Release Date: 4 December 2015
Developer: Lazy Monday Games
Reveal the Deep is an atmospheric sidescroller in which you play as an explorer who delves into the wreckage of a sunken ship to discover the mysteries surrounding its demise and the horrors that await you at the bottom.
The game focuses mostly on exploration with you discovering notes which reveal the story behind the sunken ship piece by piece. You are given no weapon and, for the most part, there are no enemies, but the atmosphere of the game is enough to keep the player on edge throughout the experienec, meaning you never feel safe. In fact, despite its simple pixelated style, this atmosphere is where this game really succeeds. Most of the time you only have your torch to guide the way and everything else in in darkness, adding a sense of uncertainty to every step. Additionally, the sound effects are terrifying at times. There is no actual music in the game, and instead you are forced to listen to the ambient noises of the ocean and the sounds of your own heavy footsteps. However, the game will occassionally throw some unsettling noises into the mix, reminding you that you are not alone. The sound of a door in the background or slow breaths in the distance leaves a lot to the imagination and can achieve much more horrifying effect than the explicit images that are seen in some horror games.
In terms of gameplay, the most unique mechanic the game has to offer is the torch. Whilst there are a lot of horror games that utilise this for atmosphere, turning off your torch in Reveal the Deep allows you to view certain areas in the past and interact with objects there. It’s interesting to see how the environment changes when this happens and it serves as a stark reminder of how desolated the ship has become. This also leads to some platforming puzzles in which you must use ledges which only exist in the past to reach higher ground. These parts of the game but this mechanic is used sparingly and it feels as if there is a lot of potential with this idea left untouched.
The story itself is told through notes left behind by characters who are now long gone. They talk of the ship’s voyage and the strange events that caused it to sink. These messages are placed close enough that you don’t get bored in between finding and each sheds some light on the mystery. As the mystery is revealed, the danger facing you becomes evermore apparent and the sense of horror builds up effectively. However, without spoiling anything, it’s worth mentioning that the mystery itself doesn’t add up to much and the ending is quite abrupt and confusing.
Reveal the Deep is not a perfect game, but there are some things it does very well. Whilst much of the game’s potential is left untapped, the creepy atmosphere means it is still well worth the price of entry.