For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.
When the teaser trailer was released for Archiact’s FREEDIVER Triton Down and the hashtag of #DontForgetBreathe popped up, I was instantly interested to see what the game was going to do. Well, I have now had the chance to playthrough it, what did I think?
In the game, you are placed into the shoes or in the case diving suit Ren Tanaka, who is a world-class freediver. After making a discovery your ship the Triton is hit by a huge rouge wave. This causes it to capsize, and now it is time to put your freediver skills to the test as you try to survive. The question is can you make off the sinking Triton?
The team at Archiact have tried to bring the gameplay together using swimming mechanics, which makes this the most realistic underwater experiences you will have in VR. With this being the case it really does bring the feeling and panic of thinking you are on this sinking ship, and brings some horror elements without needing to be branded as horror.
As well as using these swimming mechanics to get around the ship, they have also brought real-life hazards you would expect in this sort of situation. From blocked doors and paths you will need to find your way around, the dangers of broken pipes and pieces of the ship, currents that are too strong to swim against, the loss of power and sections of the ship going into lock down. Keeping that feeling of realism, panic and terror brought by the swimming.
Of course, the main threat outside of the hazards around the ship is the possibility and threat of drowning. Luckily your experience as a freediver means you have the ability of holding your breath for a prolonged period, compared to your average human being, but it is still a possible outcome. On your right wrist is an oxygen counter that will slowly deplete, if this runs out you will be in your watery grave. With freedivers not using oxygen tanks, your only option is to find areas on the ship with either air pockets to get your breathe back, or the oxygen stations around the ship.
Putting the swimming mechanics, the panic that is caused by the hazards of the sinking ship and having this possibility to drown makes for one really intense experience.
It was going to be essential that the correct atmosphere was set by the visuals and audio – or else all of that hard work creating the realistic mechanics would have gone out of the window. I am glad to say that they have managed to get this perfect, which in turn adds to all the feelings and realism built up in the gameplay.
Everything in the visual presentation is put together to a very high standard with great looking textures, giving you the feeling of being in the ship and underwater. Then even when popping your head outside of the water in the air pockets, looking at the movement and the ripples in the water keeps you one hundred percent immersed with how nice it looks. Either way under the water or the brief time you leave it to get your breath, you will be totally immersed in the situation your are in.
When it came to the audio the team took the correct approach and kept the realism, by building all the games audio atmosphere simple and muffled as you would expect under water. But, they also kept the creaks and moans from the ship in place, after all you are escaping a damaged sinking ship. The only other audio is the beeping of your gauge and some very well done voice acting. Again pulling with gameplay and visuals to make that aforementioned most realistic underwater experiences you can have in VR.
I found although swimming that the game was easier and best played in a standing position, although playing it seated is not a problem. The only buttons on the controllers you will be using are the triggers and grab buttons. You will need to hold down the two triggers while using the breaststroke motion to swim, lifting your arms to submerge and lowering your arms to emerge into the air pockets. To turn you will need to hold one of the triggers separately and move that arm to turn yourself. This just adds to the realism, as you are not pressing buttons to open doors, you are doing it all manually.
In the most case comfort will not be a problem for people – as the team bring a number of comfort options like vinaigrettes and them making you do the actual motions. However, even though these are in place, some of the moments where you moved quickly by a strong current could cause some discomfort for people.
FREEDIVER: Triton Down is not a long experience, it will last your around the hour mark, but with what the game does it’s an intense hour that needs to be experienced. But, it is one that you will only really want to playthrough the once. One thing the team have done is consider this and priced the game accordingly – with it only setting you back £6.19 (GBP).
- Swimming mechanics
- Most realistic underwater experience
- Great use of both visuals and audio
- All elements of the game give you the feeling and panic of being on a sinking ship
- Could cause some discomfort for some people
- Story could have been more filled out
- Realism of gameplay makes it not for everyone
FREEDIVER: Triton Down is the most realistic underwater experience you will have in VR. This is all pulled together by the swimming mechanics and very strong visuals and use of audio to set the atmosphere. But, with this seeming so realistic those with a fear a drowning and or tight spaces might struggle to play it, as it really does make you feel like you are Ren. Coming in at around an hour and being priced accordingly really makes this an experience you should take in. I am hoping that the team bring more and expand on the story – as it seemed like it should have had more depth and filler in that element of the game.
Also available on HTC Vive and Valve Index
Buy FREEDIVER: Triton Down on Steam