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 Ł13.49