Three decades ago, in the reign of Victoria, London was stolen by bats. Now it lies a mile below the surface.
Does that make any sense? Anyway, that is how the story of your adventures as an Unterzee captain begins in Sunless Sea. In the game you explore the Unterzee, a vast underground black ocean, in order to achieve your main goal. That goal is chosen at the beginning of the game, but the path to success is it not very straightforward. You need to keep sufficient amount of fuel and supplies to survive the journeys, you need to keep your crew’s terror level down to keep the madness away (the Unterzee is a very scary place filled with monsters and unseen horrors), and you will die anyway. That is not a problem, you will always have a successor that can inherit something from you to make the life somewhat easier.
The world is based on that of a browser adventure game called Fallen London. It is a little bit of steam-punk and and a little bit of Lovecraft, and it is a very fascinating place. The world and the story are truly the main reasons to play this game. The game is nice to look at, and the music is atmospheric and fitting to the theme. The pace is extremely slow, and at times it is very tricky to balance the economy so that there can be any progress at all in the story. There is a lot of text to read and there are many choices to make through the game, and most of these choices do matter in one way or another.
I like Sunless Sea. The clunky user interface that shows the game’s roots as a browser game and the somwhat repetitive gameplay do not stop me from that. The reason I play is to sink deeper into the Unterzee and in a leisurely manner deal with the myriads of subplots on its islands, and to explore the boundaries of the known darkness.