Status: Early Access
Developer: Hit The Crow
Publisher: Hit The Crow
Release date: 3rd December 2015
I can’t imagine making a video game is a particularly simple task, even when there are enough devs working on it to invade a small country. This is why I have nothing but respect for the few who dare take on the leviathan task of creating their own video game, whether they’re by themselves or with a friend.
This is exactly how I feel about Sunken. The moment I knew that only two people were behind the creation of this game, I couldn’t help be feel a tinge of admiration for them.That being said, there are certain limitations that can be expected with a game that’s been clearly made on a budget. Either way, I enjoyed Sunken for what it is.
Sunken will be immediately familiar with people who’ve played Diablo or Torchlight. It’s a dungeon crawler with a few roguelike elements thrown in for good measure. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. In this kind of game, anything vaguely roguelike is definitely a good thing. It adds a level of difficulty that a lot of games nowadays lack, seeing as you never sure what you’ll be facing the next time your replay a level.
I think the thing I like about Sunken the most however, is its artstyle. I was never a huge Dark Souls fan, but I always thought they were great looking games with a very unique aesthetic. The same applies with Sunken. While I can’t say for sure if the look of this game was inspired by Dark Souls, it certainly seems that way. It’s dark, moody and filled with what looks like the remnants of an old civilization that are trying to kill you. Take all of that into account and you’ve basically got Dark Souls. Even the story feels like it would fit in a Dark Souls game, which is another thing I really like. I was thrust into this world, with a character who I’m assuming is dead, who has a history I know very little about. I especially like the fact that the developers took the time to voice all the diary entries I found littered around the levels. For a game made by two people, I really do appreciate the little details like that.
The one thing I didn’t like about the game was how floaty the combat felt. Hitting stuff just didn’t feel as satisfying as I would have liked. There wasn’t enough crunch when I hit things, and I felt like the selection of skills was very limited. In a game like this, the combat is easily the most important thing, seeing as you’ll be spending most of your time hitting things. There were also very few animations, which made the combat look quite lackluster. While none of those things bothered me that much, and I realize that a lot of these problems come from the fact that only two guys are working on it, it still impacted my enjoyment enough to warrant bringing them up. That being said, I feel like this isn’t the last iteration of Sunken that we’ll ever see, and hopefully the developers will keep improving the game overall.
The level design is something I particularly enjoyed. There are lots of corridors and places to explore, and I’m happy to say that I never felt railroaded towards completing the level. What I especially like is the fact that exploring rewarded me with tidbits of lore that I found particularly interesting. The voice acting was a little…suspect, but interesting to listen to nonetheless. The levels that I played were also incredibly varied. As I said before, the first level had a very Dark Souls vibe and felt like the kind of dungeon that a lot of people would be familiar with. The second level on the other hand, was set in a strange alien-looking desert world. I can definitely appreciate the effort these guys put in to making the game varied.
The only thing I can really say about Sunken is that it feels a little unfinished. Granted, it’s pretty fun and has a great atmosphere, but there just feels like a lot is missing. The lack of oomph in the combat, as well as the lack of animations, makes the combat nowhere near as visceral as it should be.
The game just feels very barebones at the moment. There is a lot of potential here, but if you play this game expecting something that is completely finished then you might be in for a little disappointment. That being said, what the game offers is pretty solid for the most part. It’s fun, easy to get in to, and should satisfy the itch of any dungeon crawler fans who are looking for something new to play.