Game: Beyond Blue
Genre: Action, Adventure, Simulation
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows), PS4 & Xbox)
Developer|Publisher: E-Line Media
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: US $19.99 | UK £15.09 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: November 12th, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to Terminals
Into The Sea
Beyond Blue is a single-player narrative adventure where you get to explore the wonders of the ocean in the comfort of your own home. Unless you’re playing in handheld, in which case you can enjoy this title on a nice deck chair by the side of a pool.
This game certainly piqued my interest as it partnered with the folks from the BBC who made the brilliant documentary series Blue Planet. If you like learning about the ocean and fancy a chilled out swimming adventure then Beyond Blue may be worth diving into. But don’t get your Switch wet, I can’t guarantee it will recover.
In the Near Future
The game is set in the near future. Where diving equipment has now advanced to a level where you no longer need an oxygen tank. Or need to worry about pressure even at the lowest depths of the ocean. You can also live-stream on the internet which as we know is the most important of features to have underwater. Everything is conveniently contained in a nice little diving suit. You play as Mirai, following her on her adventures observing a family of sperm whales, one of which has recently given birth to a calf. But it’s not all about the whales. You also get to observe various other wonders of the ocean. Such as dolphins and even a sneaky little octopus that pops up randomly.
As you explore the game you regularly chat to your underwater team about the mission which is presented in full English voice acting. The game attempts to weave in a half baked plot about Mirai and her sister who is struggling with school and looking after their elderly grandmother. I guess the idea was to try and provide some more depth other than ocean antics but it really adds nothing to the experience. The star of the show is swimming about in the ocean and just enjoying the spectacles of the ocean.
Swim and Scan
The gameplay is reminiscent of a walking simulator. Though in this case, I guess we should call this a swimming simulator. Essentially, all you do in the game is swim to waypoints and scan animals such as turtles, whales and dolphins. Then you basically swim to the next waypoint and repeat the process for 8 dives total until the game is over. Ok, sometimes you send a drone out to monitor animals movements which has a pretty awkward camera I found tricky to use. Sometimes you also stop to grab a sample of coral life. You can of course just swim about in the large open level. Scanning absolutely everything you can, adding them to your database to admire later back at base.
My favourite feature by far of the experience was watching actual documentary footage which can be observed between missions in your cool-looking futuristic submarine. I actually learned a lot about the ocean and its inhabitants and it felt very reminiscent of the Blue Planet TV series, only sadly lacking David Attenborough to narrate it. It’s just a shame these nice snippets of education were not actually peppered more into the actual game.
Wonders of the Deep
Graphically the game has some pretty good moments where you have to take in the wonders of the ocean. Spectacles like the whales swimming as a group and turtles eating jellyfish (yeah that’s a real thing I learned in this game). Even the spectacle of seeing so much sea life swimming about in large groups really hit home the beauty of the ocean and the life that lives in it. The game will also pepper in extra attention to detail like plastic waste littering the floor of the ocean. The Nintendo Switch version of the game does suffer from a bit of pop in. But for the most part, it runs very well in TV and handheld mode. Even when there is fish all over the place the game never slows down.
The games main niggle is it’s kinda bare-bones on content. Back at base, you can enjoy various licensed music as you flick through all the things you scanned. If you are a streamer you can also turn this off in the options so you don’t get hit with a copyright strike. You can pretty much see everything this game has to offer in under four hours. The length of time you spend on this is really up to how much you want to explore.
This game also features no challenges. There are sharks in this ocean but none that will harm you. This is a zen-like swim through the ocean which will certainly appeal to those looking for that experience. But other than swimming and scanning, this game doesn’t have a lot going for it, or a reason to return when you are finished.
Conclusion – A Dream Drop in The Ocean
Beyond Blue is a pleasant swim through the ocean if you’re looking for a stress-free gaming experience. The plot feels a bit silly and the game was at its best when it focused more on education and learning about the ocean. Most of which is outside actually playing the game but there are still wonders to be found in its exploration. Beyond Blue is a game that reminded me just how beautiful the ocean truly can be. I’ll probably never get to actually do a dive in real life. But this game gave me a nice opportunity and I’m grateful for that. Let us just hope the sea life can stay that way even in the not too distant future.
Final Verdict: I Like It