A lot of indie games catch flak because they play like walking simulators where nothing really happens. I understand that completely, and I find some of those games boring and pointless myself. Still, sometimes a game’s concept sounds so refreshing that I have to admire its originality, even if the game turns out to fail in the execution. Nauticrawl: 20,000 Atmospheres is one such game, though I hope it succeeds. It reminds me a bit of Event, which was a weird concept that turned out great in the end. We’ll have to wait and see how Nauticrawl does when it releases on Sept 16.
You are stranded on a distant planet, trying to escape its terrifying sentinels. In order to escape, you’ll have to learn how to pilot the Nauticrawl, a giant metal vehicle designed to be used by the ruling elites. It features many buttons, levers, and displays, so you have to be persistent as you experiment to make your escape.
The word Nauticrawl is a portmanteau of “nautical” and “crawl,” which hints at the dungeon crawl genre. Although it looks like you’ll be stuck in front of a ship panel throughout the game, there’s also a simulation of this kind of dungeon crawl experience through the in-game map, as you can see in the trailer below. You’ll never leave the ship during the game, which contributes to Nauticrawl‘s oppressive atmosphere.
Nauticrawl: a potpourri of genres
The game seems to borrows a lot of ideas from many genres. You have a typical roguelike gameplay loop as you die and die many times before you manage to fly the ship. It’s also something like a text adventure, as you explore an environment while mostly blind, unable to see the world outside. It’s a point-and-click puzzle adventure where you attempt to work the systems in order to find a solution and a way out of the planet. And it’s a first-person perspective ship panel simulation with a retrofuturistic or steampunk aesthetic. This is a wild mix of ingredients that could turn out either indigestible or a truly unique, new recipe.
Nauticrawl is the work of solo Italian developer Andrea Interguglielmi, who confirms the influence of space-combat simulators and text adventures. He hopes that the final product will be “an experience that talks straight to our curiosity, our desire to pull all the levers and explore worlds that can’t be seen, only imagined.” I really like the concept of Nauticrawl, and I look forward to checking it out on release.
What do you think of Nauticrawl? Is it an original idea, or just a random mix of genres that seems vaguely interesting? Leave your comments below and tell us your thoughts!