If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Have You Played... Sunless Sea?

Darkly blissful

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Most roguelikes or lites or whatever you prefer to call this newer generation of permadeath roleplaying games, I play to win. Or, at least, to try to win: with the intention of victory, even if the actuality of it is unlikely. In Sunless Sea, I always play as if doomed.

My small, lost, weak boat is bound to find itself in some watery grave before too long – my captain and crew starved or maddened or stranded, my tale at a premature end. Because that is the tale: the tale of how I adventured through a weird and uncaring place, and how that place ultimately took my life. My end, no matter how abruptly met or how cruelly-timed, always feels apt. The Underzee is not a place to live, it is a place to die.

I suppose I approach Sunless Sea as a sort of darkly blissful purgatory. Drifting through the dark, witnessing strangeness and suffering, trying to eke out some kind of existence even as the walls close in on me. I find this calming rather than harrowing. Where so many other games of this ilk get their Skinner box hooks into me, here I care little about upgrades or cash. I want only to explore further out, see how long I can survive for before beating a tricky retreat back to Fallen London, and anything I might do to my ship or my crew is only to serve that one golden objectives. Of seeing all I can before I die. Because I will die.

About the Author

Alec Meer avatar

Alec Meer

Contributor

Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

Support Rock Paper Shotgun

Subscribe and get access to supporter-only articles, an ad-free reading experience, free gifts, and game discounts. Your support helps us create more great writing about PC games.

See more information

More Features

Latest Articles

Rock Paper Shotgun logo

We've been talking, and we think that you should wear clothes

Total coincidence, but we sell some clothes

Rock Paper Shotgun Merch