This is not breaking news, but the ocean is big. And not only is it unspeakably large, but so much of it is unknown. A simple Google search will tell you that 95 percent of the ocean is unexplored, and when you combine that with the fact that the ocean covers 70% of this spinning blue orb we call home, well, it can make you feel pretty small. In other words, if you were trying to tell a good story, and you were looking for a setting that would provide plenty of tension and conflict, you could do much worse than the unimaginably large and terrifyingly mysterious unexplored ocean. Welcome to Neptune Flux, the PSVR compatible, open-world adventure game from Zoxide Games.
The story is as follows: Due to humans doing what humans do, we have ruined the surface of the earth. Without the ability to escape to space for safe haven, we have tapped the “untouched ecosystem of the deep-sea” as our last chance at survival. You’ll play as Sarah, the pilot of a single person submersible, and an employee of A.Q.U.A, the worldwide leader in underwater colonization. I don’t know about you all, but that organization sounds a bit shady. I’d keep an eye on them.
As soon as you boot up the game, you’ll have the option to play the flat version of the game, but if you have a PlayStation VR headset, it is the optimal way to play the game. You’ll also need the Dual Shock 4 controller, and no, there’s no Aim controller support…
When the action starts, you’ll find yourself inside the cramped one-woman sub and listening to a bit of back-story. The visuals are appropriately dark and dreary, which probably lends to the realism but does little for game enjoyment. Most of the underwater visuals are fairly bland, with the occasional same looking fish and three jelly fish that seem to pop up from time to time. I often wondered if it was the same three jelly fish I kept seeing, but then I thought, what makes me so special? Why would jelly fish stalk me? In retrospect, maybe the game just didn’t grab me?
Anyway, as Sarah is given basic search and gather missions along the ocean floor, you’ll eventually stumble on some pretty crazy things. Exploring the wreckage of strange ships or doomed airplanes was pretty cool and it usually garnered the gravity of the moment. There may have been no dead bodies, but these wrecks were caskets, and that was appropriately clear. It made me think of missing Malaysian flight 370, which really highlights how unexplored the ocean really is.
As you complete missions, you’ll earn money to pay for ship upgrades, like sonar, flares, and boosts. Pro tip: Buy plenty of boosts, because the ship is pretty slow. The game is open world, which is pretty impressive given the fact that Zoxide Games is a one man team, but I was often frustrated about where to go and what to do. Some may appreciate that the game doesn’t hold their hand. Me? I don’t mind a little PG hand-holding. The voice acting from Sarah is done well, but the writing is occasionally plagued with long bits of exposition and clunky lines of dialogue, usually served up by Sarah’s boss at A.Q.U.A.
It’s a fairly short narrative that can be completed in around two hours, but for a retail of $7.99, I think that’s fair. The story was fairly interesting with a few dark turns, and some of the exploring was really cool, but in the end, the gameplay and the majority of the missions were just too repetitive for me to recommend to most gamers. However, if you like adventure games and, er, being underwater, than Neptune Flux might just trip your trigger.
Neptune Flux PS4/PSVR Review
An open-world, deep sea game in VR is a pretty big swing for a one-man team, and Zoxide Games almost pulled it off. The repetitive missions and gameplay hold it back, but some may find that exploring the mysterious ocean floor worth the asking price.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4.