Narcosis

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Narcosis Game Poster Image
Short but enjoyable, surreal underwater adventure.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

No overt messages, but highlights depths of human will, determination.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Not much known about main character, Kip Mattas, other than surviving ocean drilling rig destroyed by aftershocks following nearby earthquake. You seem like a good person who wants to stay alive, says "rest in peace" when finding corpses, combat is self-defense.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn, some tasks have spikes in difficulty.

Violence

Knife-based violence, blood, players will also see dead bodies, other images of violence tied to imagination. Some horrific moments, too.

Sex
Language

Some profane language, including "s--t," "damn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Narcosis is a downloadable adventure rooted in psychological horror. Players will engage in deadly combat with deep-see creatures using a knife, and will see many dead bodies of coworkers, along with some images that may or may not be real. There's also some strong profanity used at random moments, but otherwise, there's no inappropriate content.

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What's it about?

NARCOSIS is a slow-paced, psychologically creepy adventure about being trapped on ocean floor of the Pacific Ocean. You learn about an earthquake that took place a few miles away, causing aftershocks to destroy a drilling rig you were working on. As the sole survivor, you step into the deep-sea suit of Kip Mattas, who has to find ways to stay alive -- primarily oxygen – and battle the external and internal forces that threaten his sanity and survival. Played from a first-person perspective, this single-player game has you exploring the deep sea, finding and using items, solving some puzzles and light platforming obstacles, and engaging in a little combat.

Is it any good?

While a short adventure with limited replayability, this is a unique, atmospheric, and memorable game to experience. Between the darkness, slow movement, oceanic threats, and an immersive first-person perspective -- including air bubbles and breath seen against the glass of your deep-suit -- this game’s strength lies in fear of the unknown. That includes how your mind can play tricks on you -- and tapping into the human instinct of survival. While the game is pretty straightforward and not too challenging, you’ll enjoy exploring the areas, finding oxygen (the main resource) and flares, handling squids and crabs (fight or flight?), and unraveling more of the story as you discover the floating bodies of your coworkers. While the standard version is engrossing because of the atmospheric nature of the play, it's even better if you play it in VR, where the immersive and desolate nature of the gameplay experience really shines. If you can play this game in VR, do it. Unless you only like fast-paced games, or long games, Narcosis is a fascinating piece of interactive, narrative fiction that should leave a lasting impression.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Does the violence in this game matter since it's not gratuitous, but is solely in a struggle for survival in extreme circumstances? What about the fact that some of the violence may be against things that aren't real?

  • Talk about the atmosphere of the game? Do the scares and the content justify its rating, or is the gameplay not so bad?

Game details

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