The folks at Digital Confectioners took one look at the booming battle royale genre, furrowed their brows, steepled their fingers, and said, "This is great, but it needs more sharks." At least that's how I assume Last Tide was born, an aquatic battle royale shooter set in a shark-filled sea. It launched on Steam Early Access earlier this week for $15.
Last Tide is a fairly faithful battle royale game: 100 players fight to the death within an ever-shrinking circle on a map where some sort of gun fairy just finished sprinkling lethal firearms all over the place. But its underwater setting recolors everything about it and makes those extremely familiar elements feel at least somewhat novel.
You're not just some dude in a tank-top and a camo helmet: you're a diver in a wetsuit with flippers, a facemask and oxygen tanks. Your weapons fire nails and harpoons, not bullets. Hostile jets occasionally sweep the map and create dangerous 'red zones,' but they drop depth charges, not bombs. And instead of grenades, you have three flavors of flares: signal, ink and chum. Yes, you can shoot chum at your enemies to lure sharks toward them.
Did I mention the sharks? There are sharks. Last Tide's encroaching circle is an anti-shark net, and if you get caught outside it, you will promptly be attacked by sharks, as I learned in my first match.
The movement speed is a bit slow for my taste, but otherwise Last Tide feels like a pretty competent battle royale game at first blush. I've only played a few matches, and those matches took a little while to queue up, but they were tense and exciting, and I don't think that was just due the looming threat of shark attacks. There's something inherently unnerving about fighting underwater and out of your element, and the sea makes for pretty environments. That being said, the best part of Last Tide is how you start each match. You really do need to see this for yourself:
Look at them. Like graceful, metal dolphins. I hereby decree that every battle royale game needs miniature submarines, fired like missiles out of a flaming ship.