“Nauticrawl” by Andrea Interguglielmi, Ben Jones & David Orr.

“In a grasp for salvation with sentinels closing in, you’ve stolen a Nauticrawl. […] [Y]ou realize [that you] don’t know how to move this hunk of metal… If the pursuing forces or the crushing atmosphere don’t kill you first, the Nauticrawl – designed to be piloted only by the ruling elites – just might. […] With the right amount of experimentation your escape plan just might succeed. Pull levers, redirect power, hack devices, uncover communications, try anything and everything.”

Don’t expect a tutorial or a complete manual or a guide that can help you out in “Nauticrawl”; in this excellent submarine-like machine simulation you are completely on your own. You find yourself in an underground water system, and this apparatus is your only possibility to make it out alive. Without any clue what all the buttons or levers do, you have to figure it out yourself. And believe me, you will die. Quite often, to be precise. But death as your frequent friend in this environment is not ruthless, as each new life in “Nauticrawl” comes along with newly made experiences and knowledge.

Step by step you will find out how to turn on the engine, how to arrange the fuel flow between the tanks, how to turn on the cloaking system to hide yourself from rogue sentinels and so much more. There are even hacking mechanisms, that can be useful to find helpful items as well as insights in ancient computer systems. But remember: The success of your whole escape trip will immensively be based on good resource and energy management.

If you love to figure out game mechanics and how they are intertwined with each other by yourself, then “Nauticrawl” should be on the top of your ‘To play soon!’ list. The learning curve might stumble a bit in the beginning and you should have a certain frustration tolerance, but I promise you: Each new information you gather will eventually prove to be useful. Overall, a very well designed puzzle and exploration game.