When one thinks of underwater cities, Subaeria is undoubtedly not one of them, but in Studios iLLOGIKA’s action puzzler, the knowledge that you are underneath the ocean plays second fiddle to the unfortunate fact that you are being hunted by dozens of murderous robots. Does the main character Styx have what it takes to make he way through this sub nautical maze to enact her revenge against the evil totalitarian overlord? This is our Subaeria Review.
Politicization or Global Warming aside, in Subaeria, humans are forced under the sea after the glaciers melted and the last above water city flooded in a disastrous Atlantean event. Humans populated the depths of the oceans in the city of Subaeria, run by a dictator known as President Dorf whom not only keeps people in line with murderous robots, but also threatens to kill them and their entire family if they break the law. The main protagonist, Styx, is a girl whose parents have been killed, and the robots are now after her. She, or you, rather, have your own plan to enact revenge by fighting your way through the slums, hopefully avenging your parents at the end.
Gameplay wise, you’re looking at a rogue-like action puzzler, that is very heavy on the action part of action-puzzler. The gameplay, while somewhat simplistic, requires some fast reaction times, such as when one of the murderbots, known as cleaners, detects you and comes a-saw-blading your way at breakneck speeds. You don’t have any weapons to defeat these cleaners aside from a handy drone that you can install apps on, none of which are really offensively capable, but the cleaners, which come in three different colors, have the ability to defeat each other. That is the prime puzzle piece you need to make your way through the levels. Blue cleaners can kill yellow cleaners, yellow cleaners kill blue cleaners, and grey cleaners kill pretty much everything.
In order to move forward, most areas require that you simply trick one cleaner into killing the other, with grey cleaners being invulnerable, and only deactivating when the room is clear of the colored cleaners. There are also laser walls which you can jump over, but again, blue laser walls kill yellow cleaners and the vice versa is also true. The Apps your drone can pick up can aid you in several ways, such as freezing the cleaners, or pushing the cleaners away from you. You can also pick up boosts that will increase the effectiveness of your apps. While some apps were helpful, you have to pay attention to your drone’s location and move It with either the mouse, or the right thumbstick if you use a controller. As you progress through the levels you end up facing large and dangerous bosses that will test your resolve, and maybe a little of your patience as you learn how to defeat them. Every death starts you at the beginning to try again, like a sub nautical Groundhog Day.
Upon restarting the game, you may also notice that the levels have changed. Thus far, every new game I’ve started has been different than the ones before it, meaning that, for the most part, you’re looking at a new challenge with every game, save for the bosses which stay the same. Successfully making your way through the levels will also unlock new character skins like Antonio and Arezou, as well as new endings.
NOTE: Our review copy was given to us by PR for PC.