Luke or Han?
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, (or more accurately, about 30 years ago right here on Earth) there was a burning question being asked in playgrounds across the lands.
Would you rather be Han Solo or Luke Skywalker?
This wasn’t a question to be answered lightly; there were pros and cons to both choices.Use the Force?
Luke was a Jedi Knight, you’d get to use the force, and you’d get a light sabre!
On the downside, Darth Vader was your dad and you just couldn’t get away from the fact that Mark Hamil came across as a little bit... well... dorkish.Go Solo?
As Han Solo, you’d get to be captain of the Millennium Falcon, the fastest ship in the Galaxy and you’d get the girl (a princess to boot!)
No Jedi mind tricks and bouncing people around with the force for Han though and although a blaster is cool; it’s just not a light sabre.Rouge Like
After much deliberation, I’d choose Han Solo, the anti-hero with a heart of gold.
He might not have been a Jedi, but he was a Captain and more importantly, he was cooler than Luke, He was a rogue!
So I’d established pretty early on in life that I fancied myself as a rouge like captain, exploring the darkness in my ship, maybe doing a little smuggling and helping a person or two along the way.Call It Fate, Karma or Luck
Whatever you want to call it, I’ve finally found my niche in a very unexpected place.
I’m a captain; I’ve got my own ship (and crew!) and I can head out on adventures across the darkness, but it’s not the darkness of space, it’s the inky blackness of the sunless sea where you’ll find me, a speck of light leading my ship into the unknown, each voyage might be my last, who knows what treasures or dangers lie ahead.
It’s this sense of exploration, of shaking off the shackles of civilization and waving goodbye to the safety of port that makes Sunless Seas so alluring.Free Fall
You’ll start the game in what’s left of Victorian London, I say "what's left of" because following a cataclysm of hellish proportions, London now rests on the shore of the Unterzee, that dark ocean under the world. Hell is close, immortality is cheap and the screaming has largely stopped...
If you'd like to explore this wonderfully gothic setting before taking the plunge into the Sunless Sea, then you can, for FREE!
Fallen London, the literary RPG and pre-curser to Sunless Sea, is a free (and also very excellent) browser game where every choice has a consequence.
Set in this same Victorian Gothic world, Sunless Sea gives you the chance to explore beyond the boundaries of Fallen London and out into the dark and forbidding Unterzee.Shallow Waters
When you first fire up the game, you'll find yourself at the "Captain Creation Screen" although don't go expected a crunchy RPG level of stats and traits here. This is a bare bones affair and one which you can skip completely if you like (although this will also be reflected in your game experience...).
After quickly creating a Captain with the briefest of bespoke back story, you’ll buy your provisions, recruit your crew, wave goodbye the glowing port lights and set sail into the depths of darkness.
Here you’ll find treasures to satiate the sole and terrors to drive a man to despair, here you’ll find death.
But before death takes you, you’re going to be in for an interesting ride.Captain Birds-Eye
The game itself takes place from a bird’s eye view of the map, you’ll sail your ship out into the unknown where you’ll discover foul monsters, foreboding islands and forbidden ports.
When you encounter a Zee Monster you'll could well end up in a battle to the death, but this isn't nearly as exciting as it sounds.
The combat mechanics are certainly the weakest part of the game, you'll fire at the monster, wait for the guns to reload and fire again, over and over until one of you is dead.
You can upgrade your guns in port to add a little more depth but it's still an extremely simple and lack lustre affair.Don't Forget To Pack
There's also some simple but vital resource mechanics at play here.
You’ll need to worry about fuel and food supplies when you leave the safety of London, run out of fuel and your ship will be stranded, floating in the darkness until madness finally takes hold... maybe.
Run out of food and you and your crew will starve, although there is meat on the crews bones, it’d be selfish to let it go to waste when it could sustain others...Remember to Write
Beyond this basic resource management aspect, this experience is all about narrative and what wonderfully written and atmospheric narrative it is too.
Each Island and port reveals its own secrets, its own story fragments and its own harrowing decisions to make. Each and every one of those decisions will impact what comes next.
You might get to recruit a new officer for your crew, who’ll likely have their own back story and agenda; you might end up dining with some mysterious sisters or bargaining for your very soul.
The quality of writing here is superb, but be warned, you’re going to be doing a lot of reading in this game.1000 Words Paint A Wonderful Picture
All aspects of the story are delivered to you in constant blocks of narrative. You should approach this title as more interactive novel than game. If the sound of all that reading puts you off then this probably isn’t the game for you, but you will be passing up on a rough gem.Don't Fear The Reaper
As a rogue like title, no matter how cautious you are, your first captain will die.
Then you will find yourself back in Fallen London creating your second captain, again with his ambitions and background story and maybe he’ll even have benefited in some way from your first captains adventures.The Zame but Different
You’ll set sail across the unterzee again.
As you move out, you might feel disheartened that you’ve lost nearly everything and you have to experience the same story elements again, but you’ll soon discover that the island you’d set sail for, the one that Captain number one had discovered is no longer there, just empty “zee” awaits you.Cruel Zee
Did you bring enough fuel to get back to port from here? You could push on and try to find another island, maybe you could turn back to London.... you need fuel to keep your ship light burning too, maybe you could stretch out your reserves by turning it off.... it’s so dark out there though.... the crews terror levels are rising... Could you risk insanity in the darkness?The Calling of the Zee
As a rogue like title, no matter how cautious you are, your second captain will die and you will find yourself back in Fallen London....
You get the idea, each time you start fresh with a new captain the world shifts around you, you can’t expect Islands to be found where your previous captain left them.Different Tides
Whilst it’s true that the core elements of the narrative will remain the same, each decision you make will have an impact on what will follow.
Choosing a different narrative branch will give you a different perspective on fragment of the tale you’ve previously played through help keeping things fresh and adding further depth to the experience.Fresh Waters
There’s a lot to explore out there too, you’re not going to run out of content too quickly, that’s not to say that there won’t come a time when you’ve experienced everything sunless sea has to offer, but that’s true of all games and in sunless seas case new content is still being added, so even if you think you’ve .... [snip]
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