LOSE YOUR MIND. EAT YOUR CREW. DIE. Take the helm of your steamship and set sail for the unknown! Sunless Sea is a game of discovery, loneliness and frequent death, set in the award-winning Victorian Gothic universe of Fallen London.
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (2,801 reviews) - 81% of the 2,801 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 6, 2015

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April 13

Zubmariner will be released in Autumn 2016!

Hello, delicious friends!

Zubmariner will be released in Autumn 2016

We presented our progress on Zubmariner to a delightful crowd at EGX Rezzed last weekend!

Watch the video

Mac and Lottie introduced some new elements of Zubmariner, including underwater currents, a first look at Zubmarine transformations and some details about new ports and zee-beasts.

We're doing an AMA on 19th April

Fallen London is more than your home port: it's also the name of our first game, the text adventure which spawned Sunless Sea. We're releasing it as an app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch on the 19th April.

To celebrate, we're doing an AMA on Reddit at 4:30pm GMT/12:30pm EST. Drop by and ask us anything!

New music from the Fallen London universe!

Alongside the app, we're also releasing a soundtrack for Fallen London, made by the same composer who created the beautiful soundtrack for Sunless Sea.

Stream the first two tracks on Bandcamp

We'll be back with another update on Zubmariner's progress in a few weeks. Until then, happy zailing!

15 comments Read more

April 6

Your next Zubmariner update will be live on YouTube!

On Saturday at 1pm GMT, we'll be presenting a Zubmariner update live from EGX Rezzed in London.

Developer Liam McDonald (aka Mac, who you've heard on our YouTube videos!) and Producer Lottie Bevan will be revealing more about the stories, zee-beasts and development journey of Sunless Sea and the upcoming underwater expansion, Zubmariner.

Then at 4pm GMT, Chris Gardiner, Head Writer will be discussing narrative games on a panel with Inkle (80 Days).

All this will be live on the EGX YouTube channel! You can also check out the other developer sessions in advance, and set reminders if you don't want to miss anything.

We'll hopefully have some Failbetters in the YouTube chat too, so see you on Saturday!

3 comments Read more

Reviews

“Sunless Sea's method of storytelling isn't unique, but it has never been realised with such impact and elegance.”
10/10 – Eurogamer

“Absolutely the best writing in any video game since, well, as long as I can remember.”
10/10 – PCGamesN

“a very compelling and satisfying adventure... The realm of possibilities seems endless, and every time I set sail I find something new.”
9/10 – Destructoid

About This Game

LOSE YOUR MIND. EAT YOUR CREW. DIE.

Take the helm of your steamship and set sail for the unknown! Sunless Sea is a game of discovery, loneliness and frequent death, set in the award-winning Victorian Gothic universe of Fallen London.

If the giant crabs, sentient icebergs and swarms of bats don’t get you, madness and cannibalism certainly will. But that old black ocean beckons, and there’s loot for the brave souls who dare to sail her.

Betray your crew, sell your soul to a Devil, marry your sweetheart. Survive long enough and you’ll achieve your life’s ambition.

You will die, but your legacy will live on…

Key features

  • A deep, compelling world packed with 200,000+ words of stories and secrets. Find your father’s bones. Determine London’s destiny. Defy the gods of the deep sea.
  • Beautiful, hand drawn art - castles of sparkling ice, prisons perched on lily pads, fog-shrouded lighthouses and the DAWN MACHINE.
  • Your captain will die. But you can pass on resources from one generation to the next. Acquire a family home and a hoard of heirlooms. Build up your own story across generations of zailors who braved the sea and lost - or won...
  • Real-time combat against ships and Zee-beasts, spider-crewed dreadnoughts and sentient icebergs.
  • Light and dark, terror and madness: stray too far from the gas-lamps of civilisation and your crew will grow fearful and eventually lose their sanity.
  • Upgrade your steamship with powerful engines, cannons and pneumatic torpedo guns. (Or 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 a ship’s mascot: the Comatose Ferret, the Wretched Mog, the Elegiac Cockatoo, and more!
  • Trade or smuggle silk and souls, mushroom wine and hallucinogenic honey.

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
    • Storage: 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
    • Storage: 700 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
Helpful customer reviews
198 of 224 people (88%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
12.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 11, 2015
If you're looking at this and thinking oh my God it's H.P. Lovecraft's Pirates!, don't. Turn right around and go play Pirates! or Sea Dogs or something free-form and piratey. If instead you want a mysterious, story-rich world to explore and never fully master, keep reading. Much like the people and creatures you'll meet in this game, Sunless Sea is not at all what it seems.

The game sets you up as a zee captain in the unique and storied Fallen London setting, a Victorian-era underground sea full of cosmic horrors. In creating your character you choose a background and a goal, and then prepare for your first journey. Every port is presented as a series of journal pages, with you choosing actions based on the resources and stats available to you. Everything is abstracted as cards, from cargo to terror to snippets of news, which makes it clear to see what you need to access or complete a story, but hard to tell what is actually valuable before you find a use for it. It's a strange system held up by the quality of the writing, which never becomes tiresome in its quirky melancholy and ominous reveals.

Between ports you sail the sunless seas in real time from a bird-eye view. Your ship has three major resources to manage during voyages. Fuel powers your engines and your deck lights, supplies feed your crew, and terror measures how stable your crew actually is. There's a lot of interplay between these resources that will affect how you sail, which livens up the trips. Running your deck lights burns almost three times more fuel, but sailing in the dark ramps up your terror faster. You can sail past natural lights and coastlines instead, but your crew will be consuming supplies at a constant rate, making long trips costly.

Odds are that mismanaging one of these resources is going to be what kills you, because you burn through fuel at an alarming rate, and terror mounts quickly and is hard to reduce unless you know the game well. It'll be that or one of the sea's monstrous inhabitants, which are almost all more than a match for your sad little starter ship. And when you die, you lose pretty much all of your progress. There's an heir system where you can pass on one item or a bit of money, and once you start an estate you can create a will to pass on more resources. As far as stories and quests go, however, it's back to the beginning, and this is where the game starts to really come apart.

At some point playing Sunless Sea, you're going to realize you're not really making any progress. You're learning the systems and uncovering stories and accumulating... things, but every time you die, and you WILL die, most of that gets wiped out. You can do things faster on the next captain, but the goals in the game are so long-term and require so much work that they come to appear almost impossible. It might be that you need seven of something from the opposite side of the world that you can only get once per trip, or you need one of something that you had and then lost and have no idea how to get again. And the sailing is so slow and the resources so strained, that soon the oppressive and mysterious atmosphere will turn to tedium.

You're not going to beat Sunless Sea, I'd wager, and frustration or boredom will claim you far before that's even a possibility. So why do I recommend it? Because despite all that, I keep coming back to it. Part of me still wants to puzzle out the stories, find new ports, and maybe someday mark down a victory, even if it takes liberal use of the wiki to do it. The stories don't get old, and a dozen hours in there are still more to discover. As long as you understand that you're getting a nigh-endless choose your own adventure book where you sail (and very possibly die) instead of turning pages, there's a good chance you'll get your money's worth.
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44 of 52 people (85%) found this review helpful
16.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 19, 2015
I love this game.
Will you love this game too? If you meet the following critera, I believe so.

-You love reading. The writing in this game paints an otherworldy abyss where life still finds a way. Your choices are impactful on the world. Exploring the evolving enigma of the Sunless Sea is an unmatched experience.

-You enjoy survival. Fuel, supplies, crew, and terror. These are your diminishing resources. When you set out on a voyage, preparation is key. The Sunless Sea will tax you at every turn. Your crew will go mad with terror, be devoured by monstrosities, and otherwise claimed by the unknown. Fuel burns quickly, even moreso with your bow lamp blazing away, fending off the terror inducing abyss. Supplies dwindle, Canabalism is an option, but not a welcome one. Each port is a risk to your resources, but one that must be made.

-You appreciate art. The world of the Sunless Sea is hauntingly beautiful. Every new area uncovered is exuding character. Exploration for the thrill of discovery is it's own reward.

-Depth- There is much to do on the Sunless sea. Once you have mastered the ways of the waters, you will be able to sustain and indeed profit from your voyages. Purchase a better vessel, more powerful equipment, and attempt the expansive quests of the endgame. Death need no longer herald the end of your legacy. I'll not spoil, but the replay value is definitely here.

REASONS YOU WOULDN'T ENJOY SUNLESS SEA
-You don't like reading. If you pick dialogue options without reading, You are going to have a bad time. A simple line of text can have far reaching implications.

-You don't like a slower paced game. The game is slow and methodical in pace. It's boh tense and relaxing simultaneously.

-You aren't down with the Lovecraftian style. I'm not sure why you are reading this review at this point. This game is dripping in Lovecraftian style.

I believe you are now well equipped to judge wether you would enjoy this game.
If you are still on the fence, pick it up anyway.

-DO NOT USE A GUIDE-
This game is a mystery, Don't spoil it for yourself.
Once you've put a few hours in, if you are frustrated not making any progression I would suggest looking up the bare minimum on making profit. I'd rather you do that then quit playing altogether.
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63 of 85 people (74%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
37.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 27
Sunless Sea is a hard game to review. On one hand it’s one of the best written interactive experiences you can find, but on the other hand it’s also on of the most slow and tedious ones where most of the game mechanics are actually artificial padding in disguise.

In the almost 40 hours I’ve invested in the game I’ve not even come close to finishing all the quests and usually that would be a great show of a rich game. But with Sunless Sea most of those hours are spent empty, slowly traveling to and forth, collecting the required pieces to progress the story. It also doesn’t help that the economics system is as convoluted as the traveling, making the trading almost impossibly slow to progress from.
That’s not time well spent in my opinion and I very much would have wanted a much denser experience.

It’s also a very rich game world that completely lacks any overview to make sense of it as you progress through the narratives. The journal that is kept is so minimal that each occurrence is only given a few sentences each, making it impossible to keep track of what you are doing or what you should do next without writing it all down.

I would recommend it to anyone willing to take comprehensive notes by pen and paper, as well as having an oversight with huge amounts of time spent transiting between the different story points.
The writing and the lore is of such excellent quality that it could almost be forgiven but for most players the artificial padding will be to much to overlook.
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54 of 75 people (72%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
27.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 12, 2015
Staggeringly wasteful of your time.

This game has an incredible aesthetic, and very unforgiving gameplay, which is fine. It's basically a roguelike. howEVER. Sailing from port to port takes an incredibly long time. The sea is almost empty of things to interact with, which is good because they are mostly punishingly overpowered, but bad because if you actually want combat, it can take 20 minutes to find some. You can spend an entire day playing this game, and have not advanced yourself enough to have moved up from the baseline boat you start with.

The game is set such that there is almost no value in trading early on. Seriously. Your inital boat has a hold capacity of 40. One item that you can buy, wine, costs $21 The most it can be sold for normally is $23. That's $80 per run, when a new ship costs 2000. You will also need to pay for fuel and food, which runs to about $30. Also that fuel and food needs to be stored on your boat, further cutting into profits.

Ok fine. We've all played these sailing games before, what about combat, can you make money doing that? Sure. After a bunch of trial and error, you will find that there are two boats (The pirate destroyer and the crack pirate destroyer) that are both weak enough to be destroyed by a new player, and reliably have food and fuel to make up for the 5 minutes you spend chasing their tails, as well as some cargo. The rest? Well there's a crab that can be killed for 1xp (takes about 200 for a new 'level') or a free, non-transportable meal. Your crew just ate? Well, that xp is the best you can hope for. Bats can be killed for a transportable meal, to be eaten when you, you know, need it. That's worth about $20, actually a lot of money considering how much you are scraping early on. Other sea monsters you will find are much too hard to fight. Other pirates have either nothing, or are so high level that instead of food and fuel, you get bolts of silk. Which can be resold at an eye-watering discount for less than the food and fuel found on a destroyer.

Exploring? Each port you visit will net you a usually small amount of money, and one fuel when you give a report to the admiralty on returning in London. Generally getting from one port to another requires more than one fuel. Additionally, the money you make will go to supplies. So exploring is almost always a net negative.

So basically your only hope is missions. There is one character who will send you on fetch quests, basically trading, but with an actually worth-your-time profit margin. Then there is the mob smuggler, who will give you missions than can lead to instakills, since he sends you out to sea with contraband to a place you may not know how to find. If you can't find it on the supplies you packed, and return to London you'll have it confiscated (there's equipment for smugglers, but it doesn't fit on the initial boat, and you WILL NOT have a better one at this point in the game).

And hey, I get it, resources can be scarce. There's tons of games like that, from the first Resident Evil to Don't Starve. But this game plays out so damn SLOWLY. You boat barely moves in the water, and everything is so far away. Getting a few hundred dollars together to buy a new gun for your boat can take, and I am in no way exaggerating, HOURS.

If there were twice the monsters, at half the danger, and the boat moved twice as fast, this would be an amazing game. As it is, I spent a few days on it, always with the promise that if I stuck out the lame slow start, I'd get to the good stuff. My hold would get big enough to start trading, my weapons would get good enough to start fighting. Instead all that ever happens is you slowly burn all your fuel and food, occasionally doing a fetch quest to inject a little more cash into your operation, but always dwindling, until you die. I die a lot in Super Meat Boy, but that game doesn't make me play three hours for the privilege.

Basically this game smacks of an unfinished alpha, that is somehow inexplicably considered finished. The early game seems wildly unbalanced, the pace of the game is super slow, and there's not enough things to do and interact with, especially since interacting with things usually involves money you don't have (either pure cost, fuel, food, crewmen that need replacing or hull repairs)
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49 of 70 people (70%) found this review helpful
9 people found this review funny
76.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 6
I have never loved a game so much that ended up frustrating me or annoying me so much.

First, the good. The game has an unbelievable atmosphere, world, and mood. The writing is simply fantastic as many people have mentioned. The sense of discovery, especially on your first few voyages, is unparalleled.

This all led me, in the first 40 or so hours of playing, to think Sunless Sea might be one of my favorite games ever.

But I gradually started realizing I wasn't actually getting anywhere in the game, and that I wasn't GOING TO get anywhere in the game unless I kept grinding, AND GRINDING, AND GRINDING, AND GRINDING, AND GRINDING...............

I like hard games. I don't have a problem with games that ask for a long time investment. BUT THE GAMEPLAY HAS TO BACK IT UP.

And the actual, real, moment-to-moment GAMEPLAY of Sunless Sea is STEERING A BOAT. That's it.

STEERING. A. BOAT. This is the gameplay "hook" that the developers of this game think is supposed to justify the (MINIMUM) 200+ hours of investment that this game is asking for if you want to actually complete it.

Sorry but that's a joke. Only a tiny minority of gamers out there are going to find this satisfying enough to carry on and put in the time investment.

Most gamers, who care more about GAMEPLAY than they do about Story, Mood, Atmosphere, or just APPEARING HARDCORE, are going to be left unsatisfied and feeling ripped-off by BS RNG and BS grinding that ARTIFICIALLY extend the time investment that should be needed to advance in this game.

I've put in 80 hours now and I've gotten NOWHERE in this game and left feeling ZERO sense of ADVANCEMENT.

I feel ripped off and screwed over by a sadistic, smug, self-righteous development team with a massive stick up its collective rear.

Sound fun?
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