In Other Waters is a beautiful narrative experience that puts you in charge of an exciting, and mysterious, undersea expedition.
The best way I could categorize In Other Waters would be to call it a scientific exploratory experience. The excitement of scientific exploration is only enhanced by the narrative mystery it’s wrapped in.
In Other Waters has you playing as an A.I. who works with xenobiologist Dr. Ellery Vas in exploring the seabed of an alien planet. The way In Other Waters explains the control you have (while still pushing Vas as the protagonist) is clever. The Exploration Suit she is in is notably older than what she is used to. Vas states it only responds to internal commands, ie. the commands you give it as an A.I. inside the suit. Therefore, throughout, you are actively responding to Vas’ monologue-like queries and thoughts.
The writing is remarkable, plainly put. It takes a fairly basic premise, one which has been successful and unsuccessful many times, and puts a fantastic spin on it. Amos Roddy’s sound design for In Other Waters only enhances the whole experience, too!
Graphically, In Other Waters is simplistic, vibrant, and perfectly stylized.
One area in which I find myself more and more critical over is this. But In Other Waters blew me away with how simplistic yet beautiful it is. The UI, which ultimately features all the interactive implements that foster gameplay, was very clean. Even down to the font choice, everything in In Other Waters fits perfectly to create a strangely immersive experience with little more than symbols and shapes.
For me, though, I have to focus my praise on the color schemes throughout In Other Waters. From the start, it pits bright yellows against tranquil shades of teal and turquoise. This contrast makes it a visual feast, despite its simplicity. It’s a beautiful game. That’s all you really need to say. Elusive as it may be, I’m going to give it a 10/10 for Graphics. Perhaps all this lockdown isolation has softened me…
In Other Waters boasts an intriguing, mysterious plot-line.
What I find most impressive when looking at indie titles are the methods in which they tell stories. In Other Waters, at a glance, does not have a particularly ground-breaking plotline. It’s similar to that of any exploratory, survival-inspired title. What makes In Other Waters stand out is how this story is being told. The player isn’t the protagonist in this tale, but rather an assistant. Ultimately, Vas is the lead, and this is done excellently. Everything you know about the world and the events within is told to you via her.
That puts a lot of pressure on the writing. Thankfully, In Other Waters excels in this field. Dialogue is something which some games lack, but when your story is purely told through dialogue… It is obviously vital.
In Other Waters is fantastically gripping, just as a text-based narrative, so the inclusion of the other game mechanics is very welcome in creating an incredible experience.
In Other Waters does everything it can to make you feel like both a scientist and an artificial intelligence.
The game is about exploration, in more ways than one. There’s physical exploration, following vectors to explore the alien seabed. You explore more scientifically, collecting samples and developing your Taxonomy portfolio to include everything you’ve discovered. There’s an exploration into the relationship between Vas and the A.I. you play as. You also have to explore the UI, which you use to play, to figure out which things do what.
In Other Waters’ UI has very few prompts to tell you how to play, but this is part of the fun. You get to figure it out, and it’s rewarding when you do. I found myself surprised that I didn’t mind it.
The whole game is well-designed, and the mechanics it utilizes make it as gripping as the story itself. For example, just collecting samples is fun. Rather than a simple click-and-collect as in other games, you have to “search” slightly for it and then “isolate” it. While trivial extra actions, they add to the experience in a good way.
In Other Waters truly is a fun experience and one I would recommend to everyone.
Sometimes, it can be a little slow, but that comes with the kind of game it is. It isn’t a bad thing at all. The narrative being told is gripping enough to carry you through these lulls. The text auto-continues to keep you moving forward, and the promise of further exploration means you don’t mind this.
Despite the obvious threat that is continually reinforced through various creatures, depleting oxygen levels, and general isolation… In Other Waters is strangely relaxing. It keeps you wondering what’s next, and you want to play on, but it also fosters your desire to take it slow and explore… To study and learn about these strange species.
I would recommend this game to anyone in a heartbeat. It’s unlike anything I have played before in the best way. The one thing I will say is that having Vas’ speech acted out might just perfect the experience.
In Other Waters was released April 3, 2020, on PC and Nintendo Switch. Check out the games’ official site for more information. This review was done on a PC. For more reviews, be sure to check out the Gamezo Review page and follow @GamezoGG for news, reviews, and more!