The first time I heard of Last Tide was when I covered Digital Confectioners’ announcement back in July. That was for our sister-site, Daily Esports — and you can check it out here. Since then, the game has changed names from King Tide to Last Tide. Why? According to the developers, that’s because of a trademark complaint that was being contested by a — let’s just say — “kingly” company. To avoid any mishaps, the game’s title was changed to what we have now. With Last Tide’s Steam Early Access release last August 27, the game has sparked some interest. I mean, it’s an underwater battle royale game with sharks — that’s already intriguing.
I decided to take the plunge and dive deep into Last Tide to check out the Early Access gameplay.
Last Tide — First Time
The first thing you’ll notice about Last Tide is how unique it feels. Battle Royale games such as Fortnite, Realm Royale, PUBG, and others simply drop you to a wide expanse of land where you’re free to roam and explore. In Last Tide — given that it’s coined as an “Aquatic Royale” — the feel of the game is particularly refreshing.
You wait in an underwater cavern with other divers while more players are added to the match. After that, you’re on a ship headed to open waters and you’ll have to deploy your Divepod. While other battle royale games have you parachuting from the sky down to the ground, Last Tide instead has you control the Divepod in a linear manner as you steer your way past cliffs and other obstacles. You can steer your Divepod for a long period until it breaks open and you can finally control your character.
Oh, and that can also happen if you hit any solid object! Don’t make the same mistake I did when I deployed my Divepod only to immediately hit an underwater pipeline! My character spawned around a dozen players. Needless to say, I was quickly sleeping with the fishes.
Last Tide — Combat and Controls
The controls are about as straightforward as any other shooter. The major difference is the speed of your movement and verticality. Since you’re underwater, there’s the effect that you’re moving slightly slower than any other battle royale game that puts you on land. With verticality, you can swim all the way up to the surface or down the depths. Also, if you find a Divepod Station on the map, you can use it to travel great distances much like how you initially respawned.
You start off each match with the basic knife — like any self-respecting scuba diver — before scavenging for various weapons. You’ve got pistols, harpoons/spear guns, submachine guns, rifles, and even a shotgun that fires five spears in one shot.
Items and weapons are scattered in various nooks and crannies in the map. Unlike other titles where you can find these in easy-to-spot chests, Last Tide has them just lying on the ground. It can be tough to find what you’re looking for since you can’t easily spot them from far away.
Last Tide — Sharks!
Digital Confectioners, if you don’t know yet, are the makers of Depth. That’s an underwater combat game where players can choose the role of a diver or even as a shark. Naturally, Last Tide wouldn’t be complete without some man-versus-shark action.
As the game progresses, the safe zone naturally decreases in size. If you are in the red zone, you’ll start encountering sharks which are accompanied by a frantic heartbeat to give you that “thump-thump” vibe from Jaws. You can dip in and out of the red zone as much as you’d like just killing the predators. As you can see above, I was just defending myself with a knife. However, be forewarned that sharks do ramp up in difficulty as time progresses. Oh, and if you run out of restoratives, tough luck because you’re fish food.
My only quibble is that I would prefer a more dynamic map where sharks are also patrolling the safe zone. Most battle royale games are spent just camping in an area or roaming around until you spot a hostile player. Putting some PvE enemies like sharks and other dangerous sea creatures should help break the monotony. Then again, some players are clamoring for some shark-versus-shark gameplay or even dead players spawning as sharks to even the score. Those features would be exciting to have, but then again, we could be jumping the shark if that were the case.
The other danger comes from depth charges that are occasionally dropped by a passing bomber, which can be seen on the map. I’ve actually never encountered these, no matter how hard I tried. You’d probably have to be really unlucky to get hit by one.
Last Tide — Constructive Criti-sea-sim
I apologize for my dad-joke-level puns. In any case, given that this is a Steam Early Access title, there are some glaring flaws.
Right now, there are only two servers available: North America and Europe. Since I am from Asia, I’m already at a disadvantage when playing with those from the other side of the world. We do know that Digital Confectioners will be adding more servers later on which is a good sign of things to come.
If you wish to squad up, all you need to do is queue and you’ll be automatically matched with others. Otherwise, you can select a server and uncheck the “fill squad” box to go at it solo. However, you still have to deal with groups. The upside is that you get more rewards the fewer players there are in your team.
Last Tide currently has a small but healthy player base. It’s decent enough to grow and nurture, but not big enough to support a 100-diver-deathmatch.
It takes only a few seconds to queue up and join a squad. However, it can take up to five minutes for a match to start. There are some cases where you might spend more time waiting in that underwater cave lounging around than actually playing a match. For reference, I played the game from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST.
For now, I would hope that they can tweak their matchmaking so that it allows matches to start with only a small number of players. That will, however, affect how the match plays out given a small number of divers all swimming around a map designed for a hundred competitors. Still, we’ll see how the developers work things out.
Chat and Communication
The game currently does not have voice chat or even text chat support. The most you can do when teamed up with a squad is put a marker on the map. Digital Confectioners will be adding chat support at a later date so, for now, your best option is to join their Discord server to have some semblance of communication with your teammates.
Last Tide — Final Word
The question on everyone’s mind is presumably: “Should I buy this game?”
If you’re a fan of Depth or the battle royale genre in general, you’ll want to check out Last Tide. It offers a refreshingly unique twist in a genre that’s become quite oversaturated with samey gameplay mechanics and locales. Plus, Digital Confectioners have shown that they can continue supporting their previous title, Depth, years since it was released.
However, given that this is still under Steam Early Access, you’ll want to keep that in mind whenever issues crop up from time to time. It’s playable, it’s generally stable, and there are momentary flashes of brilliance. Unfortunately, to fully maximize your enjoyment, you’d have to experience that in matches which, sadly, take a long while to start.
It’s all up to Digital Confectioners to get everything sorted out. We’ll see if Last Tide can rise up from the depths and reach its true potential.
Last Tide is available on Steam Early Access for $14.99. You can learn more about the game from the FAQ. This preview comes from an Early Access build of the game. The Steam key was provided by the developer/publisher Digital Confectioners.