Depth Hunter 2: Deep Dive is a casual and relaxing first-person diving/snorkling game where you explore 3 different locations (Thailand, South Africa and the Bahamas) to search for gold and treasures, hunt fish or take photos of the underwater life.
There's no story present at all. From the main menu you pick the first of the 3 locations and then start on a boat where you receive your first task. Once you accept it, you spawn underwater and have to complete the task in order to get the next one. Quite frankly, not every game needs a deep and meaningful story, but at least some sort of introduction or explanation who you are, why you're there and what you do there would have been nice.
The game was originally developed for iOS and the PC version is pretty much just a port with a couple graphics settings (brightness, resolution, fullscreen, image quality, sun shadows, SSAO, water reflection and vsync) added to it. Personally, though, I have not much to complain about the graphics. You surely can't expect next-gen visuals, but there are quite a lot native/PC-exclusive games that look much, much worse than DH2:DD. Especially the lighting works really great in the underwater scenario and some areas, such as the underwater caves with sunrays shining through cave openings, look outright beautiful.
The music is really good and perfectly fits the relaxing underwater atmosphere, however, the tracks tend to abruptly end when the next track starts playing, so this can be a bit annoying at times, but it's not much of a big deal. What's a real immersion killer, though, are all the other sounds such as the chime when you catch a fish or the coin sound when you pick up treasures or coins. They're way too loud compared to the music and the enviromental sounds and become extremely annoying after a while - especially, when you're on a hunting spree.
The gameplay is fairly simple and easy to get into. Since this is more of an arcade-y game rather than an actual simulation, you don't have to worry about anything else other than your oxygen level, which can be replenished by simply swimming to the surface and taking a deep breath.
There are basically 3 different 'categories' of tasks in different variations: Hunt species, collect treasures and photograph species or the enviroment. The hunting and collecting tasks sometimes come with a time limit where you have to hunt as many fish or collect as many treasures as possible within 5 or 10 minutes, however, since the game rewards you for the task itself only and doesn't take into consideration how many fish you have hunted or how many treasures you have collected, you might as well just hunt 1 fish or collect 1 treasure and let the time run out while you do something else. Since there aren't any highscores or leaderboards, you don't know how you did compared to your previous timed (treasure) hunt, so there's absolutely no point in trying because there's really nothing to win here.
For every action (hunting, collecting, photographing) you earn XP and money. While you can waste your time and search the ground for coins or treasures, hunting fish is by far the easiest, fastest and most profitable way of earning both XP and cash and if you do nothing but hunting for the first couple minutes of the game, you will have amassed enough money to completely upgrade your fins, spear, oxygen and your camera, so you don't need to worry about them later on. So much for long-term motivation.
The XP, though, is entirely meaningless and might as well not be there at all. When you level up, you get a small cash bonus as a reward, which isn't more than a nice gesture because you can easily get that amount of money by hunting 2 or 3 fish in a couple of seconds. Since you don't have any stats that could increase when you level up, this feature probably just got implemented to give the player the illusion of progress but ultimately fails to.
While the tasks are fun in the first location, you quickly notice that you're really doing nothing else than the same things over and over again across all 3 locations, so this can get a bit boring after a while. Swimming around to look for interesting stuff is rather pointless, too. The locations aren't really big and apart from a plane or a ship wreck, there's really not much to see or explore on any of the 3 locations.
The game does feature a nice amount of species (various fish, crabs, dolphins, sharks, manta rays, ...), though, so it's probably a nice thing for sealife lovers to swim around and identify the different species or just look at them. It really does have a mesmerizing effect to see a gigantice blue whale swim around in the Bahamas.
Note, though, that if you want to troll around and try to hunt a shark - you can't. Nothing else other than regular fish can be hunted. If you aim at a shark, dolphin, manta ray or such, your crosshair will turn red and a red 'Don't shoot!' note will pop up above it. It's nice that the developers obviously cared about wildlife conservation, but come on... this is a chance wasted for another set of tasks that could've enhanced the gameplay a bit.
Playtime & Replayability
It took me roughly 3.5 hours to beat the game, however, I was also going for the achievements since they seemed rather easy to obtain (more on that below), but if you don't care about them and just rush from task to task, you can probably beat the game in 2 hours or less.
15 of the 17 achievements are indeed easy to unlock, however, there are 2 extremely grindy ones: 'Captain Nemo' - Spend 24 hours underwater and 'Pro Swimmer' - Swim underwater for 100km. Upon completion of the last location, I was at about 33km/100km, so that means that I would have to spend another 7 hours or so just swimming around aimlessly. And another 14 hours to get the 'Captain Nemo' achievement. Uh.... nope.
I wish that developers in general would finally understand that such achievements aren't funny or fun to obtain. They're plain annoying and dumb - especially in a game that doesn't even remotely provide enough content to keep the player busy for such a long time. What's worse: you can't even let the game running in the background because a fully upgraded oxygen will only let you stay underwater for around 15 minutes until you drown, so you would have to get back into the game ever so often to catch a breath.
While the tasks are pretty uninspired, I actually enjoyed just swimming around and doing them because the enviroment paired with the music really produce an extremely relaxing atmosphere, so I would tend towards a thumb up if you're looking for a way to unwind after a hard day of work or before going to bed.
However, the more time you spend in the game, the more you notice that it feels like a game where the developer had quite a couple of good ideas but ultimately failed to work them out properly and just left them in the game in an unfinished state. If you let the players earn cash, don't make the equipment so cheap that it becomes entirely useless to amass even more money once you have fully upgraded it. If you let the players earn XP, reward them with something that makes a difference to the gameplay. If you don't let the players hunt certain species and thus limit the interaction with the enviroment, at least tell them why...
I definitely can't recommend the game at its full price. It simply doesn't have enough gameplay, content and polish to justify the pricing. I probably wouldn't even recommend it at anything below 75% off due to this. Seeing that the game has already been bundled 3 times, it's probably better to wait until it shows up in another bundle if you really want to get it for cheap.