So, back during the Wii days, there were this game called Endless Ocean. It didn’t really get that much reception, but I quite liked the idea behind it. It’s a scuba adventure game where the emphasis is on exploration and interacting with sea life, rather than the adrenaline rush that most games tend to go for. Well, here we are today with another game that tries to do exactly that, but this time I can actually play it on PC.
This game was inspired by the BBC’s award-winning Blue Planet II nature doc series, so if it wasn’t already obvious, the focus is on giving players a realistic look at the ocean and the life that can be found within it. Although you certainly can find potentially dangerous species like sharks, they do not pose a threat, the game is purely exploration-based and you are never in any danger. I can see this turning away many players, but for this type of game it didn’t really bother me.
You’re simply tasked with swimming around, scanning different species, and collecting samples, all while following a light narrative — it’s a pretty relaxing experience overall. This is aided in part by the intuitive controls, I had absolute no issues getting right into the game and swimming around with ease, without even needing a tutorial. You’re given a very brief tutorial on how to scan ocean life, but once that’s done you’re pretty much set loose.
I immediately went about scanning everything I could see, with the game recording new species to my science log as I scanned them. In-between dives, you’re able to use this science log to look at 3D models of any species that you’ve scanned, along with looking at their different animations depending on how many unique specimens you’ve found for each species. I was a bit disappointed to find that there’s little in the way of actual info about each species outside of a few tidbits unlocked by playing. It would have been cool to see additional info regarding habitats, hunting patterns, rarity, etc. without having to hop outside of the game to google them. Outside of the science log, you also unlock mini documentaries called “insights”, which aim to provide just a bit more info on certain topics relevant to the game.
So the overall gameplay may be simple, but it isn’t without cause — there is a narrative in place that drives the experience. You play as a diver in a small research team and the gameplay objectives reflect that. Whether that be placing a tracker on a group of whales or investigating a strange noise, there is at least some direction to the gameplay outside of just exploration. I won’t say that the story is the highlight of the experience, but it’s definitely not bad and it does a great job linking together the different dives without feeling like an interference.
And on the topic of the graphics, I gotta say I was actually pretty surprised. This game was originally developed for the Apple Arcade, so I was half-expecting some dumbed-down graphics as a result, only to find that that is not the case with Beyond Blue. The graphics are not mind-blowing by any means, but they’re much better than what I was expecting. I didn’t know what to expect with regards to the soundtrack, but they did a good job there as well, making the perfect complement to the relaxed gameplay.
While the game may be a short experience at around 2 hours long, it’s definitely worth the look, especially if you can catch it on sale. I had fun swimming around, scanning different species, and taking in the game’s narrative, it was quite the relaxing experience if anything. And considering that it was developed for Apple Arcade, it doesn’t even look that bad. If you’re a fan of games like Endless Ocean or ABZÛ, it’s a pretty easy recommendation.
You can buy Beyond Blue on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.