In Other Waters Review

Screenshot of main interface from In Other Waters
Spotting and clicking on creatures multiple times will eventually identify them

Quick Info
Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
Developer: Jump Over the Age
Publisher: Fellow Traveller
Release Date: 3 Apr 2020
Time played: 8.1 hours

Xenobiology meets Zork

Let me start off by thanking my brother for getting me this game. I like narrative rich adventures and I do like sci-fi which is why the game ended up on my Steam wishlist. Last Christmas, my generous brother gifted me Eville, Four Last Things, Underground Blossom and this game, In Other Waters, a game that describes itself as a "non-violent, sci-fi story" where you play an "Artificial Intelligence guiding a stranded xenobiologist through a beautiful and mysterious alien ocean."

Taxonomy Screen from In Other Waters
Collect samples and learn more about the planet's inhabitants

In terms of gameplay, In Other Waters feels like a stylised top-down walking simulator on rails, or an interactive fiction game like the old Zork games but with graphics, audio and a mouse-driven interface. You play the role of a diving suit AI listening in on its occupant, a marine xenobiologist called Ellery Vas who is looking for her missing lover on the exoplanet Gliese 667 Cc. You will be given limited opportunities to communicate with Ellery whenever she decides to ask for your opinion (as you can only respond in binary: yes or no) but otherwise, it's your job to make sure Ellery stays safe and manages to reach her objectives. The main screen displays nodes on a bathymetric map (a map of the sea floor) and you can select these nodes to choose which way you want to travel. You are also able to perform a scan of your surroundings which reveals additional nodes to travel to as well as the planet's native lifeforms. Clicking on the plants and creatures enough times will eventually identify the species as one worth investigating further. This will unlock an entry on the taxonomy screen and once you've analysed particular samples in the lab, further information will be revealed. Collecting samples is useful in other ways as the suit can convert them into precious power and oxygen (as Ellery can't survive without either one). Some samples are also useful in clearing ways through the environment such as "shrillsacs" which when thrown at a mass of plants causes them to disappear.

Screenshot of darker area being explored in In Other Waters
While graphics are minimalistic they do change colour depending on which region of the planet you explore

Slow but surprisingly immersive

While the graphics are minimalistic consisting of brightly lit contours and geometric shapes, the game has an intriguing story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Those with an interest in marine biology will especially enjoy exploring the alien ocean and unlocking more information about the planet's many lifeforms. The game's soundtrack, composed by Amos Roddy, is the icing on the cake though as it helps amplify that sense of loneliness and wonder thanks to New Age/Space Music reminiscent of 70s sci-fi or works by Jean Michel-Jarre. It's often a very chilled experience but sometimes the game feels a bit too slow as it often takes several seconds to plod between nodes.

Screenshot of Sample Store from In Other Waters
It's possible to collect special samples before even identifying a species

I also have some issues with how you unlock new species entries as you're able to collect special samples to fill out the taxonomy before you even discover the species. If you're not concentrating you can end up collecting random samples only to finish the game and wonder where you acquired it. This becomes a problem if you don't remember since the species that is related to the sample is often found nearby which means revisiting the entire map if you want to unlock an extra ending (an ending where you've correctly identified and fully analysed all the species you can come across in the game). It would've been handy if the map at least indicated general areas where a species tended to inhabit, similar to the Far Cry games that highlight areas with particular animals used for harvesting crafting materials.


In Other Waters is a slow but immersive game similar to a walking simulator on rails or an interactive fiction game with minimalist graphics. The game has an impressive 70s sci-fi soundtrack by Amos Roddy and will keep you engaged with an intriguing story that should appeal to environmentalists, biologists and sci-fi fans in general.

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