Beyond Blue catches the eye immediately. This was a title I had been anticipating since it's announcement at e3 2018. The ocean is a vastly unexplored area filled with beauty and danger. Even a virtual exploration can bring about that childlike feeling of wonder. This game looks to give players a closer look than most will ever be able to experience. It also aims to spread the message of how important the ocean is to us. Morals aside, let's see if this is actually a game worth your time.
Save the Whales
Beyond Blue is set in our near future but the story begins before the events of the game. You play as Mirai, a marine biologist and conservationist. She livestreams her dives in order to teach people about sea life and raise awareness of the ocean's importance. During this expedition, she will encounter natural and man-made dangers to marine life. Her dives provide proof of the damage that our interference is doing to the oceans.
This all happens as she follows a pod of Humpback Whales. Among them is a new mother she first encountered as a child. She hopes to follow the baby through its formative years and see her become a mother as well. Players will see many different creatures during the dives, but the focus is primarily on this pod.
Don't Miss a Thing!
Beyond Blue is about exploration and discovery. There are no enemies, you cannot die and you cannot fail a mission. Take your time, enjoy the beautiful scenery and find every creature in every area. The map even shows you where undiscovered creatures are, albeit poorly. Mirai's goal is to study and catalog every creature she encounters during her dives. You do not have to worry about missing everything as every level can be revisited postgame.
You Had One Job!
E-Line Media went a long time to properly capture the likeness of the marine life represented in Beyond Blue. from the smallest fish to giant whales, they did an excellent job of nailing the details. There are a few hiccups as Barracuda look a bit goofy up close. Whales look amazing at any distance and/or level of illumination. The only question is why this game has no photo mode. There are moments you just stare in awe at what is going on around you and want to snap a photo. Considering how short the game is, a photo mode would give people more of a reason to replay it.
Verdict: Does Beyond Blue Have Any Depth?
Let it be known that you can finish this game in a few hours if you don't bother with completion. Even if you do, you can probably find everything in a single day. The ocean looks like it goes on forever, but you will run into invisible walls if you go to the edge of the map. That does slightly detract from the concept of ‘beyond.' Aside from the film clips you unlock, there is really nothing beyond the main story.
The gameplay is nothing to get excited about but that does not make it less enjoyable. If you like looking at marine life, you will have a great, albeit short time with Beyond Blue. My only real complaint is the lack of danger. I understand that E-Line wanted to keep the game family friendly but Hammerheads, Barracuda and some other creatures are not friendly. The presentation of life here is something to behold but the behavior came up lacking.
I mentioned at the beginning that this game grabbed my attention back in 2018. All I saw was the initial teaser and I knew I wanted to play it. Forget that it is short; forget that the replay value is nil. Beyond Blue is twenty bucks and that price buys you a beautiful and relaxing experience. Even though it raises awareness about real-world environmental issues, the game will make your troubles melt away for a weekend. That, in itself, makes it worth the price of admission. I honestly hope Mirai's story continues in future games.
Beyond Blue is beautiful and relaxing. You will get lost in it. Completionists will, unfortunately, get slightly frustrated, however. It is a must-play if you even remotely like sea life.