Wednesday, December 6, 2023

I bought World of Diving for $2

I've been a bit fascinated with underwater VR games since I first strapped on a headset and realized that it felt like I was wearing a diving mask. It's a bit uncanny and so it's easy to understand why a game like World of Diving exists. It's actually crazier to me that there aren't MORE games like World of Diving, but I get it . . . . It's a gamble and a game like this wouldn't make you rich. This is my best guess at why there are so many shooters in the VR space. They sell. Games like World of Diving don't.

Steamdb has tracked World of Diving over the past couple years, and when it's gone on sale it's either been between the $5 and $2 range. That tracks for me since it's an older VR game from 2014, and it has a 3-star rating on Steam.

World of Diving is all about the extremes

Having already been exposed to Ocean Rift (one of my first purchased games on the Oculus) and loving the feeling of jetting around looking at the ocean floor and swimming aside sea creatures, when World of Diving popped up for $2 during Black Friday sales, I . . . dove in . . . and purchased it.

The past week has been World of Diving week for me, which I needed since before this I was in a couple very active games (Synth Riders and Hellsweeper -- thanks for the suggestions Amelia!). World of Diving is super super chill, but still a game, so it's already better than Ocean Rift or TheBlu

The problem with Ocean Rift is that it's an experience, not a game.  Basically in Ocean Rift you're visiting a virtual underground museum looking at sea life and not much else.  The other popular underwater experience is TheBlu, which is currently free to play with 3-4 $2 DLC. The free to play experience in TheBlu is like 3 minutes. It's a great 3 minutes where you stand in place and a whale looks you in the eye and swims past you. It would be a pretty great "first experience" for a VR newbie, but . . . ultimately it's pretty short. I did like how the ship shook when the whale zoomed past you though. Nice touch.

So! All that said!  Let's talk World of Diving!  This Jamaican 6-pack bustin' diving shop owner is your guide.

Ray likes turtles and is Jamaican right down to the tip of his undies.

Ray has quests for you! The basic game loop here is that you visit Ray, and Ray tells you where to go next.  Done. You open up your handy dandy underwater camera/quest/fishopedia and there's a little yellow marker telling you exactly where to go to find your next destination.

Have green squares, will photograph! 

I love everything about this thing except for its font. Completely unbelievable that a company that created such a device would use such an unreadable font for its interface.  A white, thin, and san serif font?! I don't buy it and I don't like it.  It is a pretty cool gadget though. I wish the pictures that I took with it were stored somewhere on my hard drive. I dug through folders hoping it was so, but alas . . . Steam F12 or Oculus screenshot button were the best I could do.

I had fish density turned all the way up in the options

Most of Ray's missions came in one of two flavors: collection quest or photography quest. It was like playing Pokemon Snap in a way.  After you'd finish a quest, Ray would give you a follow on quest until you had finished all the main quests in an area, then you'd unlock the next biome. In all there were 8 biomes you could play in: Thailand, Bonaire, Australia, Okavango Delta, Lockheed, North Carolina, Bismarck, and Brazil.

I'm not sure if he saw me after a while.

The first biome was the most fleshed out and completed. After that, there were maybe only 4-5 quests in each biome. The fish in the biomes started to taper off as well. Because of this, it feels like the game was rushed to completion after the first biome was polished, but they all had something unique and interesting to explore.


While questing, there are some side quests you can pick up for photographing things. There are also hidden collection quests for picking up junk, finding doubloons, and finding other treasures. I picked up a lot of trash in the virtual seas, but alas I haven't finished any of these sub-quests.

People just leaving their trash bags everywhere these days!

Quests award you with gold and you can spend that gold on unlocking wearable diving gear. As a player you don't see any visible changes in what you're wearing, but apparently this game supports multiplayer where it would matter more.  That's actually the most shocking part here. Multiplayer?! I love it! I wonder if that's networked or player-hosted? It'd be interesting to find out someday if I find a diving partner.

The quests end at the second to the last biome, which has you searching through an old sunken nazi submarine. You end up swimming through rusty old tunnels looking for items.  The very last quest of the game is to find 8 hidden bars of gold. It was a bit of a cheap play here on that quest. You had to stick your hand through a ship bunk's geometry and click eight times in a hidden location.  Kinda weird.

In the words of Indiana Jones, "Nazis, I hate these guys!"

After that, they open a biome for you to just swim around in and perform photography side quests and junk clean up.  The best surprise though was this amazing My Little Pony Esque ship that was sunk there.

The best sunken ship in the game hands down. Worth the time spent to get to the final zone.

I love the fact that there was some crazy pirate in this unspoken lore that floated around in a my little pony ship and unleashed cannon fire on other pirates . . . only in One Piece and the final biome of World of Diving, friends.

The game was not without its bugs mind you. I mean, if I had paid full price for this game I would have been pretty irritated when I needed to restart the entire game because my ability to select quest icons and click in the quest window just suddenly didn't work. But, since I bought the game on the cheap and it has provided me with six hours of underwater fun so far, it's totally worth it!

If you know of a good diving VR game, let me know. I'd love to check it out.

Happy Dueling!


Nimgimli said...

Hey there! Did you have to do anything special to get World of Diving to work in VR? @partpurple picked it up but she is not seeing it in her Steam library as VR game. Just wondering if there was, y'know, a startup switch or something we needed to add.

Tipa said...

This really does look like the perfect kind of game for VR. Diving helmets, space helmets, race car helmets, helmets in general -- they separate you from mundane life. You put on the helmet and are somewhere else, probably someone else. Quantum Leap: Jamaica.

Stingite said...

@Nimgimli -- weird. I haven't done anything special to get it to work. I can launch it through both SteamVR and just from clicking on the icon. I wonder if you add the run command "-vrmode steamvr" or "-vrmode openvr" in the Launch Options of the game, maybe it'd help.

@Tipa -- it really is uncanny!

Nimgimli said...

@stingite Thanks anyway. Having asked more questions, it seems like maybe the game just doesn't want to run on her machine, though we haven't sat down to debug yet.

mariochain said...