Drowning is about depression and tells its story from the perspective of a young man who struggles with it. Unlike many other games that deal with this subject, Drowning tells its story in a fairly unique way. Turning the life-altering mental health problem into something identifiable as it slowly reveals the extent of the main characters issues.
Is it clever? Yes. Is it thought provoking? Yes. Is it a good game? No.
It’s something you often don’t want to say when you consider the subject matter is a worthy one but simply put, Drowning is barely a game.
It’s a the epitome of a walking simulator at its most basic. There is no interactivity (or any that I could find). You simply walk your character slowly through colourful forests and fields while text appears on screen while mellow and memorable music plays. It’s supposed to be like diaries entries and it comes across that way but goodness is it boring.
All you do is push forward and it is mind numbing. To the point where you might find yourself zoning out completely from what is being said. A real shame but breaking sentences up into tiny fragments just doesn’t work for engagement.
You’ll be desperately trying to speed the character up and while there is a run option, it’s barely any quicker then the walk.
It’s a bad walking simulator and a even worse game that doesn’t even have eye-catching visuals to fall back on. Does it look nice? Absolutely but it’s not mind blowing. If it wasn’t for its narrative and short length, I’d be saying avoid this completely but…and it’s a big but…I like the story told.
Turning depression into a figure that haunts this boy and seeing it destroy him only for acceptance to finally offer some light at the end of the tunnel was enlightening. It’s near impossible to relate to someone who suffers with the disease but experiences like Drowning offer insights and that is to be commended.