A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The frozen apocalyptic setting evokes the climate change disaster. Themes of loneliness, desperation, and determination run through the story.
Positive Role Models
The player's character is perhaps the last person on a frostbitten Earth, taking refuge underwater and doing whatever he can to survive. He's bold, inventive, and determined, figuring out how to use available resources to keep going and using force only when necessary to protect himself or gather resources.
Ease of Play
It takes time to get a handle on movement -- specifically jumping and boosting using oxygen tanks -- and aiming while floating can be tricky, especially if you're using touch controls rather than a gamepad. Also, objectives and what you need to do to achieve them are often a bit of a mystery, forcing players to experiment to figure out what to do next.
Violence & Scariness
The hero uses weapons such as a harpoon gun and a sickle-like hook to attack aggressive sea creatures, including sharks, jellyfish, and anemones. Defeated enemies disappear in a cloud of bubbles and dust, sometimes leaving a greenish mist behind.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Shinsekai: Into the Depths is a post-apocalypse side-scrolling action/adventure game available for download on Nintendo Switch and Apple Arcade. Players control an aquanaut who attempts to survive in the ocean, below the surface, which has been ravaged by a radical climate change disaster that has left it frozen. He fights underwater creatures -- including sharks, jellyfish, and sea anemones -- using weapons including a harpoon gun and a sickle-like melee tool. Some enemies emit what look to be clouds of greenish blood when defeated. Most of the player's time is spent exploring and solving contextual puzzles rather than fighting. The hero doesn't talk, but he proves himself resourceful and determined, doing whatever it takes to survive just a little longer and perhaps eventually find safety.
Is It Any Good?
This moving action game has a slower, almost poetic pace. Shinsekai: Into the Depths' story slowly unfolds over half a dozen hours in an inhospitable world. It's a beautiful realm, with gorgeous water and air bubble effects and enthralling underwater sounds complemented by atmospheric music. But it's also dangerous. If the encroaching ice or intense pressure doesn't kill you, a nasty fall or an aggressive aquatic creature might. Our hero faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles in his quest to survive, but he never gives up, using a mix of wits to work out solutions to contextual puzzles and brawn to take on the deadly fish of the deep. Using air canisters to boost through the water is handy and fun, but the constant need to replenish oxygen means you have to be careful in choosing when to use them. It's not an easy game.
That's why it's better experienced using a traditional controller -- either on Switch or on a mobile device with a Bluetooth gamepad. Jumping, boosting, and floating are hard enough on their own without adding finicky touch controls to the equation. Aiming on a touchscreen can be tricky, too -- especially while moving. Add in a confusing opening hour, when players are provided scant instructions, easily getting themselves stuck and unable to progress, and some people are bound to grow aggravated. If you can play with a gamepad, it becomes a much more accessible experience, leaving players free to fully appreciate the thoughtful narrative while gracefully moving around the sea floor. Shinsekai: Into the Depths is a smart and bold take on side-scrolling adventures, and it's well worth a look for players interested in an adventure with more than just button-mashing action.
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