Developer: Zoxide Games
Publisher: Zoxide Games
Neptune Flux is a first person underwater exploration adventure that is playable with or without using VR. I played using my desktop, so I can’t comment on the VR experience.
The game is story driven. The world above the surface is dying, and humanity’s last hope for survival lies deep in ocean. While colonization is taking place, bizarre surges of energy disrupt the operations of the underwater project. You play as Sarah, and you are dispatched to investigate the cause. You start off at the A.Q.U.A. base, and you are assigned missions from command. As you venture out from the main base, you discover various wreckage sites that begin other missions. The story is fine, but there isn’t a whole lot to it.
Overall, the gameplay is similar to that of an underwater walking simulator with a strong focus on open exploration. Your dive pod has a battery that slowly drains as you use your sonar (pre-upgrade) or travel between the different locations. As you explore and complete missions, you start to put the pieces together, and learn the truth about what’s really going on. Completing missions, and salvaging treasure rewards you with currency to buy consumables, and upgrades for your dive pod. You can only carry a limited number of consumables at a time, and there are only two upgrades available.
- graphics are good, and exploring the sunken wreckage is interesting
- voice acting is excellent, and the impressive (for as much as I enjoyed the strong narrative, it could have been made even better if dialog choices had been available to give the player a greater sense of control)
- enjoyable soundtrack; it’s relaxing to listen to while you explore, and works really well with the ambience to create an immersive calming atmosphere
- extremely short for the price especially if you don’t plan to use VR (less than 1.5 hours to complete while salvaging everything, and exploring very thoroughly. I went back and played it again, and you can rush through the game in less than 30 minutes, however, this type of game is best enjoyed by taking your time to enjoy the immersion)
- most of the area is desolate, and the terrain between the points of interest mostly feels like more of the same, which was a bit boring to explore after a while (the game needs some interesting aquatic life, similar to what you would see in Bioshock or SOMA)
- some of the sound effects (specifically the sonar, and the low battery) are very annoying and loud; the dive pod makes a high pitched whining sound while moving that also gets irritating (implementing a separate volume slider for only the sound effects would definitely be a great addition)
- (nitpick) travelling too far away from the base and wreckage sites drastically throttles the speed of your dive pod since you aren’t meant to go out that far
- (nitpick) by the end of the game you will have a ton of currency left over, but nothing to have been able to spend it on (more consumable carrying capacity, or some other upgrades to purchase would be nice)
I loved the narrative, and the atmosphere. I found the exploration was somewhat satisfying; investigating the wrecks, figuring out what to do, and completing missions was interesting, but I wanted to journey out further. Beyond the wreckage was just vast emptiness though, so I wish there had been more to see. I liked the game, but I find it hard to justify the price given the amount of content. I expect that Neptune Flux is best played using VR, and that’s probably why it costs more, but the price is simply too high for those planning to play without using VR. I would strongly suggest waiting for a very discounted sale price if you only intend to play using your desktop.
Review copy was provided by the developer.