Fallen London developer Failbetter Games has just launched its latest title, Sunless Sea, on Steam Early Access. It's a game about exploring a vast. murky subterranean ocean, getting lost, fighting a mutated narwhal or some other babbling monstrosity, and then running out of rations and eating your crew. No regrets. Not in this business.
I've been playing the game for about a week, and while the current version is safely in Early Access territory, it's already a wonderfully vivid and unusual exploration game with a real sense of wildness to it. I never know what to expect when I set out from port, but it's always toothy and terrifying.
Failbetter's name-checking the likes of Don't Starve and FTL, neither of which adequately capture the glorious sooty moodiness of the art. FTL's a nudge in the right direction regarding the speed at which things can go wrong, though, and in terms of the strange blend of real-time action and text adventuring. Dock to explore an island in Sunless Sea and you end up in a sort of Fallen London adventure module, clicking through a range of ghastly choices. It's dazzling how well it works.
Proper thoughts on the Early Access build should follow next week some time. Sunless Sea is currently on sale for £13.49