Impressions: Depth Hunter Demo

By Craig Pearson on February 3rd, 2012 at 2:57 pm.

Steve Irwin says "hello!".
Depth Hunter‘s a Fisht Piercing Shooter, if you’ll allow me to be so dreadfully mean to the English language: you’re a diver in the not-so-competitive world of spear fishing. That means you take deeeeeeep breath (why not interactively take part in the blog post by holding your breath?) and plunge into the azure waters looking (still holding your breath?) for fish to spike with your harpoon (now find a nearby body of water to dive into, like a lake or a spill in the nearest public lavatory). No air tanks: just you, your mask, your spear and what’s in your lungs.

The demo is up on Desura, and it’s worth playing. The life of a spear hunter is simple, relaxing: swimming calmly through lagoons, full of flecks of matter glimmering in the god rays, you’re on the hunt for fish. The underwater world is alive with potential poisson, from darting schools to lazy, slow rays. You feel heavy but buoyant, movement is lovely and floaty, and the slow speed of underwater life means you drift through the scenery, mind empty of anything but the patterns of the fish and pondering where fish fingers come from. The fish flit along the coral and rocks, targets for your pointy vengeance. Er, I liked to pretend they killed my uncle, otherwise I’m just a jerk with a speargun maiming fish in front of their families.

The harpooning is not as successfully captured as the lagoon. It’s easy enough to spear one, but ratcheting in a spiked pike is confusing: when you’ve rodded a cod, there’s an odd little mini-game you play against the tautness of the wire and the pull of the fish that I found baffling. I managed to get one fish fully caught because it was relatively close to the diver, but anything over 10 metres away seems to be able to wriggle free of my dart and left me shouting bubbly curses at the nearby anemones.

You might think that’s a big problem, but I actually resent having to do anything in this sort of environment so I wasn’t too fussed about being unable to fathom the odd system. It’s fun to just watch as the fish gather around coral, nibbling at it, darting off when you get too close. There’s a photography mode for Pacific pacifists, and I took time out to just explore and snap some snappers with my camera. There’s a freeplay option greyed out in the demo’s menu, which I’d hope would take care of my adventurous streak, but I can’t vouch for that.

The full game is full to the gills with sharks and shipwrecks, and if it was a tad cheaper I’d have already bought it. But I’ll wait for a bigger sail. Sail? Get it? Now consider this open-season on comment puns.

Depth Hunter is out now.

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88 Comments »

  1. Soulstrider says:

    Underwater hunting? I have to say it’s a very fishy concept

  2. Novotny says:

    Needs TNT

  3. philbot says:

    Just another bloody FPS. *Yawn*

    • Jubaal says:

      First Person Swimmer?

    • Blackcompany says:

      Could. Not. Agree. More.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Fish Poking Simulator

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Hang on, first person games are – if anything – ON THE WANE. I see third person games so often nowadays, they make me lose interest immediately.

      I’ve no desire to try this game, but I credit the devs for making it first person, and attempting to make it IMMERSIVE.

  4. iARDAs says:

    First time ever heard of Desura.

    I will look into this platform

    • bear912 says:

      It’s rather lovely, actually. It’s focused on indie games and mods, mostly. I particularly like the ability to keep various mods and free games up-to-date, which is a bit of a pain if you have a bunch of them to keep track of. The selection also continually improves, so if it doesn’t have mod support for your favorite game right now, there’s a good chance it will get added in the future.

    • iARDAs says:

      Thank you for the explanation.

      it seems rather lovely. There are few indie games out there that looks nice but is not present in Steam or Origin. So i will look in to them right now.

      I am just downloading Dead Meats Lead. It says the game is free now since the company got shut down. Seems a cool game to kill a few hours

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Desura, now updating at a massive 23 KB/S.
      Twenty three. They could hand deliver each pixel and it would be quicker.
      EDIT: OK once its installed, the games come down pretty rapidly. Depth hunter is arriving at 160kb/s :)

    • Maltose says:

      Just saying, kb =/= kB. 1 kb = 8 kB, so Desura’s actually updating faster than your game download. ;)

    • bear912 says:

      I feel like there might be something else going on there. I often get over 1 MB/s downloading from Desura… Not sure why it’s being so slow for you.

  5. Berzee says:

    I didn’t even finish the third paragraph before I had to exhale. :(

  6. Jekhar says:

    Wow, i’d like to sea (harhar) another take at Sub Culture with this Engine.

    • Khemm says:

      I was about to post this. Someone remebers this kickass game, yay.

  7. caddyB says:

    That text caption thing was totally uncalled for.

  8. Iskariot says:

    I wish the incredibly dull underwater world of Skyrim would look half this good.

  9. MrThingy says:

    No ottapus. :(

  10. db1331 says:

    I need to know if the sharks will attack you or not. If so, that would turn this game from FPS to survival horror, for me.

    • squareking says:

      The sharks aren’t even real. They’re animatronic. Except for the really large sharks. Those are real.

  11. Tei says:

    The first part of the video looks very good. But wen the initial game start, I have notice a huge FPS drop, maybe to 30 or less. Then the actual gameplay looks like too gamey and casual. A game with realistic graphics deserve a pseudo-realistic gameplay that is fun. Having something like a “minigame” may make not justice to it. I think every platform *must* have a game of this type. There are some people / some particular mindset, that is a perfect fit for this visuals. I think the Wii as a game called Eternal Ocean (or something similar) and is very popular.

  12. Jorum says:

    I found Endless Ocean on the Wii strangely engaging, even with the limitations of wii graphics.
    This looks like a massively prettier version so interesting.
    Although having oxygen tanks to allow for deeper exploration etc would be nice.

    • Matt says:

      Wasn’t that the game about petting fish with jelly hands?

    • Urthman says:

      What I wouldn’t give for a high-quality PC game like Endless Ocean 2. For all the silly plot and character writing and excessive hand holding, it’s still the best pure exploration game I’ve ever played.

      Beautiful environments, nifty secrets and surprises in every nook and cranny. I was amazed simply by how consistently they were able to dig up a neat factoid about every creature in the ocean that was interesting enough to keep me clicking and reading every description.

  13. enfuego says:

    I work at a speargun factory. Instead of visiting exotic locales, I just ship guns there, so this will be a refreshing change for me. To use my outdated surfer vernacular, this looks totally radical dude.

    • Jesse L says:

      Your life is ripe for use as a poignant New Yorker short story.

  14. Mr.Dreadlock says:

    I find alt text very disturbing

  15. Quetzo says:

    Craig, as you are a press guy, you’ll probably get the key for free:
    “If you are blog owner or press guy, please drop e-mail to info@biart7.com and we will give you free serial for review. “

  16. Thirith says:

    This reminds me (in semi-amnesiac fashion) of this ancient (like, ’90s!) abandoned Bullfrog project. I remember a tech demo that had you in some sub moving about underwater, and at the end there was something with tentacles. For the time it had pretty amazing underwater effects. Does anyone else remember this, or am I going Molyneux in the head? (The demo was on a CD-ROM that came with some German mag, PC Player or Gamestar.)

  17. Styles says:

    I approve of this. If you’re spearing fish in a computer game you’re not out killing innocent shit in real life. Computer games for the win!

  18. Alehr says:

    I wish I had a camera with a “quality” meter.

  19. Berzee says:

    Odell Down Under with guns.

  20. Urthman says:

    Don’t be afraid, son, that’s just a Warning Shark.

  21. reishid says:

    Underwater stuff scares me. Same reason I can’t close my eyes while taking a shower. I keep on imagining a sea monster or a shark swimming towards me. X_x

    • Matt says:

      Do you shower by filling the bathroom from floor to ceiling with water?

  22. Tams80 says:

    You can’t get me! I’m a swimmer!
    *clicks through*
    Ah! Why do I have to be a slow reader!

  23. Gurnu says:

    Anyone else notice how the logo looks like a deer?

  24. buxcador says:

    Big FAIL at water refraction calculation

  25. BasuraBurger says:

    I’m only getting this game if it comes with a bathtub peripheral and maybe some complimentary goldfish for the premium edition.

    I’d really be impressed if you can pack some 50 cent goldfish into little baggies and claim they are worth $40. Baby sharks on the other hand. . . .

  26. InternetBatman says:

    Looks like a PC version of Endless Ocean with killing, which is awesome.

  27. Eddythemaster says:

    It’s a-boat time someone made a game like this.