Sunless Sea – Early Access Impressions
The zee, the dark inky zee, have you explored the zee yet? You might be confused, but you see, the zee is the sea in Sunless Sea. Still with me I hope as Sunless Sea is a gorgeous 2D exploration, survival and adventure game that is currently available on Steam Early Access. I’ve been playing and thoroughly enjoying this wonderful little game.
You take charge of a small ship set in the world of Fallen London a browser based story adventure from developers Failbetter Games. Sunless Sea’s roots in Fallen London are clear, this is a game where the tales you weave lie at the heart of everything. You choose a history for your zee captain and then pick an ambition for your career. While only a limited selection of backgrounds and ambitions are available at the moment, the current options give you a strong sense of place within this dark, wet world.
The story of the world itself is out there on the open zee for you to find, but as you leave the safe harbour of Fallen London, you soon realise this isn’t an entirely forgiving place to ply your trade.
During my attempts to smuggle people hiding inside coffins to a town north of Fallen London, I was attacked by vicious bats and a rogue vessel. When exploring to the north-east of the world, I found a strange portal to another land and massive lumbering beasts in the water that threatened to crush my small ship with nary a second thought.
I brought news from Fallen London to lonely mining stations whose inhabitants yearn to leave their dark rock they call home. In return for bringing this news, you bring a report back to the Admiralty in Fallen London, the authority that you work for to earn the local currency known as Echoes.
On a small island near Fallen London, one of my first landing spots, I found three sisters. On each visit I had lunch with a different sister in an attempt to gather more supplies to feed my sailors before a mysterious terror struck the sisters down which led me to (accidentally) burn down their home.
When returning from a journey far to the south, my small steam ship ran out of fuel which threatened to leave me floating without hope of rescue. I took the foolhardy decision to turn my supplies into fuel, cursing that I threw the bat corpses overboard rather than into the broth. As I journeyed back to Fallen London…all hope was lost as my crew ran out of supplies and the engines out of fuel. Another life was wasted. The legacy of Sauron, a Natural Philosopher who sought to become the zee’s most famed explorer, lived on. On Sauron’s deathbed, he bequeathed his chart of the zee to his successor, Saruman who suffered at the hands of the bandits and in turn left his officers of the ship to Chris.
This is a game rich with potential and an art style that is to die for. Failbetter Games also have a well planned development roadmap for the next few months so you can keep track of how the team are doing, bring on September and the final release, I can’t wait.