Diluvion is a recently released game from the studio Arachnid Games and is available on Steam for $19.99.
When first looking at Diluvion, you will be immediately drawn in by it’s gorgeous and unique take on the submarine combat genre. In this game, you are the Captain, in charge of a submarine and its crew as you search for an answer to humanity’s bleak future. It’s blend of 2d shipbuilding and 3d action-exploration is a refreshing mix of these genres. There is a lot of idea in this Diluvion, but I’m unsure if the development team at Arachnid Games are able to pull this concept into a cohesive game.
Easily this game’s biggest draw is its visual style. When scrolling through Steam to find a game to play, it’s color selection and tone make this game an almost immediate purchase over others. Once you load up the game and begin to play, the art is very successful at pulling you into its setting, and you feel will feel enchanted. Once some time has been put into the game, this solid pillar of art they have built for you slowly starts to crumble. As you begin to interact with other in-game characters in their “bases” the art style begins to crack. Character designs are re-used a little too heavily and make the world feel unbelievable very quickly. Once you begin to jump back and forth between the 2d game, and it’s 3d world counterpart, the art direction really begins to detach itself from a solid cohesive design. Diluvion’s most offensive design decision comes from its menu and dialogue system. It’s mobile gaming bubble dialogue selection feel’s wholly out of place, and more like a cheap design compromise for development time than a team wanting to make its best game.
The sound in this game is fairly well done. Its soundtrack set the tone wonderfully for the type of game that you’re in. Its combat music would raise panic inside your heart as you cruised peacefully through the ocean. Sound effects made impacts from combat and running into sea walls feel real.
Gameplay is this game can be broken down into two sections, it’s simple 2d submarine building, and then its 3d action-exploration phase. The submarine building feels somewhat similar to its contemporaries like Fallout: Shelter and FTL: Faster Than light; the only depth comes from you stationing different crewmen at different sections of the ship to increase that section’s performance. I wish that there was more here, the game takes care of a lot of micro-management for you – which, if you’re not into that, this is great. But for me, I was wanting to feel like I was more intimately taking care of my ship and crew. The lack of this intimacy left me feeling more aloof to my ship then I would have liked.
Diluvion finds it’s footing when you are guiding your submarine in the 3d part of the game. The exploration into the depths of the sea just feels good. Adjusting your depth to dodge different parts of its map is a really great timesink to lose your mind into. The controls are just alright. While straightforward enough to understand what you should be doing, they lack an intuitive flow that will cause you to slam into the floor and walls of the sea. Combat in Diluvion is handled great. When battling with patrols and underwater pirates you feel a sense of accomplishment from taking on bigger ships. It’s lead-reticle HUD is a great design choice and eases any learning curve you would have.
My largest complaint with the gameplay of Diluvion would be its decisions with navigation and map awareness overall. When viewing the main map you really are not given any sense of where you are actually at on it. Instead, you look at the map for landmarks and then base your general position off of your compass showing what directions these landmarks are. It’s kind of confusing and at point outright frustrating. To try to ease the pain of being lost in a vast ocean, the developers added a very creative quest line indicator to guide you from one quest location to the next. While at time ‘s this is absolutely needed, some of those absolute times have your quest line running directly into a wall that you have no way to get around. You’ll find yourself spending more time looking for a location than enjoying the game.
The story in Diluvion isn’t handled as well as I would have liked it to be. You’re introduced to its story through a storyboard text narrative. It’s not breaking any new ground but does do an effective job at pulling you into its world and setting up key elements that you should expect to come up later in the game. The ball is really dropped by the team through dialogue system. The way the story is being told after the introduction feels unengaging and I soon found myself not even thinking about story shortly after I began playing it.
After spending time with Diluvion, I came away feeling that there is a game that almost works really, really, well. But in almost every aspect, Arachnid Games just needs to tighten up its focus. For a game that wasn’t released into Early Access, the developer has already pushed out quite a few updates trying to fix what they got wrong. You can’t say for sure whether or not they will fix this into a good game, but for me, for $20.00 – I would skip Diluvion.
Reviewed by: Brian @drnkie
Broken Review is a segment on the weekly podcast Broken Controllers. You can find us live every Saturday night at 8 pm est on twitch.tv/backspacenomads. To connect with us, follow our twitter, @backspacenomads.
Josh @JoshuaGoode: Diluvion has a lot going for it but funky transitions and mechanics left me sinking. Full of character but don’t buy it, yet. Dev appears to be updating to address these issues
Monica @UnicornholeTV: A funky underwater adventure in a god-punished world sets the scene for Diluvion but the quests and game dynamics leave something to be desired. Make sure this game is your type before purchase.
Brian @drnkie: Diluvion had me extremely excited to dive into the depths of its unique gameplay and art style. The developer missed the mark, but I hope they can use updates to finish their vision.