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: Very Positive (493 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?

“SUNLESS SEA will launch on 6 February 2015, so this is a very 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 stories popping up every week as we approach launch.

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 on 6 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. [COMPLETE!]

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 expansions and story DLC. 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

"Tentacles, terror and the sea. You are a Zee-captain and you explore an underground sea in a bit FTL style gameplay."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (25)

January 22

NEW: Tutorial and Keybinding!

It’s just over two weeks until launch! Today's update covers some functions which you’ve been asking us for:


Even seasoned zailors will find helpful tips in the new tutorial system!

It’s really important that this is as useful as possible; please consider sending feedback to sunlesssea@failbettergames.com if you spot something confusing.


Not everyone wants to zail WSADly. Re-bind the game controls to keys of your choice from Options in the menu.


The fog of war is less foggy; you should find that the labels are easier to read.

Read the full patch notes

And some news: very soon you can expect to see stories involving a great deal of monkey business when you visit Empire of Hands…

Happy zailing!

6 comments Read more

January 15


It's three weeks until launch. We're busy packing Sunless Sea full of content and polishing it to a high shine for you.

New this week: Romance your crew!

It is now possible to romance the Longshanks Gunner and the Sly Navigator, with other romance options to come. However, romancing your officers may cause embarrassment if you already have a Sweetheart.

(It is entirely coincidental, but we'd also like to point out that you can sound your horn in Sunless Sea by pressing H. Have fun with that!)

We'll have some exciting news about launch day for you next week.

Happy zailing!

15 comments Read more
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“...the most delicious collection of words in all of gaming”
Rock Paper Shotgun

“Survival exploration at its most terrifying”

“Evocative writing and compelling exploration”
PC Gamer

About This Game


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

Mac OS X
    • 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
    • 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
47 of 50 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
82.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 29, 2014
Early Access Review
If I had to distill Sunless Sea down to three simple words, then I say without equivocation that these words are cruelty, terror, and despair.

These words are woven within a simple 2-D representation of a prison of steel gliding upon the green placid waters of a Lovecraftian Netherworld where a Fallen Steampunk variant of Victorian London was literally torn from the Surface world and banished to the realm of the Underzee - a cold subterranean twilight realm scarcely more than a short ocean voyage away from the outer reaches of Hell.

The Unterzee is a very strange place dotted with many dangerous rocky islands literally seething with otherworldly creatures, twisted caricatures of men and women warped by a variety of strange and incomprehensible alien beings far beyond the bounds of human comprehension, and all those unfortunates long since driven half-mad by the grim sunless echoes of a vast and alien sunless sea.

Life in this underground dimensionally warped Victorian-esque steam-punk world over a mile beneath the ground is fatalistically grim since Life on the Unterzee is almost certain to be brutally short for the Captain of your little tramp steamer and its crew.

If you fail to carefully husband your scant resources and utilize both luck and measured aggression in equal measure then your character will die and die horribly...and thats still assuming the gods in the sea favor you. If they do not...well...

Death in Sunless Sea is a kindness often sought but seldom truly found since this horseman of the apocalypse simply grants you the player a chance to choose a successor who will follow in your ill-omened former alter-ego footsteps as he/she/it sets sail into the eternal twilight of this otherworldly nightmare in pursuit of his/hers/its life-long Ambition.

Making your character's dream come true is a long-term goal that is almost - but not quite - out of reach for your Captain given that your Captain's only chance of surviving long enough to fulfill this Ambition rests on you sucessfully utilizing every tool at your disposal...and perhaps by seeking the favors of Fate herself?

As might be imagined from a Lovecraftian game like this one, the story in Sunless Sea is one that slowly unfolds and expands as you play provided you possess a fair degree of luck, perserverance, and patience along with a desire to seek out and plumb the hidden recesses of this very dark, alien, and mysterious subterranean world that is the Neath.

One of the most important tasks for you to perform right from the start is gather up enough Echoes (aka. “Money”) to explore this realm in pursuit of your Captain's goals. To that end, you may find yourself eagerly ferrying large quantities of sphinx-stones from the Weeping Sea Lions, hunting pirates to lay claim to their ill-gotten gains, harvesting a variety of Sea Monsters for their squishy valuables (once you have 'persuaded' them to part from their fleshy coils where such goodies are kept first, of course), or even find yourself doing something as dull and prosaic as delivering lots of mushroom wine kegs to the alcoholic monks of Godfall.

All of this early-game patience may net you enough hard-won lucre to start investing in and enhancing your vessel by upgrading its various steampunky equipment in your ship's station compartments not to mention win you the coin necessary to recruit over time your ship's eclectic and diverse mix of ship officers who more often than not have their own stories to share over dinner in your Captain’s quarters and who may give even more direction to your various encounters as you explore the rocky islands of the Neath.

Oh, and rest secure in the knowledge that no-one is coming to save you from the always fatal consequences that occur when you invariably run out of the fuel or the supplies needed to continue Zailing.

Finally, do try to remember that the Sea Monsters native to this dark Cthuloid nightmare are drawn to the bright lights cast by your ship's single gas-lit array whose actinic glare is often all that holds back the Black Terror and Inky Madness of the Unterzee as it poisons and slowly consumes the minds of your Captain and crew...one delicious morsel of sanity at a time.

Are you the Master of your Mind?
Are you the Captain of your Soul?
Let’s find out!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
10 of 11 people (91%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
13.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 6
Early Access Review
I am going to review this game...in song! Shoggoth on the roof: Tentacle/Fiddlee on the roof: Tradition style!

Sailing a boat in a cave
Sounds crazy - no, certifiably insane!
But here in this little game called Sunless Sea that is possible,
And in this game you might say everything will rock the boat
And I’m not speaking of metaphorically!
It’s not easy playinging a game with… a gigantic cave,
hanging over your head, but we did anyway!
This game is one of the hardest rogue-like i play
With sailing out of the port will immediately punishing you
You may ask: Why do you play it, if it’s so difficult?
That, I can tell you in one word: Zea!

Zea~, Zea! Zea!
Zea~, Zea! Zea!

Who, day and night, must working on a ship,
having a wife and kids, praying to zea's god?
And who has no right to argue with the captain,
when he gonna eat them?

The crew~, the crew! Zea.
The crew~, the crew! Zea.

Who must know the way to guide a ship,
so i wouldn't sink, so i wouldn't sunk?
Who must raise his skill up to the point,
So he wouldn't end up dead?

The captain~, the captain! Zea!
The captain~, the captain! Zea!

At three, we started engine. At ten, we found our pray.
I see there were a lot of loots, I hope i get some.

The pirate~, the pirate! Zea!
The pirate~, the pirate! Zea!

And who roll on the ground, screaming in frustration.
Because all his ten hours, watsed in just ten seconds?

The player~, the player! Zea!
The player~, the player! Zea!

We have the Ports, and the Landmarks, and the Khanate's fortresses that we Zeafarer is mighty proud of, but the heart of all is the Fallen London. It may not have many stories, but it will forever be your place to start and refill fuel.

This game has some colorful interesting crews you can meet along the way. You'll see many of them a bit one-sided, but don't let that get you down, there are some special among recruitable crew you can pick as well...

For instance, Genial Magician, the chief engineer.

"Hello, mister. From the look you must be Zea captian, are you not? I could offer you my service on you ship as an engineer"

"You want to be my enginner with a missing hand? i did not even know who you are, sir"

"I am but a magician, sir. And don't worry about the hand, i have a lot of trick".

And Phoebe, a surgeon, and a girl who survived when her house was set ablaze.

"So, what happen at the hunter keep, Miss Phoebe"

"I do not want to talk about it captain, beside the storm is coming"

And Albino Tinkerer, a thinking, talking rat.

"Those Guinea Pig are gonna pay for messing with us!".

Then there are others in Zea. Some stay in one place, some move around. The Dark-Spectacled Admiral, a secretive man who have part in the Great Game. I do not even want to know what that mean. We normal sailor just look the other way and try not to mess with them. And among ourselves, we do it just fine.

Well, of course there are some who think that we should becaome trader rather than explorer, and some who think we should become explorer rather than trader... but that's all settled now. Now, we just try to-

"We should do trade so that we could have piles of cash!"

"No, exploring give us even more chance to cash!"

"I'm telling you, trading is better!"

"Go trade and we gonna be swarmed by those bloody pirate!"


Zea~, Zea! Zea!
Zea~, Zea! Zea!

Like i said, in this game of Sunless Sea there will always be something interesting. And even more when full game is released.
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
68.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 25
Early Access Review
I've sunk way too many hours into this game (and way too many ships). I bought it a month or so ago when it had much less content and was much easier and I couldn't put it down. I would prattle on to my friends about Compulsion (the ridiculous engine that eats fuel and makes you speed across the zee), the rejected marriage proposal I made to the Deviless (she thought I was joking! I gave her my soul, even!), the Pull of Nuncio, the Principles or Coral, the best way to get Searing Enigmas, the mysteries of Station III, the riddle of Visage, the frustration of dealing with the Khanate...

I would stay up late reading excerpts of the amazing prose to my boyfriend and both of us were absolutely rapt with attention and immersion into the world of Fallen London. Watching the stories connect with each other and the gating system of content (Something Awaits You means you must spend some time at zee before unlocking more stories or events) keeping me on the edge of my seat...

This game has consumed my life and my attention. I love the concept and mechanics offered by using information as inventory items. I love opening the game to see the "New Stories Available!" button lit up and being excited for more of the amazing artwork and prose being available.

In the past while, the game has been being balanced as it prepares for release. It's made the game MUCH harder. Things I took for granted in the past: "I can take out this 210-point-hull with torpedos and crazy weapons with my 75-hull one-gun starter ship, no problem!" or "a risky challenge? ah, whatever, it's just crew/hull/terror/supplies/fuel!" or "my engines only explode SOME of the time..." or "psch, curses? whaaaatever" are now HOLY CRAP BAD. Needless to say, I've restarted the game a few times lately as the reality of the harshness of the zee has dawned on me.

Basically, if you have an appreciation for story, this game is (name an addictive substance). If you're like me, you'll lose yourself in it and you'll love every minute of it and you'll chortle whenever someone talks about wells and you'll wake up in the morning, look at the sun, and have a voice in the back of your head saying "REJECT THE DAWN MACHINE."

If you're like me, you'll love it so much you'll want to create a d20 campaign based on the universe, you'll want to get a tattoo of a letter of the Correspondance (Don't do this. Seriously. Bad things will happen.). You'll have dreams about the Sundered Sea (the wicket calls), of finally completing the Neathbow or of what lies north. You'll spend time explaining the impossible colours of the Neath as you use words like gant and viric in daily conversation. You'll talk about Maybe's Daughter or the Brisk Campaigner or the Haunted Doctor or even Phoebe and speak of the conversations you've had with each of them over dinner, because you know what brought them to zee and you want to help them even if it means losing them in the process.

So, yes, highly recommended. Lose yourself in this game. The world is amazing. I've never been so proud to have spent so much time with a game.
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9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 13
Early Access Review
If you have a low tolerance for frustration, you should probably avoid this game, because it is Hard with a capital H. I've only played 4.2 hours which was enough to lose twice, and come within a hairsbreadth of losing on three other occassions.

If you run out of fuel, you will lose.
If you run out of sanity, your crew will mutiny and you will lose.
If you run out of food, you will resort to canibalism, and then you will lose.
If you run into a pirate or monster than you can't beat, which is a lot of them, your ship will be sunk and you will lose.
If you run out of money, it will be a race to see which of fuel, sanity or food you will run out of first. The answer will probably be fuel, and then you will lose.

If you enjoyed FTL: Faster Than Light, Don't Starve, or any other games featuring exploration and/or learning how to play by dying horribly over and over, then I strongly recommend this game. I am definitely looking forward to the official launch in February.
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14 of 21 people (67%) found this review helpful
10.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 15
Early Access Review
I really really wanted to enjoy this game, atmosphere is great, premise is perfect but it is seriously lacking in fun. Grinding seems to be the only way to keep up with fuel needs and it takes all of the fun out of exploring because it is punishing to your supplies. Your terror meter ( or at least mine) is constantly headed towards full and trying to manage it will just destroy what lil stock you have in your fuel resources. If there is a tipping point due to upgrades where there is a bit more leeway in the survival aspect, I never made it there. I either was bored to tears from going back and forth to the same locations or biteing my nails wondering if I would even make it home and if I did I get rewarded 30 some odd echoes barely enough to restart a grind session. Possible suggestion larger fuel guage, slight increase in currency exchange and adjust the terror aspect. As much as I want a suspense filled, difficult game, when I die I want to feel the urge to dive back in! Some more reward from the time I just spent running head long to my ineviatable end would also be more reassuring. This creates the hope of that 1 out of 5 runs where you finally really crush it, get some epic upgrades and then tragically die to some totally unforseen sea monster leaving you mad but proud you died an adventures life. Sunless Sea just never allowed me to get there, now either I'm an epic fail at adventuring or there still needs to be some adjustments. However,this game still might be for some people and it has a lot of promise but in the end in this state it leaves me wanting.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 28, 2014
Early Access Review
Early access edition, so it's pretty much a polished alpha. I like what I see so far.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
21 of 40 people (53%) found this review helpful
13 people found this review funny
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 29, 2014
Early Access Review
Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 19
Early Access Review
Fantastic world of adventure and danger, but was hoping for a bit more. Alow me to elaborate:

The story is a great concept that i've always wished for, the ability to set yourself up and choose what goal you want to be your end-game. I love that I can choose what I want my main goal to be, because then it offers 'replayablility' when you finish and then go back and attempt to complete another. However, the game offers very specific goals that may or may not be to your liking.

Now that your ready to sail (after a ton of reading, did I mention this has a lot of reading? Great for lore!) you have to keep in mind a few factors that alter your gameplay. First, you have fuel. Fuel is stored in your cargo (taking up space) and if you are moving, or have your lights on your ship, will constantly decrease (read further on and I'll explain more). Food is another constant, increasing until you use a supply (also stored in cargo taking up space). Finally you have fear. I like this factor, becasue it adds a nice challenge and it allows for more choices and events that may occur (this does not take up space, lol).

All three of these 'constants' will increase/decrease, but all end up using your supplies and money constantly. Sailing? Fuel decreases incredibly fast! Not in a port reading and making choices? Hunger will increase just as fast as fuel decreases! Sailing the deep ocean, or perhaps making decisions in a port? Fear can increase from any of these.
Now i'm going to be honest, as much as I love a challenge, did the developers really want us to grind for money, in the process spending it on more supplies and fuel just to survive, barely turning a profit, and rinse and repeat on the closet ports (all the while having the occasional fight) until we have enough to improve the odds a BIT? And I do mean a BIT, because I obtained the best equipment in Fallen London's shops (starting port) and I still have trouble making it from port to port! Hunger and fuel change so rapidly it makes it so hard just to explore and have fun, which leads us to out next topic:

These two go hand-in-hand becasue if your doing one, the other follows. In the earlier stages fighting was like a card game, picking your attack and then using flares etc etc.. now, it's free! Sail around your opponent, light him up, get your ship's gun lined up on your enemy, load, FIRE! Huh? Didnt do much... ok, wait for it to load... accurate enough shot yet? Ok now fire... ok now agian.. and again.. OH! It's dead! Now sail over its remains to inspect... ok, a pic of the beast/boat you slayed... a choice or two to make.. thats it? REALLY? I wished for more pics of it, more choices, and a tad more exciting combat (i have the most expensive guns i think, and they are the same as anything else to be honest).

Final thoughts:
I dunno about the rest of this community, but there is a severe lack of artwork in this game (yeah, I like pictures), which is a shame, since the artwork that IS there is so wonderfully done. The majority writing gives such a vivid image of what supposedly is there, but there is no picture to accompany it. I just feel like this game is a grindfest/novel instead of the neat adventure game I wanted it to be, so guess what? I CHEATED. Yep, I took the time to dig through files and edit constants, and guess what? Although now I can finally adventure more carelessly, it's still hard! DANG, I could not have imagined progressing more in a legit manner just to find out that it does NOT make it any easier for you or at least is only slightly more of a challenge.

I guess, if i had to give a rating, 7/10 for nice art style (but lack of it in the readings), a great world full of lore, and moderate combat gameplay (meh). If you took the time to read through this entire review, I'm sorry I may have wasted your time.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
41.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 20
Early Access Review
- excellent writing
- great atmospheric graphic style and music
- difficult (you won't see/get everything in one evening)
- high replayability
- dark setting
- relatively unique concept

- sometimes taking risks is punishing/not rewarded enough

General score: 8.25/10 which could improve after updates/announced expansion
Just please remember its a roguelike, and not a casual adventure game.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
10.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 22
Early Access Review
Over all, I've enjoyed the game. I love the atmosphere of the Unterzee, interacting with the world is fun, and I really enjoy the way each playthrough feels like an entire new adventure with a completely different objective and character. The gameplay requires patience; a lot of it will consist of you sailing/zailing around in an effort to find something. The combat is somewhat iffy. I don't love it, but I don't hate it. It, like the game itself, is difficult and usually dependant on circumstance. In one of my playthroughs, I was low on fuel and trying to just make it to port so I could buy some more fuel, when one of those living icebergs got in my way and chased me until I ran out of fuel, which naturally resulted in my character perishing. In another playthrough, I rarely encountered something I couldn't handle by hiding or fighting and managed to last much longer than I had before. The game is very challenging and even unfair at times, but that's part of what makes it so enjoyable. Knowing that you could meet your untimely end with a single wrong course of action really manages to keep you on your toes while also being somewhat exhilerating.

With all that being said, there is one thing I really don't like; the economy. Attaining money/echoes in Sunless Sea is too difficult, in my opinion. You get paid hardly anything for doing most things and the cost of fuel and supplies is outrageous at most ports. Best case scenario is you break even, being able to afford what you need to survive with what you've earned but not gaining any ground. Eventually, you die due to lack of ability to pay for the essentials and spend your last couple minutes watching your fuel and/or supplies dwindle down to zero. I find myself unable to explore for very long or venture too far from London thanks to the insane prices and lack of sufficient income. If the cost of essentials was lowered or the payout of doing things raised, the game would be much more enjoyable. In my opinion, of course. It could be that I'm just awful and haven't completely figured out how to actually gain ground. :P

In conclusion, I'm really having a good time with Sunless Sea. Adventuring and discovering the world is super great, I just wish I could feel like I'm actually moving up in the world instead of continuing until I eventually run out of money and find myself at sea/zea knowing full well that I have no hope of surviving due to my fatal lack of fuel and/or supplies.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
14.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 24
Early Access Review
Sunless Sea is quite a good game. The Exploration is fantastic, the story is likewise fantastic, and the combat system has improved greatly since the game was first launched in Early Access.

I do feel as though it could be a little easier to earn Echoe's the games form of money, however they have promised that it will get easier the closer the game gets to full launch, and indeed I have noticed that it is not quite so hard to earn as it originally was.

As well, my only other complaint would be that I personally feel, it should be just a tad bit easier when you first start out on a new game, this is just personal taste however, as I do realize that some people prefer higher challenges than others.

Overall I do highly reccomend this game, it was playable when it first came out on Early Access, and its only gotten better.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
16.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 23
Early Access Review
"Sid Meir's Pirates" meets "FTL" meets China Mieville.

The combat's not quite as good as "Pirates", the game is not quite random enough to be "FTL" satisfying, and yeah...the writing isn't up to Mr.Mieville's level, but the writing is certainly above most games. The setting is certainly remenicent of China Mieville.

I dig it, and its the only Early Access game I've ever bought. Full release Feb 2nd!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
24.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 24
Early Access Review
Anyone who is a fan of Lovecraft, Fallen London, or generally the constant feeling that there are mysterious, powerful, and ultimately unknowable forces at work should buy this game.

Sunless Sea evokes uncertainty and trepidation as you pilot a tramp steamer through darkness and danger to exotic ports. Death can come at any time, even when you've got some sea legs under you after having played for a while, and even once things become somewhat understood and comfortable, there's always a nagging feeling of being at risk while your ship chug-chugs into the black again.

I think anyone who complains that this is a grind is either playing it too safe (at the beginning), or has perhaps reached a level of playing I haven't gotten to yet after many hours of play. If you're looking for a game where you can feel that you are the master, then you've come to the wrong place.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 18
Early Access Review
If you're up for a game with heavy focus on narrative and exploration in a masterfully crafted world, this is the game to get.

The understated tone of the game and associated internet iteration in general seem to be forcing this one to fly under everyone's radar (I only found out about the Sunless Sea way after the Kickstarter campaign was over, despite my obsession with this type of adventure/exploration experience). It would be a great shame to let that give this work a pass, however.

Take some time out of your night, delve into the sunless sea. Let's see how long you can survive into the dark.
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7 of 13 people (54%) found this review helpful
11 people found this review funny
11.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 15
Early Access Review
Best book I ever played
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
23 of 24 people (96%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
67.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 12, 2014
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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39 of 52 people (75%) found this review helpful
29.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 3, 2014
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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24 of 27 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
15.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 27, 2014
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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23 of 26 people (88%) found this review helpful
75.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 15, 2014
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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29 of 39 people (74%) found this review helpful
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 16, 2014
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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