LOSE YOUR MIND. EAT YOUR CREW. Take the helm of your customised steamship and set sail for the unknown! Sunless Sea is a 2D game of discovery, survival and loneliness set in the award-winning Victorian Gothic universe of Fallen London.
User reviews: Very Positive (389 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 may or may not change significantly over the course of development. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you may want to wait until the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?


This is a 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 more stories popping every week. 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.”

How long will this game be in Early Access?

“Three to four months, with story updates weekly and major updates at least once a month. 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 - slated for release late October. Officers integrated as crew, additional equipment, currents. The Promised Sea where the Fathomking holds court, and the South: Carnelian Coast and Dawn’s Edge.

SAPPHIRE - mid November. Neutral vessels, wandering phenomena. The East: Irem and the Pillared Sea, the Deconstruction, Saviour’s Rocks with the octomaran Tree of Ages. The most challenging form of victory.

DIAMOND - early December. Final release! Graphical upgrades, optimisations, and polish.”

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 for two months.”

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 any extra areas or DLC we provide. 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

"Far from finished, but its twisted adventures in a sunken world filled with unspeakable horrors, dark decisions and sublime words are not to be missed."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (14)

October 21

Story update: 21st October

Hello, delicious captains!

Another nugget of story - you can now explore the Fathomking's Hold (and pay him to recover the Outcast, the Campaigner and the Magician if you were unfortunate enough to lose them.)

Late this week or early next week, you'll see the Saviour's Rocks story go live; Visage and the Isle of Cats will follow shortly after that.

We look forward, as ever, to your feedback!

0 comments Read more

October 15

New content: the Merchant Venturer

We've just put a knot of new stories live. The Merchant Venturer will appear in London, early in the game. He'll ask you to find some unorthodox materials... and he has a story of his own. Hit 'New Stories Available' to download him.

We don't post about every new content update, but we thought this one was worth mentioning because

- the Venturer makes it easier to find cash in the early and mid game
- with his help, it is *possible* to unlock a unique extra Legacy...


3 comments Read more
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“Sunless Sea takes the excellent writing and world-building of Fallen London, and injects it into a 2D exploration, trading and survival game. It’s Elite but with steamships instead of starships.”
Rock Paper Shotgun

“A wonderful prospect: a game of exploration, loneliness, risk, adventure and madness taking place across a vast subterranean ocean riddled with islands, with dangers, with dripping trophies of the deep.”

About This Game


Take the helm of your customised steamship and set sail for the unknown! Sunless Sea is a 2D game of discovery, survival and loneliness set in the award-winning Victorian Gothic universe of Fallen London. Will you succumb to madness and cannibalism on the black waters? Or return home triumphant with a hold full of precious loot?

Events can turn out differently every game - sometimes, even if you make the same choices. Will you lose your sweetheart to a curse? Redeem, betray or consume the Genial Magician? Sell your soul to the Wistful Deviless or spurn her advances? Is the Dawn Machine your salvation, or your doom?

You are the captain. It’s your call.

Key features

  • A deep, compelling world packed with secrets and stories
  • Beautiful, hand drawn 2D art
  • Light and dark. Stray too far from the gas-lamps of civilisation and your crew will grow fearful and eventually lose their sanity. But there is treasure out there in the darkness…
  • Real-time, pausable combat with dozens of different abilities
  • Leave a legacy! When you die (and you will) your next captain may choose to inherit a skill, a chart of discovered islands or a beloved officer.
  • Upgrade your steamship with powerful engines, flensing cannons, and pneumatic torpedo guns. Or just 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 from a menagerie of ship’s mascots: the Comatose Ferret, the Wretched Mog, the Elegiac Cockatoo, and more!
  • Trade silk and souls, mushroom wine and hallucinogenic honey...
  • Cross the wide black sea
  • Find your way home

System Requirements

    • 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
20 of 21 people (95%) found this review helpful
15.1 hrs on record
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.
Posted: September 27
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
32.5 hrs on record
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.
Posted: October 12
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Let me tell you a story, from a land far beneath us. In a world where nightmares exist, and devils roam freely. Where the dead do not lie down, and icebergs are alive.

Sunless Sea is a brilliant game based on Fallen London's Universe of the Neath. The Neath is a dark, dreary place, where many things are not what they seem. And far too many are exactly what they seem. You play the role of a captain zailing the zea. To where? Well, that's up to you, good sir. The Neath is out for your exploration, and theres little to stop you...

Well except for the living icebergs... Or the zea monsters.... Or that angry swarm of bats flying right towards you...

This game is about telling a story, and exploring a strange world that is very similar to our own. It has much to offer, from trading souls (don't ask where they come from) to dealing with the locals. Strange events occur, and nightmares are quite frightening. For the Neath is a dark place. A real dark place. Light is your friend. A precious friend.

Sadly, no game is without fault. But this one is mearly a minor one. For the developers are slowly adding more into the game, which means that not all things are stable. Not all the routes are open yet, and theres much that you'll want to see.

So go out there into that ztrange ztrange zea. Zailing away into ze darkness.
Posted: October 1
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
43.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
This game is pretty much in a genre of its own. You play as the captain of a small ship trying to scrape a living from a massive underground sea. This is done by trading, fighting monsters/pirates and playing a number of text based adventures when in port.

The game is a rougelike with an optional non-ironman mode where you can enable in game saves. If you do decide to play it as the makers intended expect to die a lot and have to restart more or less from scratch.

Based on the Fallen London universe (where a Victorian London has been dragged down to the depths by a bunch of bats, no I'm serious) the game has a hard to describe off kilter weirdness to both the gameplay and the writing. If you're bored of the same old fare and are looking for something different then this definitely qualifies.
Posted: October 11
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11 of 17 people (65%) found this review helpful
16.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Excellent premise, poor execution. The grind for the in-game currency is dull and unrewarding (don't even think about combat in the early game until you manage to grind up enough cash for an upgrade), there's a lot that apparently isn't even in the game (in spite of the fact I've had it for quite some time now - to be fair, it's still Early Access....), the new combat system consists of dancing around the screen trying to keep your enemy in the radius provided by your foreward gun (to be frank, the old system was better, at least it took a little bit of strategy)... Like I said, the game's got a great theory behind it and seems to have a decent enough story (whatever of it you actually get to see thus far), but the gameplay itself just isn't there.

It really is a shame. I bought it because it looked neat, the art style is appealing, and the project seemed to have some real potential. Sadly, it's a long way out from being a great game. If I were to go back in time, knowing what I know about the game now, I wouldn't have bought it. But since I already have it, all I can do is let it update and check back in on it every few months to see if it's gotten any better.
Posted: October 9
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8 of 13 people (62%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
This is a review of the game as it stands on 12 October, 2014.

The horrible combat system combined with the severe resource scarcity makes getting started in this an exercise in absolute frustration. In about 2 hours of playing I've racked up about a dozen restarts, and I don't think I've had a single game last more than about fifteen minutes. You'll constantly encounter enemies which can effortlessly outmanouver, outshoot, and outrun you, while your ship wallows through the turns like a pregnant water buffalo and your deck gun seems to be incapable of hitting anything outside of point blank range.

Which would be fine, if there were ways to avoid combat, or if there were some reward for being victorious. Except there isn't; the combat stands firmly between you and the rest of the game.

There are enemies that make hamburger out of you every single direction you go from the starting location, and even if you get lucky and beat one of the bad guys, they respawn every time you hit port, and the minor salvage you get from them doesn't even remotely make up for the cost in fuel, supplies, and repairs in fighting them. Turning off the deck lamp, while supposedly making you less visible, doesn't have any noticeable effect, and even starting with the 'stealth' background, turning off the lamp, and kicking on the engine-damaging overstoking isn't enough to get you past any of the enemies with any degree of reliability. Avoiding them doesn't work, going toe-to-toe doesn't work, trying to kite them has about a 50% chance of winning the fight, but you almost always take at least one hit and don't have the money to fully repair, meaning you're basically hosed on the next fight (which you'll have to deal with, because of the respawning).

I want to believe that there's a great story and fun experience in there somewhere, and I'd really love to be able to rate this game based on those instead of the horrible combat and terrible ship handling, unfortunately, the combat is incredibly frustrating, prohibitively difficult, absolutely unavoidable, and is currently standing between me and the rest of the game. More or less every game so far has involved me watching the ship trundle slowly through the ocean for a few minutes, until it gets ripped apart by the first, or sometims the second (or, on a single memorable occasion, the third) enemy unit I run into.

In its current state, not at all recommended. Not even on sale.
Posted: October 12
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
белеет парус одинокий

GOTY-2014 (вместе с Banner Saga)
Posted: October 15
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
48.1 hrs on record
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.
Posted: October 15
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
16.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
I helped a tribe of sentient rats take over a strategically important island. Got 5 Echo (Dollars) from the Admirality for my services to the Crown.

10/10 would look stupid for aiding a rodent uprising again
Posted: October 19
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
This game is dank. Dark and dank. Mold grows in the shadows as psybocillin laced environmental sounds announce themselves in the void. Although there is much potential, this game is not ready for purchase quite yet. Canons should swivel and the combat effects are garbage. Stories are many and detailed but never change. Also what are we doing here?
Posted: October 16
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Really cool game with an eerie atmosphere. Addicting and challenging, but none the less fun as hell. Sunless Sea is not quite a point-and-click combined with an RPG and a great adventurous story to back it up. There is so much lore involved in this game, and the early acess is such a plus because i've been able to watch this game expand; finding new islands, characters, and general improvements in the game. Thanks to all who helped make this possible, it is truely a fun game. it brings me back to the period when games where you had to read were fun.
Posted: October 17
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
12.9 hrs on record
Early Access Review
This game is compelling, literate, at times meditative and at times thrilling, often funny, frequently unfair, darly beautiful and remarkably surprising and varied. There aren't adjectives it should have that it doesn't. I could belive it's not for everyone but it's most definitely for me.
Posted: October 17
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
5.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Verdict: Just buy Sid Meyer's Pirates! instead. Really.

1. Text adventure.
It's a text adventure game. 2D top-down view attached to it serves no purpose but a simple decoration for a massive walls of text.

2. Small text.
Most of the game you spend reading the text. It's either a log book or log window. Log book takes 20% of the screen, log window 5%. Very small text. Log window distracts you from admiring the scenic overview every couple of seconds. Makes your eyes bleed.

3. No fog of war.
I mean really... Exploration game w/o FOW? You gotta be kidding me!

4. No navigation tools.
Yep. Navigation sucks. No waypoints, no compass, no bearings, no radar, no minimap.

5. Combat is secondary and pointless.
Location discovery gives 50 exp. points, combat victory - 1 exp. point. You are very limited in your movements in a combat, so you end up spending lots of gold on repairs. Victory won't give you any gold. Why bother?

6. Text adventure is boring.
It boils down to memorizing options and outcomes.

7. Progress is slow.
Movement between points of interest is very slow. Going back and forth is really boring.

8. RPG system is confusing.
There are lots of perks and properties to discover. For everything. Everywhere. Hundreds. You will mostly have no idea why do they even exist. They will just pile up in your inventory until eventually you will need one of them to click some button.

9. Resource management.
The game lacks visuals. There is no indication of terror gain. No idication on how light or distance affect it. Do they? There is no indication on how stats affect combat. Do they?
Posted: October 5
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
10.5 hrs on record
Early Access Review
I've bought into a lot of Early Access games so I am not inexperienced in playing unfinished games. I bought this game thinking it would be a nice twist on trade and exploration games. I understand the developers have focused on exploration over trading and that is fine. However the game feels like a grind, and it shouldn't. This is a paid game, not the free Fallen London (which I have also played). I know the game is still in development, but if the game is half as grindy as it is now it will still be a major problem. While I love the lore and think this game has a lot of potential, I must give it a thumbs down unless they fix the trading and grinding. Making it so difficult that players must stick to certain trade routes just to make a little profit hinders the exploration aspect. When I feel this game will not be another grind like Fallen London (I understand why FL is a grind) I will give it a thumbs up. Until then, I must give it a thumbs down. While grinding is a useful tool for free to play games, it is inexcusable in a game I have purchased. I will come back to edit this review on full release, and I hope to be able to give it a thumbs up.
Posted: October 10
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
26.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
The whole Fallen London concept and world is very appealing to me. Dark, brooding, and yet humorous in a gritty way. However, almost twenty bucks (kickstarter or not) for not even a half finished flash game is ridiculous.
Posted: October 4
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Sunless Sea is a narrative based adventure set in the underground depths of a Victorian style London.
You play the role of a seafaring Captain with your trusty log book at your side. The game features an every expanding and engrossing stories as you find new crew mates and ships to help you explore its world. Along you're journey you pick up tasks, stories, clues and artifacts to help further progress the stories. Some stories require certain cirteria's to be met to unlock them. You will also encounter pirates, sea monsters and bats as you find and discover new places and ports of call. Stay in the darkness too long.... or forget to stock up on supplies and you'll soon see you're crew numbers dwindle and the maintenance of your ship will be in jeopardy. Without a ship it's game over! - Superb Stuff!
Posted: September 30
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
Early Access Review
A beautiful game. I love the mechanics, the task system, the trading, even the combat. But it's been made nearly unplayable by an extremely wide turning radius. In my short time with the game, I've wrecked 10 or so pirate ships, slain a few giant crabs, and even destroyed a shark, not dying once in the process. However, I've now died 4 times within eyesight of the London port, just because I had to sit and spin for several seconds, burning the last of my fuel in the process. Please improve the turning radius so that I can love this game like I really want to.
Posted: October 15
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1 of 5 people (20%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
This game is all over the place.
Posted: October 14
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14.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Set my ship on fire. Got lost at zee, met an island of hamsters and rats. Insulted them and left. Terror hit 100, got murdered by my own crew.

10/10 Would play again
Posted: September 25
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1.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
An actually quite interesting enough game. For people that would rather have a more clear point to their games though, then this isn't it. For people that enjoy exploration and a dark and eerie world, then this is the game.
Posted: September 25
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