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5 Best Story-Driven Games Like Under the Waves



Games like Under the Waves

Under the Waves, which was announced at Gamescom 2022, is the newest narrative-based game set in the open waters, more specifically beneath the waves. Apart from the sci-fi story-rich tale that goes with it, we don't know much about the game. We don't even have a tentative release date. So, in order to best prepare for Parallel Studios' newest release, we're playing these five story-driven underwater games that are most like what we can expect from Under the Waves.

What we do know is that Under the Waves will be a deeply moving story with stunning visuals. And a few games on this list will provide equally memorable moments of both. There are also a few titles that have taken their own original underwater story and turned it into some of the most atmospheric and immersive titles we've ever seen. Which we're hoping is the case for Under the Waves. That's why the five best games like it in this list will help you gauge Under the Waves to its competitors. And surely after this list, you'll almost certainly be drowning in deep sea titles to play.


5. Koral

KORAL - Reveal Trailer

Under the Waves has been called a “love letter to the ocean.” Koral is another game that has been mentioned in the same context. The indie game developed by Carlos Coronado and released in 2019 is intended to raise awareness about the destruction of coral reefs in our ocean. And, while it's more of an atmospheric and casual puzzler than a story-driven game, it surely will match the high emotional impact we expect from Under the Waves.

The game's goal is to solve puzzles and restore life to 15 different underwater ecosystems. And, while there is no direct narrative attached to it, there is a larger story of climate change. Furthermore, how it is affecting our ocean ecosystems. To top it all off, the game was created on a sailboat while studying various coral reefs. Which has resulted in Koral being one of the most realistic and captivating games to be based within the ocean's depths. And we expect Under the Waves to have an equally stimulating atmosphere.



4. Song of the Deep

Song of the Deep - Reveal Trailer

From developer Insomniac Games, we bring you Song of the Deep, a Metroidvania-style action-adventure game. And much like Under the Waves, this game's narrative takes us into the deepest depths of the ocean. As Merryn, you're eagerly awaiting the return of your father from a fishing voyage. However, he never does. That's when Merryn has a vivid dream of her father being trapped under the sea and when she takes matters into her own hands. Building her own vessel out of spare parts, Merryn set's off into the ocean's unknown in search of her father.

We don't know about you, but that sounds like it's making for a pretty intriguing story-driven game. One that seems to be on the same emotional gripping level as Under the Waves. As in that game, we're seeing protagonist Stan try and overcome a life-changing loss while undergoing an extensive underwater mission. So we can see clear parallels between our protagonist's quest for closure in these two games. As a result, Song of the Deep is without a doubt one of the best games like Under the Waves, as both games share similar levels of themes and narratives.



3. Abzu

Abzu Official Trailer - E3 2016

If you're familiar with and/or have played Journey, Abzu will provide a similar experience. In fact, the game employs the same art director as Journey, so you can bet that the game will be full of breathtaking moments. And, despite the lack of a scripted or planned narrative, it's difficult not to feel as if you've just finished one of the best story games of all time. This is due to the fact that Abzu's story is entirely told by its environment, atmosphere, and exploration.

But that's not to say there's no meaning or story behind Abzu; quite the contrary. The name Abzu comes from the oldest mythologies; AB stands for water, and ZU stands for knowledge. As a result, Abzu is meant to stand for the ocean of knowledge. That's why the game's focus is on letting the game's environment tell the story while the player interprets its meaning for themselves.

We include Abzu in our list of games like Under the Waves because it is easily one of the genre's most visually stunning titles. And if Under the Waves wants to achieve a similar effect, they should take a page from Abzu's book.



2. Bioshock & Bioshock 2

BioShock: The Collection Announcement Trailer

When the first Bioshock game was released in 2007, it delivered one of the most unique narratives in a video game that most of us have ever seen. And, by chance, this game's one-of-a-kind narrative takes place underwater, at least in the first two installments. As a result, they are excellent candidates for the best games like Under the Waves. However, the third game takes a very different turn, which we're excluding from this entry for the sake of argument.

The first two games' narrative is set in the underwater city of Rapture. An isolated underwater utopia for the world's wealthiest. However, when the genetic material ADAM is discovered, which grant's its users with superhuman abilities, it results in Rapture's demise. The once glorious underwater metropolis has now turned into a sinister and cruel environment, filled with users of ADAM, known as splicers.

This original story present in Bioshock and Bioshock 2 results in some of the most intense, and eerie sci-fi environments to ever take place under the water. And playing both games should have you prepared for the likes of Under the Waves' thrilling sci-fi adventure.



1. Subnautica & Subnautica: below Zero

Subnautica Cinematic Trailer

Subnautica, like Under the Waves, is a solo underwater adventure. In this story, your ship has crash-landed on an alien ocean world. You've successfully deployed your vessel and survived the landing. But if you want to survive in Subnautica, you'll need to delve into its depths in search of resources and answers.

However, Subnautica isn't just about survival. It also brings a mysterious story that you gradually uncover as you progress and learn more about the alien planet. One that is jam-packed with everything sci-fi. So much so that a sequel, Subnautica: Below Zero, was created to further the underwater sci-fi adventure. Subnautica and its sequel are two games that undoubtedly will most be like Under the Waves. And we're fairly certain that this title inspired the likes of Under the Waves.


So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Are there other games like Under the Waves that we should know about? Let us know in the comments below or over on our socials here!

Riley Fonger is a freelance writer, music lover, and gamer since adolescence. He loves anything video game-related and grew up with a passion for story games such as Bioshock and The Last of Us.