougar

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 11:02 AM

Picked this up during the Steam sale. Overall, I liked it. The interactive alien ecosystem reminds me a lot of Waking Mars. But there's far less puzzle solving and interactivity in this game. I did appreciate that it was more Zen and less frustrating than Waking Mars, but I wish the game had more things you could do with the wildlife. Aside from changing the currents once or twice early on, you're pretty much just going from node to node.

There were also some strange UI choices. I didn't like that you could only see the main map from your base, with no checklist or notification system. At the point in the game I am in, post-story and collecting all the samples, it's making the game more tedious than it needs to be.

My biggest complaint, though, was the grammar. For a text-heavy game, it could have used a good editor.

All that said, I do agree that the game stirs the imagination in a very relaxing manner; in this way the low-key presentation is actually an asset. A nice remedy for 2020. And although the plot is fairly predictable, it has a great message for 2020 as well.