Beyond Blue offered something refreshing when it launched last year, with its blend of explorative-gameplay and bite-size documentaries teaching players about the wonders found under the sea. It’s very much an educational experience, but one that’s fleshed out with plenty of exploration, interactions with creatures, and, of course, deep sea swimming. You’re learning, but it’s the fun kind.
It has recently made its way to the Nintendo Switch too, allowing gamers to embark on a deep-sea adventure in the palm of their hands. However, whilst it still offers the same satisfying gameplay mechanics found on other platforms, a lot of the magic is lost thanks to the downgraded visuals.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
The core gameplay experience of Beyond Blue revolves around a researcher named Mirai, who works with OceanX to study the creatures found in the ocean. It’s worth mentioning from the get-go that this isn’t an action-orientated title, so you won’t be battling with sharks or fighting off nasties from even deeper in the sea – instead, you’ll track their movements and scan them to learn more details about each creature. It’s a very tranquil experience really and it feels good to simply swim about and see all the wondrous sights that lie in the deep blue sea.
Tracking creatures is simple enough, with the player simply having to get close enough to the target and hold down the right shoulder button to analyse them for details. It’s not taxing at all and it’s not as if it’s ever difficult to reach your targets, making it almost feel like a ‘walking simulator’ in some ways (thought I guess the more apt term would be a ‘diving simulator’). That’s not a criticism, though; it felt really nice being able to explore each of the dive areas and see all of the little secrets they had to offer, whilst it was easy to get distracted taking in the sights or simply scouring each area for other sea life that might be meandering around.
“It’s worth mentioning from the get-go that this isn’t an action-orientated title, so you won’t be battling with sharks or fighting off nasties from even deeper in the sea – instead, you’ll track their movements and scan them to learn more details about each creature.”
The experience is also fleshed out with narrative segments, with Mirai constantly in contact with her team who will point her in the right direction of her objectives and discuss the creatures she encounters. Players will also spend time on their submarine when not diving, where they’re able to interact with the team and Mirai’s family on a more personal level. Whilst there’s nothing too exciting to be seen here, it was cool to see how real-world relationships and dilemmas could correlate with those found under the sea – that might sound a little confusing to read, but it’s explored in more depth in the game. Everything is made all the more believable by the top-notch voice acting, with some impressive performances on offer across the board.
It’s clear that Beyond Blue offers an enjoyable experience, whilst I haven’t even touched upon the mini-documentaries that give a real-life and more informative take on the creatures you encounter. Seeing how these correlated with your findings in-game was really neat and one of my favourite aspects of the game, with it clear that the developer did a good job when it came to authenticity.
“A game like this feels like it relies heavily on its presentation and presence, and whilst that’s something that it gets right on other platforms, the Nintendo Switch’s lesser visuals do take away some of the magic.”
Despite this, I found that I preferred playing it on other platforms over the Nintendo Switch. Whilst the sea creatures look pretty good up close, the lower resolution means that the environment can look a bit blurry in places, whilst there are also some sketchy textures that lack detail. It’s also guilty of having a fair bit of pop-in, with segments of the locales you explore only coming into view when you’re close enough. Don’t get me wrong, nothing looks awful in the game, but it looks MUCH better elsewhere. A game like this feels like it relies heavily on its presentation and presence, and whilst that’s something that it gets right on other platforms, the Nintendo Switch’s lesser visuals do take away some of the magic.
Beyond Blue Review
Beyond Blue is a refreshing experience that allows players to experience the wonders of the ocean – I just wish it looked better on the Nintendo Switch. It’s still fun to explore the sea, learn more about its creatures, and check out the mini-documentaries included, whilst the way that the narrative correlates with the sea life is neat too. It’s just clear that some sacrifices were made when it came to the visuals, which does take away some of the sense of wonder that the game has on other platforms.
Developer: E-Line Media
Publisher: E-Line Media
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC