Posted on March 20, 2017
Diluvion: Jules Verne Meets the Gaming World
One of the games I’ve been looking forward to for quite a long time now is the submarine exploration game Diluvion by Arachnid Studios (available on PC and Mac). Many of you may not have heard of it before – Arachnid is a small indie studio and Diluvion is their first major project. Originally pitched on Kickstarter in June of 2015, this game has been stuck in development hell for the past year and a half. I had given up hope of it ever being released when, to my complete and utter surprise, it finally released on February 2nd of this year.
Diluvion is a very steampunk-ish world where all of humanity lives beneath the sea after some sort of apocalyptic event freezes the ocean’s surface over. You are a submarine captain, and your goal is to hire a crew and explore this mysterious world to amass wealth and discover its greatest secrets. There are light RPG elements in the way you manage your ship and crew, but there’s also plenty of real-time action as you combat other subs and take on the gigantic, mythic-proportion sea monsters you encounter on your journey. If you think “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea meets FTL” then you’ll get a decent grasp of the rough idea that Arachnid was going for.
The unique art style is originally what attracted me to the title – when you’re piloting the sub you’re treated to a 3D third-person perspective. The graphic style is a little cartoonish but still stunning when mixed with the game’s Verne-esque aesthetic. The art style takes a very interesting turn when you explore the interior of your ship: the 3D rendering gets put on the back-burner as everything shifts to a flat two-dimensional side-scrolling format. The aesthetic when you’re in this “mode” is very hard to describe – it’s something I’d imagine Tim Burton drawing if he did 2D cartoons. At any rate I found it highly intriguing and novel, especially when it stands in contrast to the more traditional 3D environment outside your sub.
The game’s mechanics are just as varied as its visuals. Anyone who’s played an RPG will find familiar elements such as managing inventory/stats, talking to and trading with NPC’s at various sites, and taking on quests. In combat, you have to balance fighting your foes with diverting your crew to various tasks, such as choosing whether you want personnel manning your weapons or repairing damage. Your crew can also be damaged, of course, forcing you to seek medical assistance. Ships come in a few different classes, all of which are customizable with various tools, weapons, and other upgrades.
All in all, it appears Diluvion was well worth the wait. This game appears to have very in-depth mechanics, has an immediately compelling visual style, and hints at a possibly deep and well-written story. Now that it’s finally landed on Steam I hope to get busy playing it as soon as possible, and I encourage anyone with a penchant for exploration or just wants to live out a Captain Nemo fantasy to check it out.