Apple Arcade: Beyond Blue gives you the oceans and everything in them

Whales, interactive.

Beyond Blue, which has just washed up on Apple Arcade, drops you right into the cool of the ocean with a diving suit and a couple of voices on the intercom. For the first few minutes I swam around and explored, scanning different creatures so that an AI could build up a better idea of them and travelling to buoys that allowed me to tag distant sounds and investigate.

The moment a game like this has to nail is discovery. It's beautifully handled. That first glimpse! I'll be pushing through water towards a dot on the hud and a shadow slowly emerges from the blue. Whales! A pod of them! Work to be done, scanning and whatnot, but just look at them, sperm whales with those towering foreheads and laughing mouths, one of them turning on its back as it passes underneath me, huge and gentle.

Beyond Blue is full of this stuff. Whale sharks, mantas, scores of little fish gadding about. I've spent a long time here already, just moving over rocks, tracking dolphins, listening to the alien clicks of communication.

It's a testament to how well it's all done that I forgot for a long time that this was a game, but Beyond Blue is in fact a narrative adventure, one that comes together with exquisite slowness over the first half hour. I dived, chatted to my fellow scientists and moved from one simple objective to the next. Later on I found a hub of sorts and had various chats over the computer, choosing answers and questions and getting a stronger sense of where things are going.

None of that should be spoiled. Beyond Blue is a project developed with the BBC's Blue Planet 2 bunch and E-Line, who you may know from Never Alone. I thought I'd be tempted to wait for the PC or console release with a game like this, but in fact I'm going to keep playing on iPhone. There's something wonderful about holding the oceans in your hands, swiping left and right to move, not just tracking down different creatures but trying to understand the way they coexist.

Will you support Eurogamer?

We want to make Eurogamer better, and that means better for our readers - not for algorithms. You can help! Become a supporter of Eurogamer and you can view the site completely ad-free, as well as gaining exclusive access to articles, podcasts and conversations that will bring you closer to the team, the stories, and the games we all love. Subscriptions start at £3.99 / $4.99 per month.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

Jump to comments (16)

About the author

Christian Donlan

Christian Donlan

Features Editor

Christian Donlan is a features editor for Eurogamer. He is the author of The Unmapped Mind, published as The Inward Empire in the US.


You may also enjoy...

Supporters only

Comments (16)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer Merch
Explore our store