Visually, the underwater platformer “Below the Ocean” is kept minimalistic, but three different game mechanics can be found here, all of which harmonize wonderfully with the narrative setting. We play a treasure hunter who ventures into the depths of the ocean in a diving suit. However, the equipment is slightly outdated and must always be attached to an oxygen tank with a hose. This would enormously limit the radius in which the protagonist can move, if it were not for the fact that such containers are conveniently scattered all over the seabed. Yet distance is not the only factor at play, as the nearest oxygen cylinder – which incidentally also acts as a checkpoint – is sometimes located on hills that are not easily accessible.
It is exactly at this point that the first grandiose mechanic of “Below the Ocean” comes to light. Since the hose used for external oxygen supply is made of a tear-resistant material, it can in principle be wrapped around individual rims. If you then go further and further into the distance so that the entire length of the hose is utilized, you can use it to swing from top to bottom. In this way, otherwise unmanageable heights can be reached. This physics component leads to some interesting puzzle and level design; especially when trying to get your hands on all eight optionally collectible diamonds.
The second mechanic are the huge bubbles that can be found in some levels. If our adventurer runs into one, the next moment they are completely surrounded by it. This not only allows us to perform a double jump, but we are also pulled along by underwater currents in this state. Last but not least, there is also a new type of switch puzzle: In the last third of the game we can open doors by connecting motors connected to them to a power source. Again, the hose of our diving suit is needed here. If we move so that there is a direct line between the two interfaces, symbolized by a yellowish glow, we have solved the problem. This successful combination of different mechanics combined with the coherent audiovisual representation and level design make “Below the Ocean” a polished and entertaining contribution to the forty-eighth Ludum Dare. [PLAY]