Games: Deep sea diving sim Endless Ocean: Luminous offers more chilled sub-aquatic shenanigans for one player or many

Neil explores the depths of this new multi-player-friendly deep sea simulation

Diving with dolphins in ocean sim Endless Ocean: Luminous
Diving with dolphins in the new ocean sim

Endless Ocean: Luminous (Switch, Nintendo)

THE kind of chilled experience than only cod and (micro) chips can deliver, the third in the comatose Endless Ocean series – which first took the plunge on Wii back in 2008 – offers all the fun of being in an octopus’s garden without Ringo’s heavy drug use.

And, given the poor old Switch is in its care home days, the chilled-out deep-sea exploration sim is a fittingly low-energy way to while away the hours. As a cartoon crab once sang, “darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter, take it from me”.

Poured into a wetsuit, players play a scientist of sorts, saving the World Coral with the help of an AI and snarky partner by documenting a host of marine life in the Veiled Sea. This amounts to little more than pointing at fish in an abstract chill-pill involving sub-aquatic shenanigans with our fine-finned friends.

Given that you’re less likely to bump into an ocean marvel around Northern Ireland’s shores than a hardy turd or wayward prophylactic, Endless Ocean’s life aquatic is pure escapism as players channel their inner Jacques Cousteau and explore a Piscean playground.

Pootling through kelp forests, navigating caves and exploring shipwrecks, it offers a virtual deep-dive of briny exploration. And while quiet moments are the norm, there’s always some colossal beastie waiting to emerge from the depths.

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Endless Oceans: Luminous
Let's see what's down there - shared dives are now on offer

Scanning new life rewards players with experience points, which in turn open up new parts of the story in a randomly generated ocean. And, with 500 species on offer, Endless Ocean is swollen with more fish than a Catholic’s guts on Friday.

On top of Harry Ramsden favourites like cod and whiting, ancient ruins play home to rarities like pickled museum favourite, the Coelacanth, while legendary characters return from past games, such as scarred shark Thanatos and the white whale Ancient Mother.

The headline this time around is the ability to take massive shared dives with up to 30 others, and it’s refreshing to enjoy an online game where you aren’t shooting your fellow player in the face. Instead, you’ll tag items for others to pick up, communicate through emoji and work together to complete scanning tasks. Call of Duty this ain’t.

Endless Ocean: Luminous
What will you find in Davy Jones's locker?

While its relaxing rummage through Davy Jones’s locker is all about the vibes, Endless Ocean may be a little too comatose for hardened joystick junkies, who’ll find its great blue yonder as dull as dishwater.

Occasionally wonky navigation and some fuzzy textures don’t do the Switch any favours, while its marque feature of 30-strong multiplayer is anathema to the franchise’s solo escapism.

A sub-aquatic sandbox that jaded gamers shouldn’t let slip through the net, Endless Ocean’s scuba snack is like digital Prozac - perfect for soothing the chemically-addled brains of 90s ravers, who are, of course, well versed in “big fish, little fish, cardboard box”.

Endless Ocean: Luminous