I have a healthy fear of the ocean. I saw a guy tear open his leg on coral when I was a kid and realised everything out there, even the non-threatening stuff, wanted to kill me. The ocean seems no safer in Aquanox Deep Descent, but at least you get to fight back in your heavily-armed ship.
THQ Nordic first showed off a tech demo for Aquanox six years ago, followed by a successful Kickstarter a year later, and after a long wait—even longer if you’ve been waiting since the last game, which came out in 2002—it’s coming next month, on October 16.
It’s got a lot in common with space shooters, plonking you in a cockpit and letting you get dizzy in frantic 3D battles, but underwater there are more opportunities for elaborate level design. Instead of the vast emptiness of space, there’s terrain, wrecks and claustrophobic trenches, and ever since humanity fled the uninhabitable surface, it’s become quite a bit busier.
You can bring three underwater buds with you to keep you company as you float around in the dark, and if you’re playing solo, those characters will all just hang out inside your ship. If someone wants to hop in, they’ll take over one of your crew and get their own ship.
Those ships are customisable, too, and there’s loot and salvage hiding out in the ocean waiting to be stuck onto your vessel. If you just want to get right to the action and blow up some ships, you can duke it out in PvP modes like deathmatch and team deathmatch.
I never played the original Aquanox or its sequel, so I’m not getting any pangs of nostalgia, but I never turn down the opportunity to jump into a virtual cockpit and start blowing shit up. Since the release date trailer doesn’t have any of that, here’s some multiplayer combat footage to give you a taste of what’s coming next month.