The 15 Best Underwater Games, Ranked

Exploring the depths of an ocean can either be relaxing, terrifying, or a little bit of both. Here are the best games that are set underwater.

Underwater games can be both calming and surprising. There is an abundance of video games that take players underwater, but there’s only a handful that are entirely based underwater. If there’s one thing the video game industry needs, it is more underwater titles. Past titles have felt disappointing, with clunky controls, save a select few that showcased refined marine mechanics.

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Ranked from worst to best, the following are some of the top underwater games. Artwork and encouraged exploration make the gameplay of these games stick out. Being able to scuba dive, be a mermaid, build underwater bases, and uncover sunken wrecks are just some of the reasons to play the games below.

Updated on September 10, 2021, by Sam Reaves: As next-generation systems increase the capability and scope of gaming, our ability to explore worlds above and beneath the sea will continue to expand. While underwater levels are usually looked upon with disdain, these games have committed to reversing the narrative through their undersea adventures. The sea can be calming and serene place, but can also be filled with frights, delights, and…golden spatulas?

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15

Song of the Deep submarine-song-of-the-deep

  • Release Year: 2016

  • Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

This game has two things going for it that will entice long-time game fans: it’s designed with a decidedly Metroidvania style and it comes from Ratchet & Clank creators. Song of the Deep was released in 2016 and follows a young girl as she tries to find her dad.

Along with that mystery, she uncovers mysteries of the deep, too. The backgrounds are lush and detailed and the gameplay is challenging, non-linear, and engaging. Just what fans of a Metroidvania-style game would expect. Players can even equip a submarine with 15 or more abilities and 30 upgrades in order to unlock new areas.

14

We Need To Go Deeper we-need-to-go-deeper-submarine

  • Release Year: 2019

  • Platforms: PC

People looking for an underwater game to play with friends should look no further than We Need to go Deeper. The art style is endearing and the gameplay is explorative and fun.

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This roguelike supports 2 – 4 players (human or bot) and features Jules Verne-inspired aesthetics and technology. Players must maintain the submarine’s systems, battle sea monsters, and loot across randomized biomes, as well as engage in on-foot adventures. The game also features a dynamic difficulty system for added diversity in gameplay.

13

Depth Hunter 2: Deep Dive depth-hunter-2-deep-dive-underwater

  • Release Year: 2014

  • Platforms: PC

Exploring underwater wrecks like planes makes the atmosphere of Depth Hunter 2: Deep Dive lively. The objective of the game is to hunt underwater marine life. Players can, however, swim around levels without hunting fish and still find enjoyment.

Exploration is encouraged in Depth Hunter 2: Deep Dive. With a currency system and plenty of underwater tasks to fulfill, it’s no wonder why Depth Hunter 2: Deep Dive is considered one of the greatest underwater games. The atmosphere alone makes the game worth playing.

12

Aquaria aquaria-submarine travel

  • Release Year: 2007

  • Platforms: PC

In Aquaria, people play as Naija, a mermaid-like creature who swims, sings, and engages in combat. Aquaria can be both relaxing and frustrating at times. This indie game is recommended for people of all ages. Aquaria may remind people of games like Ecco the Dolphin and Rayman Legends.

In Aquaria, it is possible to ride on the back of seahorses for a boost in speed. This side-scrolling adventure takes place entirely underwater. Although not the strongest entry here, Aquaria provides hours of underwater enjoyment.

11

Barotrauma barotrauma-submarine

  • Release Year: 2019

  • Platforms: PC

Barotrauma stands out among other underwater games. The game also features survival horror and sci-fi elements to set it apart from an average submarine manager. The game’s steam page carries the warning: “Help your crew succeed, or make sure no one does.”

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With that in mind, players can explore the 2D ship that’s totally customizable and requires a crew to operate and maintain it. With it, players can explore the depths of Europa and encounter many terrible beasties on the way. But communication stands at the forefront of this game. Each procedurally generated map has missions with multiple modes and the game allows for between 2 and 16 players on a ship. Take a break from Among Us and try this early access game.

10

Flow flow-organism underwater

  • Release Year: 2006

  • Platforms: Browser, PSP, PSP Vita, PS3, PS4

This basic flash game was only available to PC until it was ported to the PlayStation 3. Years later, Flow was released for the PlayStation 4 with an improvement in graphics. Flow is a casual video game that has seven chapters in total.

Swimming through water, players can ingest other aquatic organisms. Thatgamecompany developed Flow. The company is also responsible for the games Journey and Flower. Flow will only take about two hours to complete, so make every second count.

9

Endless Ocean 2: Adventures Of The Deep endless-ocean-2-start menu

  • Release Year: 2009

  • Platforms: Nintendo Wii

Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep is an adventure game that revolves around scuba diving. Players can see the underwater world in a whole new light. Just be sure to check oxygen levels frequently, or it’ll be down to Davy Jones’ Locker with ye!

It could be challenging for players to get their hands on a copy of this game. It was only released for the Nintendo Wii. Still, exploring ruins and achieving underwater objectives is a surreal thrill in Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep.

8

Koral koral-start menu

  • Release Year: 2019

  • Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch

Described as a “love letter to the ocean”, Koral shares the same kind of ambiance as Abzu. Players can explore the ocean depths with their beautiful colors and organisms. But they can also solve puzzles in order to revive coral reefs. Oh, and one dude created the whole game: Carlos Coronado.

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This is one game that acknowledges the real-world threat Earth’s oceans face and focuses not just on exploration but rebuilding. It was released in 2019 for the Nintendo Switch and people can watch the making of Koral on YouTube right now.

7

Ecco The Dolphin ecco-the-dolphin dolphins jumping out of water

  • Release Year: 1992

  • Platforms: SEGA Genesis, PC

Like many games of Ecco the Dolphin’s era, it has a high level of difficulty. Completing the first level is easy, but after that, the game gets more challenging. Ecco is exposed to harsh underwater environments, as players use echolocation to achieve objectives. With a soundtrack that can be both dramatic and upbeat, Ecco the Dolphin is a joy to play.

While people can pick up Ecco the Dolphin via Steam, the Sega Genesis Mini comes as the preferred way to experience the game. The retro console includes 40 Sega Genesis games including Ecco the Dolphin.

6

BioShock 2 bioshock-2-big-daddy looking through window

  • Release Year: 2010

  • Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Xbox One (Remastered), PS4 (Remastered)

In the first sequel to the BioShock series, BioShock 2 has a different approach to the city of Rapture. Players play as a Big Daddy, a human being who has had its body grafted into a heavy suit of armor, equipped with an enormous drill and other weapons.

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BioShock 2 may not be the best in the series, yet the game is still one of the best underwater games of all time. It goes to show how high the standards are for the BioShock series. Despite some negative feedback from critics and the community, many enjoy the style of play regardless.

5

Spongebob Squarepants: Battle For Bikini Bottom Rehydrated Spongebob-Battle-for-Bikini-Bottom-Rehydrated spongebob in front of his house

  • Release Year: 2020

  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch

The original Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom made a splash over a decade ago, bringing with it surprisingly clean and fun platforming. It had grown to be a community favorite that fans were desperate to play on current consoles. THQ Nordic appeased the crowds with a faithful remake of the beloved game. This Sponge has been rehydrated.

This platforming collectathon sees Spongebob take on Plankton and his robot army while teaming up with friends to gather dirty socks, golden spatulas, and shiny objects. Make your way through Bikini Bottom, Jellyfish Fields, Goo Lagoon, and other favorite spots from the show to take the fight to Plankton in this bright and colorful under the sea adventure.

4

SOMA soma-game-underwater abandoned ruin

  • Release Year: 2015

  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4

SOMA is no walk in the park. Unlike most other games on this list, SOMA is not relaxing. In this one, players will fear for their life, which means that SOMA accomplishes its purpose of being a survival-horror game. The base game is chock-full of suspenseful moments and jump scares.

Players who live for the surreal, otherworldly horror vibe of titles like Dead Space will likely appreciate SOMA, too. But there is now a “Safe Mode” to make the game more accessible for players with less robust horror thresholds.

3

Abzu abzu-float-underwater diver looking through reef

  • Release Year: 2016

  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Luna

From the makers of Journey, Abzu is one of the best underwater games that any fan of water and/or exploration games must play. From a difficulty standpoint, Abzu is not that challenging, but continuously moving with the environment makes Abzu a strange sensation.

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Abzu is pretty linear, but the beautiful dynamic environments keep Abzu interesting. If players spend time exploring environments rather than focusing on objectives, things can become far less linear. The artwork alone is reason enough to play Abzu, even if the game is short.

2

Subnautica subnautica-underwater promo art of diver

  • Release Year: 2018

  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch

For those trying to understand what Subnautica is about, think of an underwater No Man’s Sky set on a single planet. As in that title, players have to search for resources, complete objectives, and build bases. Subnautica was in a preview phase for quite some time, but now that the game is officially released, there are too many reasons to buy Subnautica.

Players can tackle that latent Thalassophobia from the comfort of their couch or computer chair. For an in-depth underwater experience and endless hours of enjoyment, Subnautica is a top choice.

1

BioShock bioshock-big-daddy and girl

  • Release Year: 2007

  • Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One (Remastered), PS4 (Remastered)

The original BioShock is hands down the best underwater game ever created. Although the sequel to BioShock is also set underwater, it didn’t have an intriguing story like the first, and the controls were clunky at times.

In BioShock, Jack is the player character and illegitimate son of Andrew Ryan. According to his passport, however, Jack’s full name is Jack Wynand. After Jack’s plane crashes near a lighthouse, he is given entry to the underwater city of Rapture where he uncovers a greater plot. BioShock has a horror element that makes this underwater game gripping right up until the very end.

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