Back in September of 2019 developer Spare Parts Oasis and publisher Armor Games Studio released one of the more unique games I’ve seen in quite some time, a game called Nauticrawl: 20,000 Atmospheres. The premise is that you’re essentially trapped in this giant metal vehicle, called a Nauticrawl, and you’re desperate to escape in a life-or-death situation. This hunk of metal is your ticket to freedom, except… you have NO idea how to operate it. Cue all manner of crazy control panels, dials, levers, and switches that you’ll need to figure out through major trial and error if you’re going to get out of this situation alive.
It’s a bit of an escape room-style game, but there’s also a heavy narrative element that is drip-fed to you through your many attempts at getting the Nauticrawl moving. Oh, did I say many attempts? Because what I meant was SOFREAKINGMANYATTEMPTSOHMYGOSH. This game is brutally hard by design. However, it actually has the soul of a roguelike, as although you’ll die many, many, many times you’ll hopefully learn a little something along the way and will be more prepared and ready to get just that wee bit further the next time you try.
And while it might not seem like it on the surface, Nauticrawl is also very dungeon crawler-like, as while your main goal is continuously figuring out how to operate the Nauticrawl itself via its numerous control panels, you’re also moving around a map, dealing with enemies, and collecting items that you’ll have to decide how best to use in various situations. That’s right, I’m saying it: Nauticrawl is a roguelike dungeon crawler. Albeit in a VERY different form from what we’re used to. Come at me pedants of the usage of roguelike.
Whatever way you slice it, it’s a very interesting premise and the game has been very well-received over on PC. For its second birthday it’ll be making its way to iOS devices where I think the whole “cockpit simulator” thing will play out beautifully on the touchscreen. This is a 1:1 port of that PC version, so in case you didn’t heed my previous warning, this game is hard. However, if you’re the type that enjoys chewing on something over and over and gleaning just a bit more knowledge and skill with each successive playthrough, Nauticrawl might be right up your alley. It’ll be launching on iOS September 23rd for just five bucks.