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In Other Waters review: A deep dive into mystery

(Switch/PC) ★★★★ Age: 7+

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In Other Waters

In Other Waters

Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

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In Other Waters

If we shot David Attenborough far into space to an alien planet and dramatised his script for a documentary about its undersea mysteries, this might be the result. So far, so weird, right? But In Other Waters gets stranger and more absorbing the deeper you dive.

With no preamble, you're thrown into a scientist's search for life on a remote water-covered world, lured there by a curious communication from a colleague. But no monstrous xenomorphs lurk here on Gliese 667Cc, there is no threat, no game-like pressure to move on - just a fascinating sub-aquatic realm filled with undiscovered life forms.

This is a game in love with marine biology but also the iconography of science expeditions - instrument readouts, the beeps and blips of gauges, meters and dials. You spend much of the time peering at marine cartography, figuring out which blob to swim to next, a small text panel telling you what you've found but not how it fits into the larger enigma of Gliese 667Cc.

The interface appears mostly inscrutable at first - you are drowning in information and an AI companion in your diving suit seems to be little help. But as you gradually intuit their functions, the storyline peels backs its layers slowly and the compelling secrets of the planet rise to the surface.

 

Beyond Blue

(iOS Apple Arcade) ★★★ Age: 3+

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Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

 

You wait ages for an underwater game and then two come along at once. A joint production with the makers of BBC's Blue Planet series, Beyond Blue is an eco-driven educational adventure taking you up close and personal with oceans of sea creatures.

The cheery, earnest presentation will resonate best with a younger audience, as a diver explores and catalogues the deep-sea vivarium. Certain milestones unlock short but high-quality video clips of veteran scientists explaining their research in the real world.

The in-game visuals are no slouch either, depicting everything from giant sperm whales to tiny fish in high-res glory.

But there is a sense that Beyond Blue is not quite the finished article (PC and console versions are due in June), with interface elements sometimes hanging off the screen and control inputs feeling a little clumsy. Still, it's free to Apple Arcade subscribers, so it might occupy the young 'uns and sneakily educate them too.

 

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