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Games : Highly Recommended
Release Date: February 6th, 2015 Movie Release Year: 2015

Sunless Sea

Overview -

Back in 2009, Failbetter Games’ burst onto the scene with 'Fallen London,' an eponymous browser game. Unlike most browser games, which closely mirror mobile games in that they are typically simple, repetitive, and shamelessly promote microtransactions, 'Fallen London' was steeped in carefully written story and a deep, resonant background lore. A prequel browser game was released in 2012 ('Silver Tree'). In 2013, Failbetter was successful at completing a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new 'Fallen London' project, a Steam title called 'Sunless Sea.' The new game promised "discovery, loneliness, and frequent death," as well as a dynamic that would see the player enter madness and cannibalism in a Victorian Gothic Setting. From such promising beginnings, 'Sunless Sea' entered Early Access in July of 2014. Now, Early Access has ended.

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
February 6th, 2015

Video Review


'Sunless Sea' is very dark, fitting for a setting that is completely subterranean. Light can be used by the captain to stave off terror, but also attracts monsters and pirates. In general, visual effects and textures are of a middling quality, even on the highest graphics settings (although they have been improved considerably since the Kickstarter). Hand-drawn cards are used to depict characters and locations, and these are often very pretty. The controls can be sluggish and will occasionally fade out, requiring a button release and repress before the steamship will move again.

Audio Review


The game is not voiced; all communication is conveyed via text and punctuated by the occasional sound effect. The music is creepy and alternates between gothic and something else I can’t quite identify but might haunt me in my sleep. The Zee for the most part is silent, but the intermittent bell, moan, or splash can be heard in the distance. It imparts a lonesome, bleak feeling that helps compound Fallen London as a desolate, hopeless place.

Final Thoughts

'Sunless Sea' is the perfect game for someone who’s been waiting for a subterranean, steampunk, nautical, difficult, heavily text-based adventure. I highly recommend it for everyone else as well, especially those who appreciate deliciously whimsical, macabre prose and don’t mind a bit of backtracking and dying.