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#1 Edited by ShotgunLincoln (395 posts) -

Edit: Let me try to explain what this game is and why it's so much fun.

What is Sunless Sea?

Sunless Sea is an Early Access single-player top-down 2D naval exploration and survival game that draws heavy influence from games like FTL and Don't Starve. Based of the lore of the browser game, players start out in the city of Fallen London; an alternate reality version of Not-Fallen London that sank beneath the sea into a gargantuan cavern called the Neath. You can pick two goals for an endgame

  • Get rich and retire: Who doesn't want to amass a fortune and live out the rest of your life in a nightmarish world of sea monsters and gods?
  • Collect a complete tale of the Sea: Gather stories, Secrets, and Whispers from the multitudes of Islands, Reefs, and Lost Souls that dwell upon the Under Sea.

As of right now a few other goals haven't been added to the game that include searching for your father's bones in order to give him a decent burial and exploring what lies beyond the edge of thesea.

Fallen London is a city of secrets, shadows, and jerks.
Fallen London is a city of secrets, shadows, and jerks.

How do you Play?

You control your ship with the WASD keys and can dock/undock from various Islands with E. After you create a character and his backstory, you can set sail to virtually anywhere you want. People in towns can ask for requests of you and your crew for a more streamlined goal. Your ship uses fuel and your crew require supplies that are both consumed when moving around the map. You can pick and choose specific crewman to become your ships doctor, gunnery sargent, cook, first officer, and engineer. These provide bonuses to your skills and help resolves situations easier.

Combat is pretty straightforward. When your ship runs into an enemy, you can choose to fight or flee. A small window will pop up with you and your enemies portraits and health. You use options like flares to increase the visibility of the enemy and use the attack skills to damage it. Some options can use things like fuel to increase their potency. Essentially, you want to stay alive as long as possible in order to achieve your end game goal. If you run out of fuel or die, the game restarts with your heir and you can carry of one trait.

An example of combat
An example of combat

Why you should play this game

Like I said before I edited this, the main draw of this game is the story that's created by playing it. Everything in Sunless Sea counts towards your personal story – a non-linear, choice-heavy, personalised experience. The game uses Failbetter Games StoryNexus tech that enables anything to happen anytime. It makes every choice you make have a consequence. The world of Sunless Sea has a heavy feeling of dread around it and is very inspired by Lovecraft. A giant tentacle can rise out of the sea and snatch a crewmen. Strange robed figures can tell you the horrific history of the ancient standing stones on the Shepard Isles. You can even gain the attention of one of the ancient gods that lurk in the depths.

Nothing in this game has a happy ending.
Nothing in this game has a happy ending.

I've never really written anything about a game. I just thought that this one was something people might overlook. If your a fan of fiction like this I'd definitely give it a try. 19$ may seem like a lot of an Early Access game but Failbetter Games seems to have the timeline of content releases nailed down with hints of an underwater expansion sometime after release.

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#2 Posted by PedanticJase (67 posts) -

I backed this game , and have booted it up a few times it looks cool.

I did manage to get to the end of the world (the map stopped) so it might be a idea to wait for the full release. The combat so far could use something. FTL does a better job of making it engaging and interactive.

I'm still hopeful.

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#3 Posted by Coafi (1520 posts) -

Yeah, I saw this on the store page and it seemed interesting but, I usually stay away from Early-Acess games. I could use some FTL-like game right about now, is it text heavy? Or is the story voiced over?

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#4 Posted by Shivoa (1563 posts) -

Would be good to see an Unfinished for this at some point (or maybe a QL).

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#5 Edited by ShotgunLincoln (395 posts) -

@coafi: It's just text but the descriptions of events are usually just as long as they need to be and not overly descriptive.

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#6 Posted by smellylettuce (250 posts) -

This game looks interesting, also seems to be getting some critical admiration. I'd like to see some coverage here to see what everyone thinks of it if only to influence my final purchase decision.

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#7 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (2077 posts) -

It's a game I'm rapidly falling in love with.

Picked it up pretty early because of its Fallen London roots but didn't play until it came out of early access. The writing's maybe not quite as accomplished as it thinks it is but that's a really minor quibble.

A hard game to categorise - Adventure game, roguelite, rpg, narrative driven, dungeon crawler, survival etc etc

Hope the guys do a QL but it's going to be a hard game to get your chops into quickly. It deserves one though.

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#8 Edited by Mikemcn (8216 posts) -

holy crap this game used to have turnbased combat? Weird.... it's real time now! Not great, most likely the weakest part of the experience but still enjoyable! The writing is what's fantastic.

Having tried out fallen london and enjoyed that, sunless sea has been delightful. Very tense, very atmospheric. I ended up teleported to the far side of the map (For reasons I won't spoil) in my most recent game and had to struggle my way back to port with almost no fuel and supplies, my crew starved, we started eating the dead, eventually I went mad and nearly threw myself into the unterzee. My crew of 10 was down to 1 man and my officers by the time London was within sight, barely survived.


Hope the guys do a QL but it's going to be a hard game to get your chops into quickly. It deserves one though.

Yea they played a few minutes of it on some live stream, but it was compleletly unapproachable for them in the moment, maybe if someone else tries it we can get a real QL. You can't just dive in, and all the text makes it harder to convey the good parts of the game via video.

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#9 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (2077 posts) -

@mikemcn: Yep, I spent a few minutes with the game on Early Access release and the turn-based combat was pretty weak. The real time stuff now isn't brilliant but it's a lot better than what went before.

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#10 Posted by gaminghooligan (1822 posts) -

I think this game is brilliant. The only weak point is the combat, which I mostly avoid by cutting the lights and putting the engines on full blast. The writing is stellar, and is the reason to play this game. If anyone is thinking about picking this up and has no interest in reading the prompts, this is not the game for you. So far my favorite thing I've found is an island called Visage where the masks people wear dictate how they behave.

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#11 Posted by Akyho (2126 posts) -

The game is like a more refined Flotilla in the Roguelite story elements. Which is a reason why have played dozens and dozens of hours of that indie game. So it hits my buttons on random and customising.