Parents' Guide to

In Other Waters

By Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Alien world sea exploration best for the extremely patient.

Game Nintendo Switch , Windows 2020
In Other Waters Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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This sci-fi adventure brings players to an alien world, but only the most patient and curious will fully dive in and savor this abstract experience. In Other Waters is unusual because instead of playing the main character, you play an AI program running her suit and equipment. This means that you're not the focus of the tale, but everything you do is vital to the success of Dr. Vas' mission. To help the doctor explore the underwater world, you'll scan the environment, plotting navigation points across the map. The scans will also identify alien life forms and plants to help classify the life on the planet. Players will also use samples to clear vegetation, interact with the doctor as she tries to figure out what's actually happening on the planet, and help uncover the mystery of where her friend went. Since it's just you and her, there's a sense of closeness you develop with the doctor as you guide her path.

The main problem is that the story develops at a glacial pace. Some dialogue about the world has no impact on the story or even the scientific reports in the research codex. After a while, plot points start to feel less important compared to making it to the next objective. It also doesn't help that the game's art style is very abstract, with a lot of simple shapes to indicate creatures, nav points, or plants. It's way too easy to mistake or completely overlook your objective when it looks the same as everything else on the screen, especially when you've scanned your way across a generic map full of icons that look the same. Since you can only zoom in and out, there's no way to indicate new things you want to do or places you want to avoid to save some time in your exploration. What's more, the lack of tutorials and the fact that you'll fight with the controls will demand a lot of patience from players. But if you're willing to put in the time for a slowly developing plot, In Other Waters could deliver a good mystery for adventure fans.

Game Details

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