“Have you heard the quote, ‘We know more about deep space than we do about the ocean’?” writes developer Paloma Dawkins on Oceanarium’s itch.io page. “This is a game inspired by that. It doesn’t seem fair if you ask me, the ocean is full of undiscovered aliens.”
They’re about to get discovered, though, since you can now dive into Oceanarium for free. There are even a handful in the game’s teaser trailer:
“Have you seen the Gulper eel?” continues Dawkins. “Seriously, Google it.”
I Googled it, and suddenly I agree: the ocean is absolutely full of undiscovered aliens. Incidentally, I don’t recommend following suit if you’re at all weirded out by the deep sea and its inhabitants.
Whether or not Oceanarium’s creatures are more or less alien than the real life ones is up to you. They are certainly more brightly coloured and more prone to spouting poetry, which might take the edge off. On the other hand, they include approximations of hermit crabs living inside distorted skulls, clusters of what looks like eyes perched on stems, and a many-tentacled mouth that moves in ways that unsettle me on a fundamental level.
On the other other hand, who’s to say there aren’t real ocean creatures like that?
Dawkins has also worked on more land-based worlds, like Gardenarium and Museum Of Symmetry (which is also free, but only playable if you’ve got a VR headset), proving that the weird and wonderful are never just limited to underwater.