Under the Waves is a narrative driven game about grief set at the bottom of the North Sea. You follow Stan as he takes up a job working for a mysterious company, which comes complete with various benefits, like a nice little underwater base, a submarine to get around in, an oxygen tank (that’s more tank than oxygen), and the crushing terror of being below millions of gallons of water many fathoms from another living human soul. So, the standard benefits package.
Stan took this job to get away from and deal with his grief, and he’s very successful in his isolationist endeavour, as he is basically the only human you’ll see in this game. You’ll only hear two others: his wife over the phone and Stan’s supervisor, Tim, who will be assigning your tasks by radio. Working for underwater oil drilling companies isn’t as exciting as you’d think once you get past how utterly beautiful everything is, as you’ll spend much of your time troubleshooting problems and swimming to get to them. There’s a bit of light puzzling involved as well, but the focus isn’t really on the tasks themselves, they’re more a framework to deliver the story.
They might not be exciting, but I did find it to be immensely relaxing, swimming or subbing through the gorgeous underwater vistas and marvelling at the vaguely ominous shapes on the seabed. There was a brief moment of panic when I saw some sharks, but then they just swam around me harmlessly and scattered, lulling me back into a calm reverie.
The narrative woven through all of this is well written and, at times, heartbreakingly sad. There’s a couple of unresolved threads that I was a little disappointed with, but the focus really is on Stan’s journey so I can understand why they were left hanging. DialogueRead more on thesixthaxis.com