Sunless Sea is currently one of the most promising titles out there and like the games of Arcen games very unique and won't let itself apply to a single genre.
You can loosely describe Sunless Sea as a rogue-like sailing simulation but under the surface (which is right where you are) it is much more.
Developed from Failbetter Games this games is very story driven. But the way the story is told is just amazing. Sunless Sea tells YOUR story. You are a new captain, you've spent your money to purchase a questionable ship and a crew. Together with your tasty, uh, trusty crew you sail through a dark underground ocean known as the Neath.
The game is a spin-off from Fallen London, a browser game where you play a citizen of a mysteriously underground world known as the Neath. While Fallen London focuses more on the title given city, Sunless Sea let's you explore the darker places of the Neath.
But most of the times you are sailing on the dark, mysterious ocean, the Unterzea. Nameless horrors await you there and you have always to struggle with your own fear. If you succumb you will fall in madness which causes hallucinations, murdering intentions and sudden death (usually not yours however).
Terror is an indicator that shows hiw mad and fearful you are already are, the longer you stay in the darkness the worse it gets. At a certain point you begin to hallucinate which have a negative impact on you and your crew. If the terror is too high your crew rebels and you have either to convince them or shoot them down. This will reduce terror but you will also loose a lot of crew members.
Your goal in Sunless Sea depends on you. Right at the start the game asks you what you actually want to accomplish. You might want to make a good amount of money or you just want to be a famous explorer. In future updates will also be more story driven goals like searching for the body of your father who has gone missing on the Zea. This end game goal can never be changed and you have to fulfill multiple steps before you can finish the game successfully. However you will most of the time die before you can reach it.
Basic gameplay features sailing from island to island, trading cargo with other ports, talking with the local townsfolk and battling pirates and the beasts of the Zea.
The map shuffles at every new game start so you will never know what awaits you out there. Docking at ports can give you random events that may harm or benefit you depending on your stats and luck.You can also hire a bunch of officers that act both as trainers and quest givers. Increasing stats in Sunless Sea is also very unique. Experience points are given for discovering things you didn't know before. Most of the time this means whenever you find a new place on the map like islands, lighthouses or unique rock formations you will get some experience. You can however also learn from townsfolk about traditions or you can learn from the multiple beasts you encounter. Whenever you have enough experience you gain a secret that you can use to raise a specific that at your officers. Stats are nothing else as wisdom in Sunless Sea. The more you know the better you are.
Knowledge is such important that people even pay you for it. At Fallen London you can submit Port reports for quick money or you can gather strategic information for the admiral which is paid well. You can also work for a sholar in the university which pays you for every unique piece of artefact, tale or anything else that he might want to know.
What makes Sunless Sea so unique is the bizarre world. From the tomb-colony where the half-dead live to Mt. Palmerstone where the devils wait for souls, you will also wonder at all the little things you come across.
The world of the Neath is interesting and mysterious and you will always disciver something new.
Because the game is currently at early access a lot of features are still missing. Currently the battle system, which is at this point plain boring, is redone, a lot of side quests that are already hinted in the game are not accessable and huge parts of the map can be visited but are empty as hell (or maybe not because hell is actually quite filled in the Neath).
So, what do you think of this game? Have you played it, how far have you got?
I've put currently 24 hours into it and I'm still discivering new playes, new side stories and can never get enough of the atmosphere of the game.