Sunken is a virtual reality game that plunges players into the ocean deep to explore shipwrecks. Though it’s a low-stakes hidden object game, it’s tinged with hints of H.P. Lovecraft, and the environments evoke a sense of dread. It launched today for the Samsung Gear VR.
Tapps Games has a history as a mobile studio. It dived into VR this year, and Sunken is its fourth release. Developer Waldir Rodrigues says that, up until now, they’ve been experimenting and figuring out how to create the best player experience with the new technology.
“We are now coming out of a learning and experimental stage of small quick projects,” said Rodrigues in an email to GamesBeat. “We faced challenges mainly with the usual problems that most of the VR developers face like UX and UI. We also faced the challenge of creating an interesting experience in a small scale game, since this game was made under a month with a really small team.”
Rodrigues says they decided to start with casual games, especially since a lot of folks still aren’t completely familiar with VR and how to interact with VR titles.
“We think players are willing to try all kinds of new experiences,” said Rodrigues. “We decided to start out with more casual games because we think there’s still a lot of room to play with the most essential VR mechanics — like the simple exploration of the environment itself.”
Players can teleport around the shipwrecks and environments by looking at where they want to go. Sunken isn’t all that narrative-driven, but Rodrigues says that there are some hints in the objects players will find as well as the way certain levels are described that suggest an underlying story.
“As an underwater treasure hunter, the player dives into the sunken ship to collect artifacts and treasures. But, as the player explores the wreckage, she can see evidence of trouble with the crew: a hidden gun under a floorboard, a knife stuck on a chair,” said Rodrigues. “When later levels are unlocked, their descriptions hint at some kind of madness taking over the player’s mind.”
These hints also help create a mysterious mood, alluding to more secrets than answers.
“We wanted to create an experience that would make people feel like they are underwater,” said Rodrigues. “We saw images of sunken shipwrecks and we thought that this would be a really cool mysterious setting. We used this with a bit of Cthulhu Mythos inspiration to create a deep, somewhat unsettling feeling of some unseen threat.”