Sunless Sea is a survival exploration game set in a gothic fantasy setting by Failbetter Games. As the beginning text says, "Three decades ago, in the reign of Victoria, London was stolen by bats. Now it lies a mile below the surface."
Fortunately for the player, this new location for London is not without its own advantages, for example there is a big black sea a mile below the surface with plenty to explore, full of strange islands, people and mysterious sea life, often of the large and dangerous variety.
It is a setting full of mystery, horror, romance and text. Oh yes there is a lot of text in this game, the video itself has a lot of unrehearsed reading of this text too in it. It makes me aware of just how little time I spend regularly reading out loud, it is surprisingly easy to stumble.
That said I really like the text in this game; Failbetter games is really good at writing interesting stories that hint at further secrets to discover. I backed this game due to their reputation from their existing Fallen London game, which at the time I hadn't actually tried for myself. Since then however I have spent more time than I am really comfortable expressing engaging in this subterranean world where squid-shaped men roam the streets and Hell is a real place that is capable of establishing embassies and its devils are capable of quite politely bartering for your soul over a cup of tea.
I really enjoyed the hour or so I spent here with this game, though I don't think my captain here has much of a future, she seems to be really bad at managing money and supplies and I don't think it will be too long before the crew get a little too hungry and the fuel runs out. The game itself says to expect many deaths before victory and it will be interesting to see just what I am able to pass on to my successor.
I guess my main complaint is that looking through the shops in London I assumed that there would be actual trading to do across the Zee, I pictured myself buying and selling goods in every port, trying to pick what would be profitable to pick up, but not many ports seem to be interested in buying and selling anything other than the occasional supplies. Especially few are willing to both buy and sell goods making any trading route very one-way. I get the sense that you really are just meant to explore which makes you an unofficial part of the admiralty´s fleet rather than a real merchant captain. I can tell it will be a few tries before I can work out how to actually keep ahead financially.
Hopefully though the game will keep me interested long enough to find out how.
Sunless Sea is currently in early access on Steam for €19.99 or $18.99US depending upon your location, enters full release at 5:30PM GMT tomorrow.