Game Reviews

Scuba Diver Adventures: Beyond the Depths

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Scuba Diver Adventures: Beyond the Depths

There's little that can match the zen-like bliss of a good scuba diving session.

I should know, I've seen several documentaries on the matter.

So when a game comes along that lets me explore the ocean depths, the least I expect is to be soothed by the experience.

Scuba Diver Adventures: Beyond the Depths failed to do that. It didn't exactly turn me into quivering ball of rage, but it did irritate me immensely, like a jellyfish sting to the crotch.

Washed up actress

You play Nicole, a globe-trotting diver. Thanks to terrible voice acting she treats shark attacks and changing the film in her camera with the same dispassionate exclamations.

Fortunately, you can largely ignore Scuba Diver Adventures's, er, adventure, and set off to make your own.

What you can't ignore is the litany of frustrating mechanisms the game throws in your way when you do.

First person pootler

The controls aren't too difficult. With your left thumb you move a virtual stick to swim forward, back, left, and right. You modify your view with your right thumb, which also allows you to swim up and down.

It's a bit like a first-person shooter, only with the gravity turned off and treacle mode turned on.

Once you fall into the game's rhythm it can be quite pleasant.

You're swimming around sub-aquatic environments, scooping up treasure from the ocean floor, and feeding and taking pictures of wildlife.

But the game constantly jolts you out of that rhythm. This is a free-to-play game, and it's determined you don't forget that.

Paying the gills

Your oxygen runs out at a ridiculously swift rate. You can either splash out on some of the game's precious gem currency to fill your tanks, or ignore the natural meditative pace of the experience and dash around like you're playing an underwater game of Supermarket Sweep.

You can speed things up by using your underwater scooter to traverse long gaps, but guess what? Your battery always runs out, and you'll need to pay gems to refill mid-level.

There's an upgrade system for pretty much every item of equipment in your possession - and the game pushes new options at you relentlessly. Buy this! Buy this! Why not buy this? You could always buy this, you know.

It's like being given a tour of the Great Barrier Reef by a pushy call centre salesperson who earns commission from selling flippers and oxygen tanks.

Scuba Diver Adventures lacks the charm and the polish to be a really diverting underwater explore-'em-up. But it could still be a half-decent one, if only it would leave you alone to your paddling.

Scuba Diver Adventures: Beyond the Depths

A scrappy and maddeningly intrusive underwater explore-'em-up that seems more intent on plundering your own hidden treasure than revealing its own