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:
Recent:
Very Positive (97 reviews) - 85% of the 97 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (3,040 reviews) - 81% of the 3,040 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 6, 2015

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July 21

Sunless Sea update for July

Zubmariner Beta Update

Experienced zailors will know that Zubmariner is the first expansion to Sunless Sea, due out this Autumn. For newcomers: Zubmariner will allow you to add a zubmarine shell to your vessel, in order to make risky dives below the Unterzee. Stories, loot, zee-beasts and surprises will be there to discover - but the risks will be even higher than surface journeys.

Work continues apace on this new and more intense layer to the game! Beasties, animations and new ports are being added to the beta. Your correspondent met with the director of development yesterday and could hardly keep from squealing with delight at the terrible, wonderful stories you’re going to experience down there.

For people who have struggled with screen resolutions and text sizes in Sunless Sea, we’ve recently blogged about updates to the UI which are now in Zubmariner, and which will be rolled out to Sunless Sea when Zubmariner is released.

New Zubmariner development video

In which we discover a Triskelegant. If you manage to defeat one, you can risk dragging it aboard. They’ll pay double in London for anything that’s ‘pole-and-line caught’.

Reminder: we’re coming to Twitchcon!

We’re really excited to be doing our first ever event in the US!

Twitchcon is from 30 September to 2 October. Team FBG will be there, showing Zubmariner and giving out goodies (including special gifts for people in costume or who bring us fan art to decorate our office, which otherwise looks very much like a plain Victorian chapel, because that’s what it is).

11 comments Read more

June 23

Zubmariner News for June: We're in beta!

Sunless Sea is in the Steam Summer Sale!

Welcome to those of you who’ve joined us in the sale. You’ve made a wise decision to avoid all of that dreadful sunlight outside in favour of long and lonely journeys on a dark and unforgiving sea, dying repeatedly in the pursuit of (for example) a crate of human souls.

ZUBMARINER IS IN BETA!

Hooray! The first expansion for Sunless Sea, Zubmariner, is now in beta. Thank you to the hundreds of you who signed up to test! We’ll re-open signups further down the line, quite likely - watch here and in the Steam discussion forums for news.

Zubmariner is an expansion to the base game which will enable you to travel beneath the zee in a creaking, groaning Zubmarine. More stories, more pressure, more terrible things in the dark.

Zubmariner: Flora

A look at some of the procedurally placed plants and corals of the Unterzee, including our favourite, the brain coral.

We’re coming to Twitchcon!

We’ll be in the Indie area at Twitchcon in San Diego, from 30 Sept to 2 Oct! This is our first ever consumer event in the US! We can't help but use a lot of exclamation marks when considering the possibilities! Ack!

We will bring Sunless Sea and Zubmariner goodies. These will include special, limited edition and not commonly available goodies for anyone who comes to see us in any form of Neathy costume, or who brings art/made things for us to take to our office (flat things which go nicely in a suitcase). We handed out a few of these at London Comic Con and it was lovely. We can't wait to do it again. Let us know if you’re coming! (If you're not coming, it will all - of course - be broadcast on twitch.)

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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
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Very Positive (97 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (3,040 reviews)
Recently Posted
dafran
( 9.3 hrs on record )
Posted: July 30
At first I fell in love with the game. The setting, the atmosphere, writing... all is great. But after exploring the whole map (which can be done fairly soon if you avoid combat) I found hardly anything more to keep me interested. Nevertheless I still think this game is good and worth the price.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Amehana Sagukari
( 7.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 28
Sunless Sea is an ever changing roleplay. This was suggested to me by a good friend that knows of my love of stories, reading, and Lovecraftian and Gothic Horror. The game allows the player to live several lives as several zee captains, each one different, each one presented with different choices. There is danger, adventure, intruige, piracy, and even opportunities for a lonely captain to find a little romance, so long as it is kept discrete. I've found this to be one of those addictive games with constant "what happens next" moments. I've also discovered it is really handy to keep a pad of paper nearby and a pen to keep note of the goals and directions you are given, as I've had to start out with blank charts twice so far.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Nightmyre
( 25.1 hrs on record )
Posted: July 28
First game I'm reviewing, so here goes.

I really want to like this game. I played a decent number of hours, did several restarts, and basically won the game, but I just can't bring myself to actually finish it.

The problem? There's not actually that much *game* in this game.

The visuals are fantasitc, the sound and music are perfect, the story is top-notch. But in terms of actual gameplay, you eventually realise that it's sorely lacking.

Sunless Sea basically has you going around a fictional world, completing various quests, in order to ultimately accomplish your life goal, one of several choices you make at the start of the game. The concept is great, and it definitely works as far as the story and pitch are concerned.

Where the game falls flat is when you make it through the rather tough early and mid game.

In the game, there are basically three things you can do - you can fight other ships and sea monsters, you can trade goods at different ports, and you can visit ports and accomplish story objectives through a "choose your own adventure" type interface.

The fighting is done through a real-time broadside combat, where you're sailing around trying to take potshots at the other ships or monsters. The problem with the combat though, is that for the easier ships, it's dead easy - you just circle around behind them and then keep either circling with them, or reversing to stay behind them while they try to turn. On the other hand, against the monsters, it's almost impossible, since they move way faster than you, and can circle and hit you before *you* can turn. If you do take damage, the game is very punishing - ships hit hard, and you lose crew members and eventually ship speed, which is devastating considering how hard money is to get. Overall, the combat implementation is quite weak.

On the trading front, you realise that it is absolutely not profitable at all. Most ports barely offer decent deals - do a bit of google searching to see "profitable" trade routes, and you realise that most of them yield 3-5 credits per shipment of the goods, which is absolutely nothing. This is especially compounded when you realise that you can basically get unlimited money once you make it to the surface, by just clicking a few buttons over and over.

What that reduces the game to, is essentially a slow grind through the early quests until you get enough for the big merchant ship, and then some repetitive clicking until you get as much money as you want. Then once that's done, you're off sailing between ports and just clicking reading options.

Overall I can't recommend this game. I really want to, but it's just not got enough actual gameplay to be worth it. I just wish I had realised that before putting so much time into the game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Bleakwind
( 62.6 hrs on record )
Posted: July 27
I've spent a bit over 60 hours on this game, the atmosphere and unfolding stories are great. The soundtrack is phenomenal for building tension. As much as I enjoy the thematic elements, the pacing of the game simply unfolds far too slowly for my liking.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sucon
( 42.1 hrs on record )
Posted: July 27
With the Lovecraftian topics and mysterious and unnerving atmosphere, it's easy to get lost in the story.

While not deserving of a perfect score due to some minor bugs, I would otherwise call it a masterpiece.

9/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cousinjack
( 44.1 hrs on record )
Posted: July 26
I have no idea why anyone would want to go to Zee, its all misery and no way to make money. Better to stay in fallen London and join the bureaucracy.

Nice art, poor combat mechanics, pacing very slow, too difficult to make money and upgrade without using exploits

Tedious irritating game based on grindy repeat rinse mechanics
Helpful? Yes No Funny
torrenz
( 60.6 hrs on record )
Posted: July 26
A very unique game. So unique I can't think of anything to lazily compare it to, so I'll just have to essay up the things I really like about it.

Atmosphere. Conveyed to you with far more lecture and suspense than most recent games would want to risk. One of the first things you can do in Sunless Sea sums the mood up pretty well: you receive a pet for your crew, the Comatose Ferret. Interacting with it reveals that it used to be happy living among its kin, until you locked it up to rot on your ship. It suffers. If you wake it up it bites you. It is pretty much useless. Eventually, you can have it fashioned into a ferret-coat to gain a few stats.
Most people in Fallen London are miserable ferrets. Jostled helplessly in their prisons, at the mercy of inconceivable forces. The few bold souls that venture out to lay claim to some material or spiritual ambition quickly end up dead, or worse. You are an insignificant struggler, soon overwhelmed and erased - your only hope is that you are not forgotten by those who might follow in your footsteps.

As you explore the zee, you will find many tasks to follow and decisions to make. Maybe even too many to keep track of between sessions. Fortunately all your interactions and objectives are reviewable as items in your Journal, along with the status of individuals, nations and other powers you've encountered. There is also a Curiosities section of the inventory with no carrying limit, where the game will store your abstract possessions such as information, debuffs and special conditions, also in the form of items. This system of retaining almost everything as an item allows the vast varieties of event triggers and quest states to remain transparent for the player.

Roguelike elements are present, but do not clash with the semi-persistent progression. Death means you have to start over with the entire world and most resources reset, but exploring the world becomes easier as you learn of its risks and opportunities, and you will unlock more upgrades to pass on to your next captain.
RNG is a factor almost everywhere, but is applied expertly; never do I feel entirely at its mercy. You'll learn which stats to boost to improve your odds in specific situations, and there are often options to back out of risky gambles or ways to influence outcomes using resources. Chance doesn't work entirely against you either, as there are methods to get out of disastrous situations with a little luck... or at the very least you'll know to better pick your fights next time.

Not everything is intuitive, but it doesn't have to be - there's such an abundance of paths and path-forks that it hardly matters where you start. You can chase whatever seems most interesting to you, and you will inevitably learn about most things around it. That's a vague description of how I felt while playing, but I think people are bound to have wildly differing experiences with this game. If you like to toil for hours trying to understand the game organically I can confirm you will have a blast, and a tremendous amount of playtime. Fifty hours in I am still accumulating knowledge and incrementally improving, it still feels rewarding and there's still tons of content I haven't explored. Using the term "learning curve" is hardly doing it justice, it's more a series of learning rollercoasters.

That's my overview of the gameplay. There's good things to be said about prose and soundtrack, but they are more matters of taste. I can't think of anything strikingly bad in this game, probably due to lack of comparison. Well, maybe engine power could be made more useful. Or maybe the huge $5000 engine could have a percentage sellback value like other equipment, instead of being worth nothing after purchase. That is the only major pitfall so far I would've appreciated being informed of and that I'd recommend new players to avoid.

One last thing. I think there could be more of this. In many ways the concepts of the game appear to me very expandable. There's a lot of stuff. They could easily add more stuff. There could be another game in the same frameworks, but with new stuff. I want that stuff.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Super Drunk Guy
( 4.3 hrs on record )
Posted: July 25
turns out i have no sea, but there is plenty of sun.,
Helpful? Yes No Funny
wanderwoman222
( 72.3 hrs on record )
Posted: July 25
This game is very challenging at the beginning, but then it gets easier and more fun after you figure it out and start to get immersed in the storylines. There's lots of quests, and it definitely was challenging and fun. A good game!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
PonceDeLePwn
( 48.5 hrs on record )
Posted: July 25
Pros-
Setting/atmosphere
Stories and lore
Difficulty and risk vs reward

Cons-
The pacing is way too slow.
The rate at which you run out of fuel and supplies is needlessly harsh and punishes exploration.

Why I can't recommend-
They completely missed the opportunity to make each play-through truly unique. You expect to die a lot in games like these, but when I first died in Sunless Sea I was surprised to see that there were options for me to pass down certain traits to my next captain or (if you did really good) even begin the game as an heir of my previous captain's fortune. Sounds great, but it's horribly implemented. The game doesn't randomize the map when you die, which is fine, but all of the stories reset as if your previous captain never burnt down a certain house or whatever it may be. Essentially, the best you can expect from this game is a repetitive experience where it becomes less about "luck" or "randomness" and wise decisions and more about memorizing the same quest lines and navigating the same map over and over again (let's not forget hor absurdly slow this game is paced) until you go crazy like one of the sailors in the game and want to throw your captain (the devs) overboard.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
44 of 56 people (79%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
6.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 1
I hate to be a negative voice against a game which is so unique. But this game just did not work for me. I love the setting, the writing was often very clever, and the art of the environments was super unique and appealing. The issue for me was that the game was very slow, both in navigating menus and in combat and sailing. These would be issues for any game, but it's bad in particular for a roguelike where one is expected to die and retry multiple times. After a death even clicking through things quickly there is like 20+ minutes of boilerplate actions that need to be taken to start off into the ocean. It's just too much repetition of slow menu navigation and exploring around your home base that you need to do before actually progressing further into the interesting bits. I only played a few lives and I was already bored with the same text and actions that I had to take. I never got that "just one more life, I gotta try that again" that I get from games like Rogue Legacy or Risk of Rain. More just a feeling of "do I have to do all that again?"

I'm not sure if it would really fix the issues that I had with it, but it is a game that I feel would actually be better not as a Roguelike. Just let me keep my experience so that I can slowly build up my ship and actually explore the world and read all the interesting stories and see the beautiful art.

Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
7.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 5
Capitalism.

Sailing between Unterzee London and the Mediterranean Sea I would buy coffee in London and sell it in Vienna. Every trip I would buy and profit more. Eventually I bought the largest cargo vessel available in the game and loaded it down with the rest of my money in coffee...

When I reached the surface I found that my buyer had committed suicide and no one else would purchase the goods. I had only one dollar more than was necessary to return underground. When I got back I found I didn't have enough fuel to return to London and needed to sell most of the crew's food to purchase more. Once back in London I sold the coffee back at a loss and started to find other ways of making profit while operating hand to mouth.

That will be your experience in this game. That, and sudden unavoidable deaths you had no way of anticipating.

Other than the gameplay exerience there is the writing. The game has no actual story. Intstead it is a world you learn about and observe while completing quests. The writing in these quests can be interesting and I wouldn't call it ham fisted, but it can be tedious and melodramatic. At times the writing can be insulting too, but I did enjoy most of it.

One more thing. Steam does not track offline hours. Most of my time in this game has been offline.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
177.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 12
This game is by far one of the most fun and immersive experiences I've had in a long time. In the span of a couple of hours of playtime it managed to make me feel happiness, anger, sadness etc. I got attached to the characters I met, the story and every little mystery (of which there are MANY) sucked me in almost instantly.
Pros
- FANTASTIC writing
- Great characters
- Amazing soundtrack
- Glorious story and lore
- Chilling graphics, that fit amazingly well in the narrative
- The most interesting and creepy exploring I've done in a game
- Time consuming
Cons
- Time consuming - the boats go real slow, the map is huge, you need a lot of time to get somewhere - is not a con if you can just boot up Netflix while slowly sailing
- Agonizingly grindy at the start - the game's currency (ehoes) is very hard to come by at the start - it's slow and tedious to amount a fortune, but once you're into the game and a couple of your captain's die, it will get easier
- A lot of reading - if you don't like reading, this game isn't really for you

Overall, I adore this game. The story, the setting, the music - everything. I even love grinding in this game.

"God bless Her Enduring Majesty, the Empress."
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
12 of 15 people (80%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
Recommended
24.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 29
I broke the law by smuggling sunlight until I could upgrade my ship, so i could legally merchant human souls.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
12 of 15 people (80%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
32.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 12
The "thumb down" you see above doesn't mean I think „Sunless Sea” is a bad game. It means exactly what it says - that I don't recommend it.

I love stories. I love fables, legends and tales. So obviously „Sunless Sea” lured me with a world where tales are told in every port, where every street urchin can tell you a secret, where memories of distant shores are currency. Wonderfully depressing atmosphere of Falllen London overwhelemed me, when I first set off into the Zee. I'll always remember when I found Khan's Heart for the first time, sudden change of music and relief, that I'll be able to refill my supplies. I'll remember exploring Frostfound, Monkey Foundling's mischief, pilgrimage to Amaradri and many others...

But I have to plead guilty. I've cheated.

You will soon recognize, dear player, that finding a new port and surviving the cruise takes a few hours. Managing your supplies and trying to make some extra coins takes a lot of work. The problem is – it's not hard work. It's slow work. A very, very slow work. After about twelve or more hours I've discovered no more than 20% of the map. I had a dozen started quests, very little improved character skills and was about 1000 echoes short to buy a reasonable boat.

If you have months of free time to spare, you will master the game, explore the game's whole world, complete all quests with multiple captains (It's impossible to level one character enough to complete or even start all game quests). But I don't have that much time. And what's more – I don't think the gameplay is worth it. Sure, in the beginning it's satisfactory to survive a cruise, find a new port, meet new NPC-s... But after some time all that stuff just stays in your way to improve plot, to push the story forward.

So I've cheated. I edited my save file to gain better statistics and boat speed (even the fastest boat you can buy is painfully slow). I wanted more stories, not more cruising back and forth. And I got them. The stories, the places, the characters where beautiful, subtle, ornate, colorful and aesthetic...

Yes, I describe the stories as if they were pictures, because, basiclly, they are. They are beautifuly crafted carvings, decorated shells – pleasing for senses, but empty inside, with no substance, no wisdom, nothing to gain but aesthetic feelings.

And I liked them. I enjoyed them. But they are absolutely not worth hours of coarse gameplay. At it's core „Sunless Sea” is like a long, thick book. Except fragments of it's stories appear once per hundred pages, and are poetic fragments, pretty but shallow.

So if you wanted to play „Sunless Sea” for fables and wonders of the Fallen London, like I did, play for a couple of hours, but not longer. Then edit your save file to gather all the legends from the Unterzee. You will be pleased. But you won't be wiser.
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
257.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 1
Tip of the Day: Mysteries are Fire! Truth Burns!

Excellent atmosphere for a Cthulhu Mythos Friendly Rogue-lite narrative-heavy game set within Victorian Age London.

London has been swallowed by the Sunless Sea and Fallen beneath the Waves into an eldritch subterranean underworld where eldritch dieties named Salt, Stone, and Storm are worshipped by strange alien denizens. Time flows strangely here and Death is a kindness oft sought but seldom found everywhere in this subterranean world over a mile beneath the ground.

You are a Zee Captain who has chosen to explore this rich, diverse alien world in pursuit of your own Ambitions. You have appropriated by means fair or foul, a serviceable if cramped steam-punk boat powered by a rickety if functional engine and recruited a handful of hardy crew members to your cause. Together you shall go forth upon the eldritch waters of a living darkness that slowly saps your body and devours your mind.

The story unfolds as you explore areas deeper into that gaping maw of antediluvian horrors as you zail away from the relative safety of Fallen London. Yet to Fallen Londen you shall always return carrying with you the seeds of forbidden knowledge, the scars of eldritch horror, and many otherworldly artifacts and secrets. If you survive long enough, you may eventually lay the proper foundations for a family of your own and a brave, lonely child who if sufficiently inspired by tales of your exploits at Zee shall carry on the family tradition if the unthinkable should happen to you.

Writing: The Writing in Sunless Sea is concise, brilliant, rich and replete with eldritch imagery and alliteration that would make H.P. Lovecraft himself proud to accord it its own unique place within the Mythos. Everywhere you zail, there are elements of eldritch mystery and supernatural horror woven into a darkly comical humor washing over every inhabited island floating upon this Sunless Sea. The writing is easily the best part of this game as it lies within these small little stories that the world of Sunless Sea is slowly brought to life within your mind. Every tiny port lit by its artificial port light is imbued with its own unique character stitched into the atmosphere of the game refined into a complete and comprehensive whole...a complete entity that makes your Captain's story all the more intense as you explore more of the Unterzee in your eldritch tainted voyages under the ever present threat of losing your crew, your ship, your life, or your mind to its mysteries of this Sunless Sea.

Grind: There is a learning curve to this game but I did not find it that terribly difficult to overcome. If you want some tips and advice there are numerous guides in the community guide forum on Steam to help you short-circuit where you should go if you want to make a sustainable early income. The community is friendly if not overly given to poetry or alliteration themselves. They will be more than happy to help you get over the "Grind" of learning the do's and don'ts of this game.

The world of Sunless Sea is replete with many things for your Captain to do in the Neath before he dies to some pirate coursier or the casual cruelty of the alien denezins that inhabit this alien world. The Atmosphere of the game is as immersive and deep and strange as the Setting itself.

The only real loss to playing Sunless Sea as I do is that they do not update this game with fresh stories as frequently as they once did so eventually you will after countless hours find yourself running through all the various permutations of the stories that are implemented in stunning richness within the vault of your imagination. Add to that, there is a relatively difficult learning curve early on coupled to the relative slowness of your boat's initial engine. This means that this game does requires some patience and foresight (fuel, supplies, crew) if you want to have your Captain to survive long enough to pass his Legacies on to the next generation but the literary and gameplay rewards are great for those who perserve through the challenges within this rogue-lite narrative game.

Gameplay: You have Stats that correspond to skills and abilities that are utilized in stories to determine the outcome of various adventures. Unlike most games, Sunless Sea encourages you to play through even your failures since sometimes a lesson not learned may be as important to your Captain's long-term survival as succeeding at everything.

Summary: The writing stays fluid through all potential outcomes failure and success alike. There is so much richness in the freedom of choices on offer here that it puts to shame anything you will find in any Telltale Studio game. Through it all the Setting, Atmosphere, and Quality of the Writing within this game make it an absolute must buy for any bookophile looking to experience life within a very alien world replete with Lovecraftian horrors and stories ranging across a broad range of Mythos-related themes. This is supernatural horror at its finest set within a Victorian Sunless Sea Steam-Punk world filled with strange, mysterious, and terrible creatures that may help you, hurt you, or eat you for their own inscrutable purposes. There are many ways to survive and there are many ways to die. It is a rogue-LITE narrative driven game so be mindful of that as one Captain's death may be another Captain's salvation.

Bottom Line: Sunless Sea is definitely a buy if you prize Lovecraftian horror games with high-quality writing, expansive setting, and a deeply immersive atmosphere from start to finish. If you were interested enough to come to this store page, then you really should consider giving this game a try. Your first Captain will die...others may yet survive this...Sunless Sea.
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
60.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 26
A very unique game. So unique I can't think of anything to lazily compare it to, so I'll just have to essay up the things I really like about it.

Atmosphere. Conveyed to you with far more lecture and suspense than most recent games would want to risk. One of the first things you can do in Sunless Sea sums the mood up pretty well: you receive a pet for your crew, the Comatose Ferret. Interacting with it reveals that it used to be happy living among its kin, until you locked it up to rot on your ship. It suffers. If you wake it up it bites you. It is pretty much useless. Eventually, you can have it fashioned into a ferret-coat to gain a few stats.
Most people in Fallen London are miserable ferrets. Jostled helplessly in their prisons, at the mercy of inconceivable forces. The few bold souls that venture out to lay claim to some material or spiritual ambition quickly end up dead, or worse. You are an insignificant struggler, soon overwhelmed and erased - your only hope is that you are not forgotten by those who might follow in your footsteps.

As you explore the zee, you will find many tasks to follow and decisions to make. Maybe even too many to keep track of between sessions. Fortunately all your interactions and objectives are reviewable as items in your Journal, along with the status of individuals, nations and other powers you've encountered. There is also a Curiosities section of the inventory with no carrying limit, where the game will store your abstract possessions such as information, debuffs and special conditions, also in the form of items. This system of retaining almost everything as an item allows the vast varieties of event triggers and quest states to remain transparent for the player.

Roguelike elements are present, but do not clash with the semi-persistent progression. Death means you have to start over with the entire world and most resources reset, but exploring the world becomes easier as you learn of its risks and opportunities, and you will unlock more upgrades to pass on to your next captain.
RNG is a factor almost everywhere, but is applied expertly; never do I feel entirely at its mercy. You'll learn which stats to boost to improve your odds in specific situations, and there are often options to back out of risky gambles or ways to influence outcomes using resources. Chance doesn't work entirely against you either, as there are methods to get out of disastrous situations with a little luck... or at the very least you'll know to better pick your fights next time.

Not everything is intuitive, but it doesn't have to be - there's such an abundance of paths and path-forks that it hardly matters where you start. You can chase whatever seems most interesting to you, and you will inevitably learn about most things around it. That's a vague description of how I felt while playing, but I think people are bound to have wildly differing experiences with this game. If you like to toil for hours trying to understand the game organically I can confirm you will have a blast, and a tremendous amount of playtime. Fifty hours in I am still accumulating knowledge and incrementally improving, it still feels rewarding and there's still tons of content I haven't explored. Using the term "learning curve" is hardly doing it justice, it's more a series of learning rollercoasters.

That's my overview of the gameplay. There's good things to be said about prose and soundtrack, but they are more matters of taste. I can't think of anything strikingly bad in this game, probably due to lack of comparison. Well, maybe engine power could be made more useful. Or maybe the huge $5000 engine could have a percentage sellback value like other equipment, instead of being worth nothing after purchase. That is the only major pitfall so far I would've appreciated being informed of and that I'd recommend new players to avoid.

One last thing. I think there could be more of this. In many ways the concepts of the game appear to me very expandable. There's a lot of stuff. They could easily add more stuff. There could be another game in the same frameworks, but with new stuff. I want that stuff.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
21.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 3
My every failure, and even my successes, measured in terror.

I greet my new crew as they come aboard. I wonder if they can see their deaths reflected in the mirror of my face. Woe, being litany, is something we share; theirs only being much shorter. I will remember every face. I will listen to their laughter, until it stops, has run out, like sand from a glass. The sound replaced by the beating of ten thousand featherless wings in a negative space full of ruin and madness colored the blackest pitch.

This abyss we sail upon does not need you to look into it to take your measure. It knows that everything alive has been born a lesser monster than itself.

From behind the door to my quarters, I listen to these men boast of courage and bravery. They don't yet understand the way their sanity will be tethered to the ship's light - and what will happen when we must extinguish it to save ourselves.




10/10 for jumped-up IF unfairly attached to a RNG
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
14.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 15
This game is great. The only downside I've found, is that there are quite a few loading screens. In other reviews, complain complain about the repitiveness of the game, but, to be honest, it enhances the experience. The game is meant to simulate the life of a captain who's sent out into the darkness time after time, only to die, lose everything, or risk it all for a chance to complete his goals.

Pros:
Easy to navigate, well drawn UI
Anything can run this, even on high
The atmosphere fits the game really well
The soundtrack is amazing, but loops alot
The game needs careful resource management (This might be a turn off, but I like games that are legitimately difficult to beat)
The story is great, with thousands of ways to play

Cons:
There are a lot of loading screens imo, which is annoying, but not bad either
The game can get a bit grindy, which is annoying, but take a chance every once in a while, and you'll be set
Soundtrack loops alot, which is a pain


The verdict:
9.5/10, you should buy it. It's worth it at full price, but I'd recommend buying it on sale.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
24.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 23
"We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far." - H.P. Lovecraft

...you know what you do in this game? You take a look at those black seas and voyage the ♥♥♥♥ on out there. There are a lot of horror games on Steam, and there's fantasy and sci-fi aplenty, but Sunless Sea stands out for being a true work of weird fiction. It's about horror, and it's about survival, but it's not a zombie shooter or a walking simulator with jump scares. It's a steampunk game that feels dark and wondrous and strange instead of slapping a couple gears and monocles on everybody and calling it a day.

Go forth, bold zee-captain. Navigate under false stars and take shore leave at sundry isles shrouded in fog and wreathed in uncanny flora. But watch your provisions carefully. Should you fail, you won't go gently into that good night. You'll go kicking and screaming, with a mad glint in your eye and the taste of your crewmates' flesh on your tongue.

I wish you all safe travels, and pleasant dreams.
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