Overview: Shinsekai: Into The Depths – A Watery Twist On The Metroidvania Format

Captured on Nintendo Change (Handheld/Undocked)

We should not be shocked any longer when a mobile-to-Change port seems to be respectable. There are far too many examples to checklist right here, however only in the near past each Exit The Gungeon and Oddmar have acquitted themselves admirably.

Even so, we’re as shocked as you’re to notice that the most recent must-have Metroidvania began out life on iPhone. It is maybe somewhat extra comprehensible when you think about that Shinsekai: Into The Depths stems from console powerhouse Capcom, however nonetheless. These are unusual instances we’re dwelling in.

Not as unusual as these skilled by our mute deep-sea diver protagonist, although. Theirs is a totally submerged world the place the acquainted (bicycles, site visitors lights, avenue indicators) splashes round with the alien (mysterious artefacts, superior know-how). Along with the sport’s give attention to show-don’t-tell storytelling and a UI that is filled with arcane symbols (generally to the sport’s detriment), all of it combines to create one of the distinctive recreation worlds on Change – although it is one which carries clear traces of some platforming greats.

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Captured on Nintendo Change (Docked)

Shinsekai: Into The Depths is a side-scrolling Metroidvania, but it surely fairly weirdly reminded us extra of Metroid Prime than any of Samus Aran’s 2D adventures. Maybe it is the extra sedate and exploratory tempo, or the weighty-yet-floaty motion of the hero. It might be the give attention to extracting and documenting info out of your surroundings and even the bloopy type of the atmospheric soundtrack.

Elsewhere there are echoes of Sonic The Hedgehog‘s Labyrinth Zone in the best way that you should search out air bubbles to recharge your depleting air provide. In the meantime, the fixed must mine for treasured gems – which pay for enhancements to your tools so as to delve ever deeper – reminded us of Steamworld Dig.

Key to the sport’s distinctive character is the best way it handles motion. Your character stomps alongside of their hefty diving swimsuit, weighted to the rocky ground however extraordinarily vulnerable to slips and tumbles. Holding soar or urgent up will convert a few of your air provide right into a directional increase, primarily supplying you with the ability of semi-controlled flight. It is directly empowering and thrillingly perilous, as a tough touchdown or collision will crack and finally destroy certainly one of your treasured air tanks.

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Captured on Nintendo Change (Docked)

Thankfully, these tanks might be restored by one of many many replacements dotted across the recreation’s free-roaming ranges. Alongside the aforementioned gem forex, you will encounter save factors, contemporary tools (this can be a Metroidvania, in any case) and supplies for upgrading and restocking your gear. There’s each incentive to step out and discover your watery environment. Merely forcing again the fog of conflict and mapping out this shimmering surroundings is a compelling incentive in itself.

It is honest to this hostile surroundings you end up in your greatest enemy. At a sure level within the recreation, you will be granted an umbilical wire offering limitless air and propulsion, and you will find your self stretching it so far as it’s going to undergo the sport’s winding cave programs, reluctant to disconnect and watch that fragile bar deplete.

Apart from these air provide issues, there is a wealthy array of aggressive underwater life to take care of, from sparky jellyfish to devastating bottom-feeding sharks. Your most elementary (but reliable) recourse is to whack them together with your pickaxe, however there’s additionally a very potent shotgun-like spear gun, a harpoon launcher, and a taser-like gizmo to lean on. You may additionally accumulate some extra unique tools – corresponding to a robotic drone assistant that can retrieve distant tools – and a Nautilus-like submarine with a strong wall-demolishing drill.

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Captured on Nintendo Change (Handheld/Undocked)

Shinsekai: Into The Depths is a delight to play, but it surely’s not excellent. We observed quite a lot of efficiency points when the display acquired busy. Throughout one boss battle, we virtually thought the sport had entered a stylised slow-motion state, such was the extent of the body fee hit. Additionally, that aforementioned assistant drone is somewhat glitchy, snagging on objects and dragging alongside gadgets even when you haven’t any capability to select them up.

Lastly, the UI generally is a little too busy and hard to decipher. We get that the developer is taking pictures for a contemporary, alien really feel right here, however generally it comes at the price of legibility. And whereas the sport’s word-free strategy to narrative is a neat concept, it does make the lore and the background story somewhat robust to comply with. This understated strategy additionally appears to fail whenever you encounter one of many recreation’s clunky textual content descriptions. It is virtually like these had been added pretty late in manufacturing after focus-testing revealed that gamers had been getting confused.

However these are all comparatively minor gripes, and the technical points specifically ought to hopefully get addressed in future updates. All in all, Shinsekai: Into The Depths is among the most immersive and downright attention-grabbing platform-adventures we have seen on Change in fairly a while.

Conclusion

Shinsekai: Into The Depths is a bracingly contemporary Metroidvania with a memorable underwater setting and compelling motion mechanics. For those who’re after a platformer that values exploration and navigation over arcade motion – and that is not afraid to strive one thing somewhat completely different with the format – then we wholeheartedly advocate dipping your toes into Shinsekai’s unique waters.

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