LOSE YOUR MIND. EAT YOUR CREW. Take the helm of your customised steamship and set sail for the unknown! Sunless Sea is a 2D game of discovery, survival and loneliness set in the award-winning Victorian Gothic universe of Fallen London.
User reviews: Very Positive (445 reviews)
Release Date: Jul 1, 2014

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“This is a late beta with a huge amount of story content, waiting on more content, balancing changes and final polish. You can complete the game right now, but there are more stories popping every week. We have a road map here: http://www.failbettergames.com/sunlesssearoadmap/.

Sunless Sea is a game of exploration and discovery. We're providing a big world with a wealth of sights and stories out there for you to discover. It's the content that takes the time.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We are now on the final stretch: Sunless Sea leaves Early Access in February 2015!

Here's our road map. The tl;dr version:

CORSAIR'S GOLD - our Steam Early Access release on 1st July. [COMPLETE!]

EMERALD - late July. [COMPLETE!]

STEEL - slated for release end September. A release focused primarily on the combat experience (including beastie AI and behaviour). [COMPLETE!]

CARNELIAN - late October. [COMPLETE!]

SAPPHIRE - end November. [COMPLETE!]

DIAMOND - start January.

PEARL – early February. Final release!”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“The map will be larger. Story content will be correspondingly broader. Mechanics will be tuned and finalised, especially Legacies and combat.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“Playable and completable; waiting on more islands and more stories. Our Kickstarter backers have been playing and enjoying it in closed beta since April 2014 and we have been in Early Access since July.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“Same price , but if you purchase during Early Access we commit to lifetime access to any extra areas or DLC we provide. We're committed to at least one piece of DLC from the Kickstarter stretch goal - a submersible expansion.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We monitor, respond to and implement suggestions via forums and via a dedicated support address. There's an active and friendly community already: dive in!”
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Recommended By Curators

"Far from finished, but its twisted adventures in a sunken world filled with unspeakable horrors, dark decisions and sublime words are not to be missed."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (21)

December 18

THE HOME STRETCH!

Lots of new players this week. Did you find us in the sale, or maybe you saw that Rock, Paper, Shotgun named Sunless Sea as one of the Bestest Best Games of 2014? No matter: you’re very welcome!

We live in exciting times. There is one more update in January before we leave Early Access in early February! Here’s what’s coming up in SUNLESS SEA.

DIAMOND release - coming early Jan

Lots of improvements to combat. New attack characteristics, more variation in zee-beast behaviour. More polished animations and effects.

The map will be very close to complete. As an early Christmas present, we’re posting some of the upcoming islands on art director Paul Arendt’s Tumblr.

There will also be some major story content: Irem and the Pillared Sea, the Empire of Hands, Frostfound and the sun-touched Calumnies.

PEARL release - coming early Feb

Sunless Sea leaves early access! Completed plot and map, lots of polish and glitter.

This has been a huge year for us and many of you have been with us for the whole journey. Thank you for your support, criticism and feedback. Thank you for trusting us to do Early Access right.

We can’t wait to reveal the completed game for you in February; but until then we hope the Diamond release in January will give you lots to look forward to.

Track our progress to launch here.

A very merry winterval, friends!
Failbetter Games

9 comments Read more

November 27

SAPPHIRE IS HERE!

A multi-faceted update: new stories, new gameplay and a feast of new artwork. V0.6.3.1751 is live on Steam now, Humble will follow later today.

GAMEPLAY

New legacies!
When you die, choose your relationship to the late captain. More control over what you receive to take into your next game, and an idea of why you got it.

Fellow travellers!
Neutral ships. Sail alongside them and your crew will be soothed by their presence. Follow them to discover new trade routes. Shoot at them if you fancy, but they will retaliate.

See the full patch notes for more updates and tweaks to gameplay.

STORIES!

Stories galore! Espionage, masked encounters, cruelty, desire and a mystery from Fallen London’s past... If you haven't been getting new stories as they become avialable, you're in for a feast.

"In the chilly spaces of the Garden Tower, your contact pleads for a taste. Just for a taste. You give them much more, and their gratitude is boundless."

Establish a network of agents under the nose of the Khanate. Use and sacrifice them for Intelligence. Feed secrets to the Admiral or with the Voracious Diplomat, and determine London's destiny…

"All visitors must pass, one by one, through a room guarded by a person in the mask of a Moon-Moth..."

The isle named Visage is now open, if you are prepared to go masked. Our most enigmatic island yet. Learn the etiquette of masks. Ascend the ranks. Uncover the confessions of Flourishing-of-Years.

"Welcome to the Isle of Cats," the Wide-Eyed Dockmaster says brightly. "Would you like to bribe me not to write down your details in this nice official ledger?"

Unravel a tale of memory, cruelty and desire, with the King's Claw, the Lady of the Cages, and a mystery from Fallen London's past...

ART!

The Sea of Lilies now exists for you to sail to and pretend you’re in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, except the lilies are really mushrooms, and there’s a prison.

We’re also filling in the gaps in icons and generally prettifying the game, which we hope you like.

As ever we await your exceedingly helpful feedback. Enjoy!

7 comments Read more
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Reviews

“Sunless Sea takes the excellent writing and world-building of Fallen London, and injects it into a 2D exploration, trading and survival game. It’s Elite but with steamships instead of starships.”
Rock Paper Shotgun

“A wonderful prospect: a game of exploration, loneliness, risk, adventure and madness taking place across a vast subterranean ocean riddled with islands, with dangers, with dripping trophies of the deep.”
Eurogamer

About This Game

LOSE YOUR MIND. EAT YOUR CREW.

Take the helm of your customised steamship and set sail for the unknown! Sunless Sea is a 2D game of discovery, survival and loneliness set in the award-winning Victorian Gothic universe of Fallen London. Will you succumb to madness and cannibalism on the black waters? Or return home triumphant with a hold full of precious loot?

Events can turn out differently every game - sometimes, even if you make the same choices. Will you lose your sweetheart to a curse? Redeem, betray or consume the Genial Magician? Sell your soul to the Wistful Deviless or spurn her advances? Is the Dawn Machine your salvation, or your doom?

You are the captain. It’s your call.

Key features

  • A deep, compelling world packed with secrets and stories
  • Beautiful, hand drawn 2D art
  • Light and dark. Stray too far from the gas-lamps of civilisation and your crew will grow fearful and eventually lose their sanity. But there is treasure out there in the darkness…
  • Real-time, pausable combat with dozens of different abilities
  • Leave a legacy! When you die (and you will) your next captain may choose to inherit a skill, a chart of discovered islands or a beloved officer.
  • Upgrade your steamship with powerful engines, flensing cannons, and pneumatic torpedo guns. Or just buy a bigger, better ship.
  • Hire unique officers like the Haunted Doctor and the Irrepressible Cannoneer. Each has a story to tell, if you can draw it out of them.
  • Choose from a menagerie of ship’s mascots: the Comatose Ferret, the Wretched Mog, the Elegiac Cockatoo, and more!
  • Trade silk and souls, mushroom wine and hallucinogenic honey...
  • Cross the wide black sea
  • Find your way home

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP or later
    • Processor: 2Ghz or better
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 1280x768 minimum resolution, DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 700 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
    • Processor: 2Ghz or better
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 1280x768 minimum resolution, DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card
    • Hard Drive: 700 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
Helpful customer reviews
4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
29.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 1
Early Access Review
this game is beautifully written, this game is an epic story that changes with every replay, find your way through the unterzee and never forget how much an echo is worth when you are low on fuel or food. purchase if you like text adventures with some action at the helm of a steam ship
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
15.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 27
Early Access Review
Definitely not a full game but Sunless Sea is undoubtedly fun, combining exploration with a beautifuly crafted world courtesy of Failbetter games' amazing writing and the fleshed out game world their browser game Fallen London introduced. Sunless Sea is for me a must get
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 18
Early Access Review
This is a fantstic game. It is the right mix of story and challenging gameplay with a Dwarf Fortress style learn form your mistakes mantra. The legacy options when you die make you want to start again right away and forge ahead. I have played the browser game for a number of years and love the world of Fallen London that Fail Better has created. I am so happy I get to explore Fallen London in a much more immersive enviroment that retains the charm and asthetics of the original browser game. This is a must have for people interested in 2d exploration games with a strong story and focus on world building.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
40.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 22
Early Access Review
This game, when finished might be amazing. As it stands right now too much of the player experiences sucess is based soley on gettign lucky. Want to buy a new ship? Not getting there with anything less than 100 hours of grinding multiple characters or by getting lucky with multiple rare judgement egg drops. The commerce section of the game is just not up to par with the rest of the game. Once Failbetter fixes that then you'll be able to enjoy the great story, the cool atmosphere, and the interesting idea behind the game without having to grind a economy that you can make almost nothing from due to the fact you constantly are burning fuel and supplies that cost more than you are going to make running any kind of goods anywhere.
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1,249 of 1,341 people (93%) found this review helpful
9.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 1
Early Access Review
Captain's Log, Day 13. We haven't seen coast in nearly two weeks now, and the men are growing restless... what men I have left. Three have bailed ship since we left port. In vain we tried to retrieve them, further depleting our fuel. My one officer, a shifty surgeon, keeps his many secrets to himself. My mascot, a sickly ferret, just rolls his eyes at me. Great crabs circle menacingly and pirates grow bolder. And the reefs, like ghoulish skulls... they stare from great and empty sockets from the dark and swirling abyss, yawning their maws invitingly. “Come now captain,” they seem to grumble, “come now and sleep.” It is sorely tempting. The rum is getting to my head. I'll sleep now, I think.

“Sunless Sea” is essentially Early Access H.P. Lovecraft. You're presented with a rich alternative universe: Victorian London has sunk beneath the waves and the steampunk denizens of this new world set sail, seeking treasure and purpose only to find madness and horror. It's an RPG through and through, a classic one at that. You'll select your captain's silhouette, title, and backstory (OR MYSTERIOUS LACK OF A BACKSTORY) and set sail. Random events will occur at sea with chance outcomes. Do you take a risky action in the hopes of some gain, or do you play it safe? The combat is turn-based/tactical but... happening in real time? You can pause and choose your actions FTL-style or just go off the handle, selecting maneuvers, firing weapons, and illuminating your targets in the dark and treacherous waters. You'll travel to distant ports, selling souls for more fuel and supplies, upgrading your ship, and hiring new crew, all the while unraveling the secrets this strange world holds. And when you expire (or sleep that long and fitful sleep) you can carry discoveries or important crew to your next game.

It's very rewarding to explore, and the devs promise even further expansion. Landmarks will appear on your map and your journal will fill up quickly as you drift further and further out to sea... but always keep an eye on your supplies, fuel, hull health, and crew terror levels. It would be foolhardy to stray so far from home only to find yourself crazed, eating your crew as madness envelopes you like a malevolent blanket. Or a giant ♥♥♥♥ crab decides to slice your little ship in half, whatever comes to turn first (edit: there are no giant ♥♥♥♥ crabs, unfortunately. I use ♥♥♥♥ as a descriptor. Sorry!).


This is a fun game. A twisted romp through Cthulhu's sunken playground. Like with all Early Access stuff, you can wait if you're hesitant. But the developers have crafted a deep and fascinating game here and promise to update consistently. You can visit their website and see what they've done so far to help you make your decision.

If you're a fan of FTL, of Lovecraft, classic RPG elements, and roguelikes, then you'll enjoy “Sunless Sea.”

Now sleep. You've earned it.
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339 of 374 people (91%) found this review helpful
92.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 1
Early Access Review
This game is actually . . . a lot like Fallen London. It's almost more of an immensely well-written and beautifully-illustrated Choose Your Own Adventure novel than it is a traditional action game. There are definitely a lot of game elements, but the real draw is the writing and the artwork.

I haven't played many other similar games but it reminds me a lot of Darklands, actually, at least in that you're traveling over a great big area dotted with ports, and the story happens mostly through illustrated text blocks in those ports.

In terms of gameplay, you sail (well, steam) your little boat around and you can upgrade it with better engines, guns,etc., or upgrade to even fancier boats once you're zee-rich. There are lots of sea-monsters that travel at varying speeds and in specific areas and so you have to either fight them (using a combat interface with various timed attacks and dodges in a queue) or evade them by clever sailing (loop around them, angle so you go past them, outrun them if you have a fancy engine). You can make money by running missions and trading between ports and capturing pirate ships and selling off the exotic oddities you find in the gullets of slain sea-beasts.

On top of that, there's a light/dark/terror mechanic; shores are illuminated and there are lighthouses and lantern-buoys scattered around, but most of the sea is dark. When you're out in the dark your Terror rises, when you're in lit areas it doesn't. As your terror rises bad things start happening and at 100 Terror your crew mutinies and you have to pass a stat check or lose the game. You can lower Terror in towns with various options, but not (generally) while at sea. Net result is that travel is largely about scuttering from lighted point to lighted point and sticking close to shore, and minimizing long plunges into the dark (though such are necessary from time to time).

The game is a bit sedate to play -- you can pause to think at any time -- and they're still implementing a lot of the planned content and tweaking the balance. There's enough implemented that it's very much worth playing, though.

The real strength of the game is the writing and the artwork and the atmosphere; it's powerfully evocative, amusing and intriguing and chilling by turns, and just a pleasure to play. It's definitely not an action game, but it's an experience worth having.

edit: I should mention that I've mostly played the Humble Bundle version as until recently they hadn't fully set up patching through Steam. T
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775 of 956 people (81%) found this review helpful
6.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 3
Early Access Review
This is not a good game.

...Or at least, not yet.

I bought Sunless Sea because it reminded me of a very good comic called Leviathen and an RPG called Unhallowed Metropolis, which has some similar themes of unknowable horror in that sort of Victorian/Edwardian period.
The setting is very impressive, it is a fantastically rich world of Victorian London - spun through a dark mirror and dumped on the shores of a bleak and desolate ocean, where madness is your only companion. Which personally, sounds wicked!
I can definately see the sources it cites, the dark humour of Don't Starve, elements of the Cthulhu Mythos and it's atmosphere. All good stuff.
I've not played it, but I can see why the broswer game this is based off of, Fallen London, is such a big hit.

However. The game itself, which as I understand the progress updates is nearing completion, just isn't *fun* presently. You could perhaps argue that is the point of such a dark world, but let me point out a few things I take issue with...

1) Money making. Maybe it's the present patch, but it seems you can't trade anything with anyone. The only port I've found (Venderbight) that accepts goods in it's "shop" (all the others I have found just sell supplies and fuel for your ship and are not interested in trade goods) offer for the two goods you can sell either a paltry profit of two bucks, or 'Echos' or a loss of about 7 Echoes? At the moment, trade just doesn't seem worth it at all. Like, at all.
Even if you were to take a load of goods to Venderbight, you are coming back to London empty as there are no trade goods to buy. What the sense make?!

So the only other way of making money is doing survey missions (or hovering around the starting area capturing pirate ships for prize money), which is fine but often you'll find your profit margain getting wiped out by having to replace your fuel and crew used in the journey, as well as 'carousing' back at port.

In essence, it seems almost impossible to get any amount of money. Some two hours in and I'm still struggling to get more than a few hundred Echoes, with dreams of buying upgrades or a new boat a very, very long way off.
I appreciate it defeats the challenge if they just give you a pot of gold easily, but at the moment it's far too difficult and the grind for cash is painfully slow and not enjoyable - given the limited amount of ways you can make money.

2) Terror. What an excellent idea, as you sail the black ocean, darkness all around you, only the chug of the engine and the weak bloom of your headlamp lighting the way - the miasma of fear and paranoia starts to grip your crews minds... Bells in the distance.. Giant, squid eyes watching you from beneath the waves...
Again, all good stuff. The more terror you accure, the stranger things occur and eventually you go mad. However, given that you start at 0 and within the space of one trip (within the starting area where the terror affect is less) go up to about 50+ out of a 100! That's a big steep isn't it?! I thought these were hardened sea hands, not yellow bellied land-lubbers?!

The best way of avoiding a terror increase is planning your route so you sail through area light by bouys or remain very close to shore. Makes sense. But sometimes you have to find yourself sailing for about ten seconds in a dark area or drift a smidgen away from shore and your terror ROCKETS, I mean, it just flies up at a rate of knots!
Calm down lads, the shore is still on screen but.. - oh? Apparently that's not close enough. Even when a light ship or a bouy or land is clearly but a stone's throw from your ship your sailors still flip the f*ck out unless you are about a gnats testicle away before they calm down.
Having your own ships lights on doesn't seem to affect this very much, your terror goes up super fast regardless.

And the only ways to reduce terror are FANTASICALLY expensive. The 'best' way to reduce terror to a managble level is to return to London, where your terror is reset to 50 automatically (but you start to get nightmares), but to reduce it further you have to 'carouse' either in London or elsewhere. This costs between 40-20 echoes depending on where you are and reduces your terror from 1-5 points. Is that all?? That hardly seems cost effective given within a matter of SECONDS after leaving port you can accure those points back up again.

At the moment, you gain Terror far, far too quickly and it is much too difficult and expensive to reduce it.

3) Combat. Oh man, can you imagne! Sailing your steamer straight towards a giant Angler Crab or Lifeberg, screaming blood and thunder to your terrified crew as they struggle to bring their harpoons and deckguns to bear, shining your ships lamp straight into the beasts unblinking eye!!!!
Exciting stuff, except none of that happens here.

Combat for me so far, consists of trying to run away from an enemy I have no chance of beating (anything outside of the starting area, I am not kidding) as I have nowhere near enough money to buy better ships or equipment, fleeing into the nearest port, then having to leave port and being killed instantly by the monster who is still waiting for me. Game over.

The combat system consists of you or your opponent sailing into the other, where upon you are offerend the choice of fight or flight (or human sacrifice, neat!) and then combat consists of a picture of you, a picture of the enemy and an 'illumination' bar for each. You want to raise their bar as much as possible, whilst keeping your own bar low. Once it's high enough, you press the 'shoot' action and then hopefully they die.
But normally they don't and kill you instantly. The amount of enemies that can kill you in one hit is daft.
There's no dodging, no position, no tactics, no *skill*. Just press the 'flare' button twice, press the 'evade' button a few times, then press the 'salvo' button. And then repeat as necessary. Again, it's not... Fun.
There is an option to 'study' your foe in the midst of combat, but this has to be done several times and leaves you open to being annihilated.
Against the easier enemies, combat is a chore. Crabs, bats (who seem to swarm near Venderbight), starting pirates can all be mostly be killed in three actions which equates to 30-40 seconds of your life you'll never see again. It's not engaging, as someone who has played many a sailing combat game over the years, it's uninspired and not enjoyable. FTL did a similar system much better.

4) Death. It's a hard game, it's a slow game, it's a game with what appears to be a great deal in it. But as such, death comes fast and furious.
After 2-3 hours of not managing to get much of anywhere, I was still mighty pissed when my ship glitched aground and then.. Game over. Which is fine, I mean it's a roguelike and it's not meant to be easy... But when it takes you HOURS to get much of anywhere from the start and you can die so easily by hook or by crook, it's maddening to see all that hard work thrown away.
It's almost like having to do a lap of the Binding of Isaac, without any items - and at the end of the lap you get *one* item for the next lap. But as soon as you die, that's it. Whilst some masochists would love such a challenege, Joe Muggins here thinks that doesn't sound like fun.

The 'merciful' mode helps with regards to this, as you can save on the fly. But you can either play it safe and live a long but dull life, or try the dangerous game and die fairly rapidly and see all your hard, slow, progress of upping your skills and saving your money go to waste.
At least when you die you can save a skill for your next character.

5) Conclusion.
Sunless Sea is a fantastic idea for a fantastic game. However, IN THIS CURRENT VERSION it is not especially enjoyable to play IMHO.
If it does tickle your nautical fancy, my advise would be to wait until full release, as this may leave you with a sour, salty taste in your mouth.
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163 of 224 people (73%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 30
Early Access Review
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVgWSB4Ryng
I played a press version of Sunless Sea for about 5 hours. Playing this game is crafting your character's story at each step you take. It reminds me of Heroes of Might and Magic where a decision could be the difference between failure and success. Despite the outcome, the story never stops being written. It also has some Don't Starve in it. It's rather difficult to remain alive and upgrading your ship while exploring the sea. Yes, ship, you will be navigating 90% of the time looking for secrets and ways to improve your skills/crew/ship and preventing terror that drives you mad. It's a solid adventure, looking forward to the updates.

Pros
- it's damn challenging
- play it your own way, become the captain of your choice
- the graphics give you this hand painted feeling
- there's just so many stories, riddles and secrets, I always find myself intrigued about everything

Cons
- the gazetteer (journal) is a mess, I get myself lost in it, there must be a better way to point out the active "missions"
- although I understand the game encourages you to just explore, I would like some more specific goals with more currency rewards, I struggled a lot to keep myself up
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40 of 45 people (89%) found this review helpful
300.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 3
Early Access Review
I've been playing Sunless Sea since the closed beta. In that time, I have:

* witnessed the conquest of an island republic by an army of conquistador guinea pigs
* had my crew killed off and replaced, one by one, down to the last man, by a face-stealing stowaway
* extracted calcified regrets from a dead vicar
* been lured to my death by the hypnotic songs of the waterlogged, eyeless bodies of the drowned
* acted as a double agent on behalf of the infinite bureaucracy of Hell
* been pursued through icy waters by a malevolent floating mountain
* made blood sacrifices to the dreams of a long-dead thunder god

...and that's to say nothing of the psychic chess-pieces or the pneumatic rodents.
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49 of 65 people (75%) found this review helpful
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 1
Early Access Review
Review - Subject to change since its an Early access.


This game reminds me of a mix of FTL/Survival/rpgish with a good mix of novel and choices minus the combat because it's the only thing that really needs to be fixed to become a great game. The artwork and story writing is fantastic in this game. The game features a permadeath mode which is the right way to play as you experience your story and play(merciless is included in case you need it), you'll have to balance between fuel, Terror, Hunger mechanic as well as keeping your hull up you explore the seas to scour what you can to survive. This game is rough and not might be that cup of tea for everyone becuase it isn't action oriented but more novel and yes there is plenty of reading.

You can buy a handful of items ranging from fuel, food. and ship upgrades along with other materials that will unlock certain events and situation when you dock at other harbors to progress in the story. When certain requirements are met you can choose a choice in the story which will benefit you or will completely hinder you. I have died to shipwrecks by hitting land, from monsters, pushing the engine and causing fires, ran out of food and ate my crew, ran out of fuel and got attacked by other ships, lost crew members due to terror and other events that unfold as a result of my negligence. Whenever you do die however you are able to bring one thing with you on restart, your map, who you were, or your skills. are to name a few

Overall I thought the choices was really interesting in certain situation , the feeling of accomplishment of making your first few echos which is the game's currency, and the challege of surviving and progressing the story. The combat to me however felt very bland, you basically illuminate your enemies, dodge and evade thier illumination or attack, but only do so after you illuminate your enemies. The enemies so far encountered are giant crab sea monsters, bats, and other ships, and yourself.

Anyways long story short

+ Dark Themed game with good music
+ Fun gameplay of choices that will affect you and your crew
+ Beautiful artwork
+ Phenominal writing
+ Choices you can make
+ Fantastic story that will leave you thinking. Very dark



However
- The game is unfinished, but more to come, you'll at least spent hours on the other islands alone discovering its story. You cant explore the very south or the very top.
- This game can be a challenge for some, and not a cup of tea for everyone
- Felt the combat is sorta bland, Enemies look like cards and you pretty much illiuminate them with a few moves, once you do that you shoot them down thats it. was the only real major problem about the game, feels like it needs an overhaul because its really boring sorry to say. I really do hope they do something more creative on it to make it more fun.
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33 of 44 people (75%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 18
Early Access Review
Captain's Log 7/18/14

I have no idea what the ♥♥♥♥ I'm doing.
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21 of 24 people (88%) found this review helpful
15.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 27
Early Access Review
A very fun shipmaster-esqe simulator set in an exceedingly creepy and otherworldly universe. Talking rodents, the undead, a lot of bats and giant sea monsters make it a constant adventure. At current review (9/27) the new real-time on-map combat system has not been implemented yet, but that should take the gameplay to a different level.

Currently the combat system takes place in a new window where you enter in 'strategies', four at a time, with specific cool downs on each. The 'visibility' system is really slick though, where you do damage based on how illuminated your enemy is compared to your own (firing flares, carefully observing, etc.), and I hope it is implemented in a similar way with the real time system.

Exploration is genuinely fun and rewarding, as navigating around the various entities that occupy the Zee and finding new islands seems to play a significant part in the overall experience. Managing Terror (morale), supplies, fuel, cargo, your crew, Officers (and their skills), ship equipment, and new hulls all add different gameplay strategies. Trade is a major way to improve your Echo (currency) wallet, and it really pays off to ship different cargo to very distant locations.

You will die. You will die a lot. But that's just part of the game. You can preserve different things on death, but it helps to think that the end is nigh every time you leave Fallen London. You'll have a much more enjoyable time.
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16 of 16 people (100%) found this review helpful
66.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 12
Early Access Review
I find this game quite delightful. The music, somber and unsettling artwork, nautical exploration, trade and combat quite challenging but success is linked to choose your own adventure type quests found on each island, that can span multiple islands. A spiders web to pull apart over time. The crew of the vessel also give character to the voyage, they are a queer and curious lot that I would liken to "Firefly", set in an age of Steam to explore a subterannean sea occupied by Lovecraftian horrors.

I like the writing and hope for more.
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20 of 24 people (83%) found this review helpful
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 16
Early Access Review
This game has two fundamental flaws: It's an exploration game where you are punished for exploring, and it's a rogue-lite where you have to grind.

The reason why games like Pirates! or Patrician work is because you aren't punished for exploring and you don't have to grind. You immediately set sail and start making trades or fighting pirates. Trading is a joke; the ship you're given is too small to carry any substantial amount of supplies to make a profit off of, and any other ship will require hours of grinding out the same crab or pirate off the starting area.

Games like this should always have something to do, but because Sunless Sea requires special conditions to do basic things like move, you run out of fuel in Sunless Sea that's pretty much it for you.

Though they recently updated the combat system, it's still broken. You just sail and use the back cannon, anything from crabs to endgame monsters. There are only a handful of enemies in this game which causes the combat to get boring real fast. I mentioned grinding earlier, and that's exactly what you'll be doing.

Rogues like FTL or Rogue Lagecy are immediately accessible and give you a sense of progression when you die; new ships or classes are unlocked. You die here you get to keep one of your officers; the grinding, the hoarding resources remain. And you will die. For hours before you even get the basic gist of any routes that are profitable.

The atmosphere and music are great, but it's not enough.The concepts of a good game are there, but the execution is just horrible. The game suffers from too many unfun and repetative elements. Losing all your progress after a grindfest isn't fun. Not being to do basic things like sail isn't fun. Grinding the same few things over and over because the ship has too few cargo to trade isn't fun.
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18 of 21 people (86%) found this review helpful
75.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 15
Early Access Review
God. Where to start.

Since on the whole I adore this game, I'll start with my problems with it, to be absolutely fair.

My biggest, most serious issue is that the game is INCREDIBLY GRINDY. Incredibly grindy, and you can die very easily and lose all that progress. I understand that a small ship wouldn't reasonably do very good business trying to transport goods, but for god's sake, I should be able to make more than a $1 profit on anything I buy to sell (if that!). Either that, or you should have the option to pass on your ship to your progeny, and they can keep the money they would otherwise spend on that ship. As for how easy it is to die; once an enemy has you up to nearly full visibility, it's nearly impossible to get back down to a level where you can safely attack. From there it's just a matter of time before it tears your crew apart.

The other issue I take is that you can run out of fuel close to a port but not docked in it and have to lose the game that way. Surely, you could hire someone to come tow your ship (and if you're out of money, THEN you're dead). Perhaps only certain ports can tow ships. Something. Perhaps you could abandon ship into a small rowing vessal, attempt to get to port, and then from there perhaps have to owe somebody something. The most frustrating defeats I've suffered have been floating uselessly while touching shore. Very. Frustrating.

I would also add that this game is rather poorly tutorialized. It tells you what you need, but it won't give you any real tips or guidance about the safest way to navigate the zee, given that you only have so much fuel and so much food. An early run isn't going to last very long because it's nearly impossible to know just where you need to go and when, and then any grinding done is lost.

However, I only say these things because I love the game, and I wouldn't want to give someone any false hopes. God knows the zee would only crush them.

If you're not scared off yet, though, there is a sort of ruthlessness to the game that makes me want to beat it into submission. Coupled with a haunting atmosphere and horrors that are very effective at knowing the line between "unnerving" and "over-the-top-cheesy", Sunless Sea is genuinely a game that intimidates me. I get chills when I have to leave port, since there is a very deep uncertainty that I'll ever be returning. The art is incredible, the music is catchy (and at times gives me the same fright I get at the Sonic drowning music), and the writing is well worth crossing the seven seas for.

Long story short, if you bore easily but are very into Lovecraftian horror, wait for a sale. If you're willing to put in long, hard, heartbreaking hours for a game that will sometimes honor you with a very delicious crumb from time to time, welcome aboard.
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17 of 20 people (85%) found this review helpful
126.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 6
Early Access Review
There are mistakes in a zee captain's life. This was not one of them. It had to die, if indeed it could be said to be living. It was a sacrifice not of its own choosing, but of something vast and compelling that had chosen for it. Had chosen for me. There were things I needed. Things I needed to know. Colours of memory and secrets that burn.

Far from my birth on the street I rested in my manse, contemplating a life of luxury, filled with light. No longer fearing each time we turned from the shore that we would be swallowed whole by the dark. No more red feasts. No more nights haunted by The Eye. No more hard choices. No more regrets.

From the frozen temple of Whither to the weeping stones of the Salt Lions I traveled. Laden down with the great treasures of the Tomb Colony of Venderbight and multi-hued scintillack from the Principles, the ship sped through the calm waters of the Unterzee. Above the deck, the enormous heart of something old and vicious and clever, dripping irrigo blood through the netting that held it. A king's ransom, gathered at great risk and expense from all corners of the Neath. The price agreed upon for the life of a nightmare. A thing. A friend.

There are mistakes that cannot be undone. I have made many. This was not one of them.
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14 of 15 people (93%) found this review helpful
6.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 24
Early Access Review
The gameplay is difficult, even on "merciful mode" (which allows multiple saves compared to the single-save default survival mode). I've yet to earn enough funds to purchase a new steamboat, and I'm very good at running out of fuel and ending up stranded at zee. It's almost maddeningly difficult, which is kind of refreshing actually. I get frustrated and have to take frequent breaks from it, but I always come back to it.

The world it is set in is mysterious and compelling. Familiarity with the browser game"Fallen London" isn't necessary, but must admit it enhanced my expereince, and filled out the storylines nicely.

At this time, it's still in Early Access so a lot may still change, but as it stands it's definitely worth checking out.
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24 of 33 people (73%) found this review helpful
29.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 3
Early Access Review
While the atmosphere is great and the stories are impressed (when they're willing to disclose themselves), the most of things you need to do is to collect enough money to pay bills of fuels and foods. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to enjoy the progress to keep your ship and crew alive in the sunless economy. Because everything you need are so expensive, and you can only pay them via some few profitable lines terminated at London, your journey would become an endless London-to-somewhere routine and only at few times you can forget them and sail up to other exciting unexplored islands, as a real captions would do. This intolerable fact was discovered when I suddenly found that I spent hours in game to hunt bat swarms repeatedly, because it provides the cheapest supplies and the way to comfort crews' terrors. Trust me, it's suck to see your great journey become a journey of a bat killer, who acts like the poorest bagger to appreciate every coins given by the game system, which performs no economy mechanism but to sell expensive goods to players.

Another problem is you can only keep relations with NPCs during the story lines are opened. After that, they disappeared. You would find that after completing your jobs to convoy them from islands to islands, and enjoy the interactions with them, they would be vaporized at the final stop. Nothing continues the stories while they're actually too short for a game whom should beat other brainless 3D engine demos with great stories, and soon you're wasting your time on the supply and fuel problems again.

And the officers: while they should be your best friends who would accompany you till the end of game, they're actually only portraits. Yes, you can 'speak to them with secrets' to gain some skill upgrading, and try to waste your most precious supply to talk with them. However, they would only give you the standard NPC answers, almost like the famous arrow-in-the-knee. The boring bill-paying routines make things worse, since that means you can almost find no chances to discovery their stories when you need to travel from London to London to sell whatever profitable and report ports to the administration to earn the money. As a result, they're aboard with silence, keep silent, and also die silently with your crew and the whole ship, when you earn no enough money to reduce terrors or pay bills for fuels and supplies. They are nothing like your truly friends in Baldur's Gate or Planescape: Torment, which let you enjoy the game with NPCs' most tiny requests, lies, emotions, choices, stories and their deaths and lives.

Finally, the terrors: I think it's a really terrible thing in the game. Because you would find it's the most expensive goods to buy and the supply is even fewer than others. You can basically reduce your 1 terror with 10+ Echos, but it's so easy to be stockpiled when you're sailing on the zee. It increases rapidly while you leave shore far enough, and would stop increasing while you sail along with coasts. However, it never reduces even when you anchoring in the brightest port, unless you spend *lots of* money to buy drinks at the local taverns, if they exists. Only London provide you to reduce terrors to 50 every times you stop at the port. However, it would add your Nightmare's Strength with no cure. This basically tell you your next travel may explode because the terror would burst with the event to confront the nightmare.

So, what would you get with your $18.99? A game should become the next Fallout with the rich stories and characters, screws up with the terrible economy system and the pale NPCs and events. As an early access game I think it exposed some fatal defects that should be fixed as soon as possible, or it would be a sunk ship under the sunless zee.
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12 of 13 people (92%) found this review helpful
22.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 4
Early Access Review
Some of the mechanics remind me of Sid Meier's Pirates, but it's a really dark, story-driven game. One of my favorites.

And even though it's still early access, the devs have been putting great work into it. After lackluster reactions to combat, they completely scrapped and reworked the system. Can't wait to see the final product.
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21 of 32 people (66%) found this review helpful
12.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 7
Early Access Review
EATEN BY GIANT TENTACLE CRAB IN PITCH DARKNESS

10/10
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