Try getting lost in the underworld with Sunless Sea


Failbetter Games' browser-based story game Fallen London has been very well-loved, especially by those who like slightly twee, Victorian alt-England steampunk stuff (I don't, but it is more than okay if you do). The studio's expansive new Sunless Sea, while set in the same universe, is something else entirely, a brutal, spontaneous yarn-twirl set among the spooky islands of an underground sea.

Sunless Sea is so cool that I'm going to urge you to check it out, even though I find the user interface really daunting and hard to get along with. I think that's going to constrain the mainstream potential I think a game like this could have. But if you have a little bit more patience for mechanical frustration than I do (not hard, mind you), and if you love remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences in virtual worlds, Sunless Sea is worth a try.

I genuinely envy my friends who are deep into it, swapping stories. As you can expect to meet death frequently in Sunless Sea, carrying on as your own descendant, more or less, your experience of the game will be snippets of tales of a life on the brink. My friends' stories made me proper jealous: Like the one who was killed by his distrustful crew, after getting too deep into the brain-honey and memories trade. Or the one who found an island full of mysterious women and stayed there until he forgot himself. I shuttered my own addled boat forward into a legitimately-frightening black abyss and never made it out again.

A witty writer and a well-chosen word can often create more meaningful experiences with games than the most elaborate technical scaffolding. Failbetter Games is known for its expansive, sophisticated universes, elaborately penned by excellent writers. As writers in games are so often leveraged for tasks only as noble as finding a zillion ways to warn about grenades, this is an exciting thing.