Hidden Deep is an ’80s-inspired sci-fi horror game developed entirely by one person. Brought to you by Cogwheel Software, Hidden Deep sends players into a research and mining facility where things aren’t going quite as planned. Researchers and miners have gone missing and it’s up to you to find them or what’s left of them. Explore abandoned caves and mine shafts but watch out for dangerous alien creatures that inhabit these unknown caverns.
Hidden Deep takes a lot of cues from classic sci-fi flicks like Aliens and The Thing. All of it is brought to you in stunning 2D, reminiscent of something like Another World or more recent games, Lone Survivor, Carrion, and The Coma 2. While not as immersive as 3D, there is something about 2D horror games that can make you especially nervous and jumpy. The fact that you never really know what’s coming in any direction can make it really nerve-racking and scary.
Anyways, the art style is fairly realistic, or at least as realistic as 2D can get. The environments are fairly simple, but how detailed can you really make stuff like caves and shafts? Character models are fairly good too and move pretty realistically, though some of the creatures I’ve encountered are so-so in terms of design. I’m still fairly early in the game though so there might be bigger baddies down the line. This game is also Early Access so I’m not going to ding it for anything at the moment.
Aside from the looks, gameplay on Hidden Deep is actually pretty interesting. Most of it is exploration, where you’ll need to go deeper and deeper underground into these unknown cave systems. Luckily, you’re able to map out all these caves so you don’t get lost. To help you along the way, you’ll have a bevy of tools at your disposal, such as a grappling hook, scanning drones, terra-scanner, and several weapons. This makes for some interesting gameplay and adds some new dimension to exploration.
The controls are fairly easy to keep track of too and are pretty simple. I played using a keyboard and mouse setup for this and it plays fine. I just have issues aiming, but that’s me. Most likely I have my sensitivity set a bit high.
In terms of mood, Hidden Deep definitely can be a bit creepy. Just being alone in the dark and not being able to see into the dark areas is scary enough as it is. Having limited ammo too makes things even more interesting and you need to decide sometimes, should I just run or should I use what little ammo I have left?
As an Early Access game, Hidden Deep seems like it’s fairly complete. The developer says that there are some small issues they’ll iron out before the full release as well as the implementation of real multiplayer. There’s also talk of more levels, challenge modes, and possibly PvP. There’s a lot of potential I see in Hidden Deep and so far, I’m enjoying the adventure. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on this title as it progresses.
Received game from developer and/or publisher for coverage purposes.
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