Hidden Deep is an explorative platforming game. You play as a soldier sent deep underground to investigate what has happened to a research facility after communications were cut off under mysterious circumstances.
The game plays like a 2D side scrolling platformer but with a significant amount of mechanical depth to the game play. There are a lot of tools at your disposal that you can use to make navigating the dangerous labyrinth of the facility much easier.
The grappling hook is the main tool in your arsenal to help navigate your way through the levels to your objective. It can be used to climb up or down passageways as well as shot across gaps and then secured to enable it to be used as a zip line. You also have terrain scanners to probe beneath the surface for openings so you can blast you way to any potential passageways underneath you.
Navigating the level safely isn’t the only obstacle in the game. Mutant creatures will attack you if you come near them. Even the smallest creature can present a viable threat because you are pretty vulnerable while hooked to the grapple line. Aiming is harder and you are unable to reload your weapon. This means that it would be unwise to just grapple down anywhere willy nilly without doing some scouting first.
The game gives you some tools to work around this. You have some scanner drones available. These are remotely controlled drones that can survey the path ahead of you as well as zap any nearby mutant creatures. You have a limited amount so you need to use them wisely. You can also shoot surfaces to make noise and draw out any mutants lurking in the shadows.
The game does throw more challenges at you as you get into later levels. One such challenge is a tentacle like creature that is hiding in the ceiling. As soon as you come near, it’ll emerge and grab you, instantly killing you in the process. You have to keep an eye out for it as it definitely took me by surprise and killed me more than once when I was just running around carelessly.
The game also adds in more neat mechanics as well in the later levels. You have levels were you need to control multiple characters and have them do different things such as pilot a crane in order to lower a drilling vehicle to a passageway which then is used to drill an opening so you can progress to the objective.
The game has a dark and slightly unnerving feel, with unseen threats lurking around every corner. As for the game play, it’s pretty darn fun when you get to see how all the different mechanics come together. It’s definitely challenging and you’ll die a few times but the game is very generous and just respawns you right away with your progress saved so you can continue right away.
Overall, Hidden Deep is a surprisingly deep game with a lot of interesting and varied mechanics introduced every level. There’s a lot going on under the surface of the game, both in terms of the narrative as well as the mechanical depth.