By Nathan Grayson on December 12th, 2012 at 8:00 am.
I regrettably never took a closer look at Under The Ocean back when Jim fished it out of the Internet’s perilous depths earlier this year, and I’m now kicking myself for it. Contorting my legs such that they collide with my own body and produce sufficient force to cause painful (but justified) injury does, however, make it quite hard to type, so I’m going to stop now. Otherwise, I won’t be able to tell you to quit paying attention to me and watch this video of Under The Ocean’s excellent-looking random island generation system. Get stranded, survive, explore, build, eat, become seriously ill, slay really mean pigs with a spear, die. Then roll a completely different island and do it all over again. This looks quite special, in other words. Wash up unconscious and naked and maybe a little bit drunk on the other side of the break to see for yourself.
I very much like the sound of pretty much all of that. I’m often wary of random world generation, but designing its myriad potential factors around exploration and mystery is something that definitely floats my boat – at least, until said boat capsizes or crashes into a rock or collides with a plane. Under The Ocean seems to be very much on the right track in that respect, given that it’s plugging all sorts of possibilities not only into the island you end up exploring, but how you arrived there, what sort of condition you’re in, who/what else is inhabiting the place, weather, and heaps more.
Of course, it’s easy to lose sight of depth when breadth’s one of your main selling points, but Under The Ocean might just avoid that pitfall yet. There’s a fully functioning electricity system, for instance, that allows you to power-up your custom-built island abode with windmills, water wheels, and things of that nature. And that’s if you even choose (or get the chance to) construct a shelter in the first place.
You can hop right into an ongoing alpha test if you pre-purchase the game too, so that’s something I intend to do soon. Oh, but be wary: there are differently priced “Pretty Cool Silver Bear” and “Super Golden Bear” editions. So before you make any rash decisions, take a long, hard look in the mirror and figure out just what kind of bear you really are.