We know very little about Earth in the grand scheme of things. In fact, it’s been estimated that ninety-five percent of our planet’s waters remain unexplored. When I came across this game, I started thinking about all of the other games I’ve owned or played in my lifetime that had a marine-like setting…I’ll be honest, I didn’t come up with very many. This didn’t surprise me much, considering that there’s still so much to learn about those majestic masses of blue we call oceans. “Depth Hunter” takes us under the sea and puts the player into the role of a diver that will be tasked with hunting various species of fish. Before we don our diving suits, I’d like to thank Serge from Biart Company LLC for sending me a free review copy.
The main menu will give the player a few options. You’ll be able to play the game’s campaign or free mode, adjust game options, review the photos you’ve taken, and read the game’s marine library. The options menu allows you to change the screen resolution, brightness, audio, and more. There is an option to view controls, though they are fixed and not rebindable.
The game boasts a total of twenty-five different missions that players will be taking on in sequential order via the campaign mode. These twenty-five missions are broken up over three different locations. While there is a free play mode available, the above mentioned locations don’t become unlocked until you actually finish the missions located there. It’s worth noting that I somehow unlocked the first free mode area without completing all of the quests, so I am a bit confused as to what point they actually become unlocked. Perhaps there is a mission halfway through the campaign map that unlocks it for you…but the game doesn’t really explain any of that.
The general idea is to go around collecting various species of fish with your harpoon, but there is a small catch: you’ll be holding your breath while you do it. You’ll have an oxygen meter available on the left side of your screen that you’ll need to be watching like a hawk, mainly because if you run out of breath, bad things happen. Refilling your oxygen meter is a simple matter of surfacing and staying above the water for a few seconds. There are some bugs that need worked out in regards to the fish themselves…there are times that the fish I caught didn’t resemble the fish that was hooked on the main line. There was also a point where I had caught a quest specific fish and it didn’t register on the quest log to the right, but the quest became complete once I caught the rest of the quest specific fish. These might have been isolated incidents and they didn’t occur again during my play session, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
Spearfishing itself can be fairly difficult, making me yearn for a waterproof AK-47 or perhaps even a stick of dynamite. While the point of view is first person, you won’t be able to aim down the harpoon gun you’re given to manually reel these suckers in. Luckily, there is a small reticle that will help you line up your shots and you can zoom with your right mouse button. It should be noted that not all creatures of the sea can be fired at, and the game prevents you from doing so when you come across them. The game could do more to direct you when pulling in your fish….though I eventually figured out that you should pull the fish in when the fish begins to emit circles (which means it’s fleeing) and to release the fish / loosen the lines when it isn’t. Doing this will prevent the fish from gaining any ground when it’s trying to flee while loosening the line in between its attempts to swim away.
In addition to the hunting mechanic, you’ll be able to take pictures that will save themselves to your album. There are also some quests that involve swimming along the ocean floor in order to find hidden treasure. Some of these quests can be a frustrating seek and find exercise as most of the object blend in with the environment. Prepare to spend a half hour or so on some of these treasure-seeking quests.
Ultimately, I found “Depth Hunter” to be an “OK” game. While there is no narrative story or plot twists that will draw you in, the graphics are drop-dead gorgeous. I feel that more could have been done with the game, perhaps something along the lines of an educational theme. Why not include some factoids about the fish you catch, for example, instead of just listing them in the library? A “learn as you go” play experience would certainly benefit anyone playing the game. In small doses, “Depth Hunter” can provide a calming, relaxing effect on the player but doesn’t offer a lot of content in the long run. In my opinion, it’s best played with a casual mindset…that is…with the goal of unwinding after a long day at work. Those looking for the in-depth play mechanics that you’d normally find in simulators should probably look elsewhere. There is a demo available via the links below, should you wish to try the game first.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Depth Hunter” by visiting the following websites:
You can help bring the game to Steam by voting for it on its Greenlight page, here:
You can view play sessions here: