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 (1,613 reviews)
Release Date: Feb 6, 2015

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Recommended By Curators

"A narratively driven rogue-lite, perhaps a more story-driven FTL? Whatever the case the world is fascinating and the writing sublime and funny."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (41)

September 3

The Rise of Pigmote

Hairless Adviser! The Neath's most adorable nation needs your wisdom once again!

Guide the feuding rats and cavies of Pigmote Isle to independence. Sabotage their ambitions for your own benefit. Help them flourish, or pick through the ruins of their doomed dream. London will never believe a b____dy word of it anyway.

This free story continues your adventures on Pigmote!

To begin the new arc in an ongoing game, simply return to Pigmote Isle while Something Awaits You. If your current captain has been exiled, you will need to return with a new captain. In a new game, this story continues directly on from the island's foundation.

The Pirate Poet and the Merciless Modiste

The Pirate Poet and Merciless Modiste are now ready for you to meet!

The Pirate Poet is an exclusive character for Kickstarter backers at the Corsair level and higher, though all brave Captains can recruit the Modiste if they dare. We’ll be in touch via Kickstarter if you’re due to encounter the Pirate Poet! UPDATE to the UPDATE: Backers! The Pirate Poet code is now working. Enjoy!

This backer-exclusive content will be made available for purchase, further down the line.

Fixes and additions

This update also expands the amount of files modders can alter, introduces a new Account Management page and contains a few bug fixes.

Modding Constants

You can now include the 'Constants' folder as part of your mod, allowing you to adjust properties like ship speed and engine power.

Account Management

Players will now be able to:
  • View any Condiments they have. Condiments are tasty accompaniments to Sunless Sea (found in Fallen London, or as DLC in future)
  • Get new stories manually
  • Authenticate their account manually, if there are no new stories
  • Switch accounts

Bug fixes

We've fixed or added the following:
  • Issue with the 'Edit Keybindings' page which caused the scroll bar to stop functioning.
  • Legacy bug which allowed players to choose Officers or Weapons they no longer possessed.
  • Repairing issue which would cause the player ship to become stuck in the 'Repair' state.
  • Corvette enemy ship added to the game (for Kickstarter Backers this ship will be captained by the Pirate Poet)

Vote for Sunless Sea!

We're chuffed that Sunless Sea has been nominated for Best Storytelling in the Golden Joysticks and Best 2D Visual Experience and Community Choice in the 2015 Unity Awards!

You can vote for us in both awards:
Golden Joysticks
2015 Unity Awards

We know these voting things can be a hassle. If you do manage to vote for us, please know that we're very grateful you took the time. It means a lot!

Your friends,
Failbetter Games

15 comments Read more

August 14

Startup and connection issues: FIXED!

Sorry, all - we know that as of yesterday, a lot of new purchasers are seeing issues with a grey screen on startup. As of today, everyone is now seeing a 'Can't Connect' message for the Get New Stories button - which is a bigger problem, because Get New Stories was a workaround for the first issue.

We put out a patch yesterday, and also did some server migration work yesterday / today - this has caused two separate issues which are colliding in a nasty way.

We are working to fix this right now. Really sorry for the trouble. We're happy for you to request refunds from Steam in the meantime (even if you repurchase the game later).

9 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
    • Hard Drive: 700 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
    • Processor: 2Ghz or better
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 1280x768 minimum resolution, DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card
    • Hard Drive: 700 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
Helpful customer reviews
214 of 240 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
29.3 hrs on record
Posted: April 2
After sailing around for an hour or so, killing some huge crabs and collecting some reports from new islands I had discovered, I was running low on fuel and supplies. The game reminded me of this with a prompt titled "Desperate Measures," so I was left with little choices on the matter.

I tried to use my last two boxes of supplies in a vain attempt to desperately scrape together some fuel so I could reach the port of Fallen London -- I failed. Now I was faced with the problem of starvation, on top of the whole fuel fiasco.

Fear was setting in, as was hunger, fuel was low, as was hope, so I decided to beseech the gods of the Unter-Zee for help, and help they did. I was, for lack of a better word, teleported to some kind of temple dedicated to the gods, and that was where things went from bad to worse.

This temple couldn't be further away from Fallen London, and therefore aid, than I could have gotten on my own. So I decided to beseech the gods again, this time my pleading went unanswered, a cruel cold-shoulder delivered to an ingrateful neophyte. The only purpose my inane begging to a higher power served was to unsettle my crew and drive us all to the brink of sanity.

So I abandoned ship and we all died, lol. 11/10.
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68 of 75 people (91%) found this review helpful
30.9 hrs on record
Posted: April 8
I know exactly why I love this game, and it mostly just boils down to stoking imagination. If I had to take a step back and think about the bigger picture, I would attribute that success to these qualities:

Text placed along single pictures that barely represent a person or place, letting our minds fill in the rest
Areas with names but no descriptions (essentially places with no point but infinite possibility)
Choose your own adventure style questions with no backsies, many posed through actual dialogue
No main story, everything is tertiary and yet also essential
An in-game presence so that each journey still feels substantial, weighted appropriately by time and risk

I have never been so smitten with a game, and if the above traits are not enough to make that point, consider that it also manages to blend meaningfully rich text with brilliantly haunting music in a setting that oozes inspiration. Give the game time to sink into your bones. It's worth it!
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89 of 128 people (70%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: April 4
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]


For the full review and others please take the time to visit http://www.review-well.com
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29 of 33 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
20.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 8
So after 20 hours and two deaths in this game, I managed to save up enough money to buy a new ship.

I feel that that sentence alone is sufficient as a review, but let's continue.

Sunless Sea is nothing if not a slow boil.

There are a multitude of dangers in the weird, Lovecraftian world that you sail around, but you learn pretty fast that the best way to survive them is to simply turn your ship around and run away from them. Eventually, as you explore the 'Zee', you'll discover that there are certain safe routes between the islands and you can start charting milk runs that will run you through 12+ ports, gathering smatterings of resources here and there until you get home and add another little pile to your fortune.

Each of the ports your ship checks in at has its own little stories, adventures and chance encounters. The writing in the game, while somewhat overwrought at times, is solid and while there is a constant temptation to just skim things and hit 'continue', I usually didn't do that.

But the problem is that so much of the game is locked behind obscure requirements that are quite literally impossible to figure out without a trip to the game's wiki. I spent an absolutely horrific amount of resources trying to finish my gunner's side mission. The last step is to go to a place called Station III and talk to a guy working there, but Station III is locked and will remain locked until I bring some kind of copper box to them. Where do I get this box? I don't know! And I have no way of finding this out besides Google.

On another occasion, I found a shipwreck that I could explore by bringing special 'Foxfire candles' inside. My next trip to London, I bought some of those and went to the ship and found... nothing (the candles were still used). Confused, I gave up and looked up the wreck on the wiki and found out that it's apparently impossible to find anything inside there until you trigger a quest in another town.

So it's weird, convulted and a fair chunk of it is sailing through empty seas avoiding fights. I'm thus tempted to give this a 'No' recommendation, but I suppose the writing is strong enough to tip it over the edge.

Still, consider this about the most lukewarm recommendation a game could ever receive.
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29 of 33 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
23.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 28
A beautiful and strange game. Frustrating at times, but if you can focus on the peaceful journey rather than "WINNING!!!" you'll find it a unique experience.
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