Combat rarely makes an adventure game. Even without the swordplay and boss fights, The Legend of Zelda and its sequels would still have plenty to offer in the form of puzzles and exploration. Uppercut Games is taking this idea to new heights with Submerged, a “combat-free” tale of the love between a girl and her dying brother, and you’ll be able to play it in just a few weeks.
Submerged’s announcement trailer paints quite a bleak picture, following the young Miku and her brother as they float into a destroyed, flooded city on a small boat. Unlike the bright, cell-shaded visuals of the comparable Wind Waker, Uppercut Games opted for a washed-out, decaying color palette for Submerged, complete with an abandoned clock tower covered in vines and a giant, half-sunken statue.
But perhaps there is more than meets the eye. “As you explore the city at your own pace, you encounter the habitat that flourishes in this colorful place and discover hidden objects that piece together the story of a broken world and a broken family,” Uppercut says. The mention of local creatures called “Remnants” suggests that this sunken city might just hold hope for Miku’s dying brother.
Equipped with a telescope on her boat, Miku can identify supplies inside buildings from afar and plan her ascent, but all of this is done at your own pace. Uppercut calls Submerged a “serene and relaxing game experience” complete with “sunrises and beautiful vistas,” and absorbing its beautiful ruins is as much a part of the game as reaching your goal. That’s not to say there isn’t still challenge involved: a quick shot from the official Xbox One release date trailer shows Miku balancing on a wooden plank as she crosses a gap, and Uppercut promises that the navigation will grow “increasingly difficult” as you go on.
Submerged arrives on PlayStation 4 and PC on August 4, with an Xbox One release following on August 7. It’s the first console project for Uppercut Games, a studio previously responsible for the post-apocalyptic Epoch and its sequel.