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Sci-fi exploration game In Other Waters is out today

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When I first heard about In Other Waters (opens in new tab), I was immediately apprehensive. Subnautica was a beautiful but often incredibly stressful game, and making matters worse I'd just gotten around to playing Soma, Frictional's game of horrific monsters and worse at the bottom of the ocean. In Other Waters isn't like that, though: It's a (mostly) tranquil tale of exploration told through a computer interface, maps, and a "warm synth soundtrack."

In Other Waters is a "non-violent sci-fi story" about a xenobiologist named Ellery, who's stranded in a mysterious alien ocean with nothing more than a malfunctioning diving suit and an AI helper. You don't play as Ellery, though: You're the AI, guiding and keeping her safe as she works to uncover the planet's secrets and "dark history." It doesn't have the visual impact of a game like Subnautica, where monstrous sea-demons come out of nowhere (opens in new tab) to eat your face. Instead, it leans more on textual descriptions to build its world, as Rachel noted in her recent 80/100 review (opens in new tab).

"[The] vivid descriptions of your surroundings are your only way of making sense of the world, bringing those lines and symbols to life. As we make our way through the landscape, a dot on the map speeds towards us and I immediately think it's going to attack us, but Ellery calms my fears and explains that it's only a friendly jelly-fish like a creature," she wrote. "Where I only see jagged lines of rock outlines on the interface's sleek design, Ellery says that we are standing on the edge of a vast underwater reef teeming with life."

"Along with her visual descriptions, Ellery logs the species' behaviors and gives observations and educated guesses about how they fit into the larger ecosystem. The writing is vivid to the point where it feels like I'm learning about a real ecosystem."

In Other Waters is available on Steam (opens in new tab) and GOG (opens in new tab) for 10 percent off the regular $15/£12/€13 until April 10, or slightly more for the Xenobiologist's Edition bundle, which includes the soundtrack and art book. For a closer look at what it's all about, hit up (opens in new tab).

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.