Depth Hunter: The Spearfishing Simulator

Oh, God. Another ‘Simulator’ game. The word has become synonymous with crap titles over the last few months, and no wonder: most of those games have been terrible.  They’ve got a tendency to be truly terrible: whether it’s UK Truck Simulator, Garbage Truck Simulator, Oil Platform Simulator, Farming Simulator, Destruction Simulator or any of the other piles of guff with the word appended to their title, they all share a common theme:  poor gameplay, abysmal graphics and a blatant lack of fun. Does driving a hard-to-control lorry down a virtual motorway for hours at a time really constitute a game?

Because of this black mark against having that word in your title, it’s only natural that you assume Depth Hunter: The Spearfishing Simulator is going to be terrible, right? It’s all the more surprising, then, when you find out that it’s… actually quite good.

The first sign you notice that something’s amiss pops up before you’ve even installed the game. The installation screen is completely different from the creaky, threadbare menus usually employed by its brethren. Here, you get a full-screen display showing off the soothing, colourful visuals you’ll find under the sea, with calming and relaxing music playing all the while. These kinds of production values are virtually unheard of with this sort of game and are an inkling that this might not actually be as bad as you think it will be.

It carries on into the menu screen, too.  It’s just as soothing , charming and frankly impressive as the installer. The menu options are spartan, but that’s understandable for this type of game.  It’s a bit disappointing, however, to visit the graphic menu and be presented merely with the option of ‘normal’ or ‘low’ visual quality, especially when you’re running it on a high-end PC.

But none of that matters when you start the game proper. When you’re first plonked into the ocean, you’ll realise just how beautiful Depth Hunter is. It’s not the most graphically-demanding title available and it won’t give your processor any problems, but it creates some truly inspiring underwater locales.  The sea looks gorgeous, with the sun speckling through the gorgeous blue water as exotic fish float and weave through exotically-coloured coral. It feels like you’ve been placed directly in a Mediterranean paradise you see in holiday adverts. Despite its modest stature, Depth Hunter stuns you with just how well it conveys the idyllic seascapes in which it is set.

Once you finally get over how nice it all looks, that’s when the gameplay mechanics are introduced. It plays like a first-person shooter, with the only equipable weapon being your trusty speargun. You’re free to swim wherever you like under the water, a joyous feeling which makes you feel completely and utterly free. Exploring  the seabed is a joy, with the subtle continuation of movement after every action taken adding to the feeling that you are truly floating in the surf. Since you’re spearfishing without a scuba tank, you’ll be arbitrarily forced to go to the surface to re-inflate your lungs every sooften, but hey, this is a simulator, after all.

Then there’s the fishing itself. It takes a while to get used to the mechanics of the speargun and also to learn to identify which fish you can actually catch. Your spear always misses shoals of fish and you’re not allowed to shoot at the massive manta rays that dot the seascape at all, for some reason, but it gets much easier with practice. Spearing the fish is only the beginning: it’s reeling them in that’s the difficult part. There’s no tutorial explaining how to actually catch the fish and the first few times it gets away is frustrating, but once you figure it out – tighten the line when the fish pulls away, loosen it when it stops resisting – it becomes greatly satisfying adding to your haul of gilled creatures.  You also get a wee camera with which to take underwater snaps, being able to save them to a gallery if there’s a photo you’re particularly proud of.

Once you’ve completed the missions in the main mode, there’s little else to do other than replay it or float about in photo mode. There’s not much here, but what it offers it does brilliantly. You’ll be having such a relaxing time floating about underwater, you won’t want to do anything else.







3 responses to “Depth Hunter: The Spearfishing Simulator”

  1. Tony avatar

    Reminds of that old joke about the army:

    “Join the Army. Travel to foreign climes, meet new and exciting people… and kill them.”

    …but with fish.

  2. […] Originally published on Ready Up on 12th June 2012. […]

  3. […] posted before – I got sent one about some African diving holiday or something after sharing my review for a spearfishing simulator – this type of tweet only serves to annoy users and clutter up their […]

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