An exceedingly damp squib

The endless wonders and variety of Earth’s ocean life are reduced to a dull box-ticking exercise...
The endless wonders and variety of Earth’s ocean life are reduced to a dull box-ticking exercise in Endless Ocean: Luminous, writes Wyatt Ryder. Image: Nintendo
For: Switch
From: Arika/Nintendo

This game feels like a free educational browser game from the 2000s, but it costs almost $80.

Playing Endless Ocean: Luminous is not fun and it is not relaxing. It’s just tedious.

The game is about ocean exploration and discovering marine life-forms. You can take photos and find out more about the fish, sharks and more you discover.

Most of it involves swimming through a fairly empty procedurally generated space and holding down a scan button. Your reward is a fact sheet about whatever marine life-form you’ve scanned.

At first this felt cool, but after my 20th fact sheet I simply had no interest or patience to pay attention to any more.

There are rare "named" creatures to find, like a shark named Thanatos or a sunfish named Apollo, but they’re so frequent they don’t feel special.

The story mode treats you to an "AI" companion, voiced by an actual text to speech programme.

It’s awful to listen to and feels incredibly cheap — frankly insulting — for the price tag on this product.

Why model hundreds of fish, then neglect to hire a voice actor?

What really frustrates me is that the team that modelled the fish seem to have done their job with genuine passion, but nothing else even comes close.

I simply don’t understand who the market audience is.

I could imagine a young fish enthusiast having a little bit of fun with this, but I cannot understand selling it for more that $10.

Unique games offering an alternative to the mainstream need to exist, which makes it such a shame that this feels like a cash grab.

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter