Summer is known for its warm weather, vacationing, and beach time fun, but maybe something is preventing you from enjoying everything this joyous season brings with it. Whether you’re stuck because there’s still a global pandemic going on, because you live in an area without those Summer staples, or just because you may not be a fan of hot weather; have no fear, because you can still enjoy all that Summer has to offer directly from your own living room thanks to the power of video games! 

This article series will highlight new games throughout the Summer that have some kind of nautical theme so you don’t have to feel left out. Whether those games involve traversing tropical islands, swimming with and studying ocean life, or even being a shark!

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Part 1: Beyond Blue

The first game we’ll highlight in this series is Beyond Blue, an ocean exploration game developed and published by E-Line Media. Beyond Blue was primarily inspired by and even features content from the Blue Planet II docuseries, having been developed in conjunction with the BBC, and is a great pick if you enjoyed games like Endless Ocean or Abzu. CEO and Creative Director of E-Line Media, Michael Angst,  stated: “Working directly with some of the world’s leading ocean researchers was truly inspiring. We found their passion for the ocean’s beauty and complexity infectious and their observations about how rapidly it is changing sobering. We tried to craft an experience that immerses players in the beauty of the ocean and channel their scientific insights into a story that is hopefully accessible for anyone who wants to peer deeper into our planets beating blue heart.” So those skeptical need not worry about scientific accuracy.

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In Beyond Blue, you play as Mirai, a diver helping some other marine biologists with their underwater research by encountering sea life herself and using advanced technology to study it more efficiently. While there are a variety of different creatures you can see and learn about, Beyond Blue primarily deals with studying different types of whales and dolphins as well as the changes in the ecosystem around them, and attempting to solve the problems that are detected.

Beyond Blue is relatively simple and very short (with an average playtime of about 90 minutes if you want to play it all in one sitting), and unfortunately doesn’t have the visual fidelity that documentaries do, but instead, it provides a level of interactivity that those documentaries can’t. There is one particularly frustrating section where you don’t have a waypoint reference or a map, but besides that section, everything else in the game is a breeze, which helps make the game more relaxing in a similar way to the games that inspired it.

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Between dives, Mirai takes breaks in a high tech submarine where she can learn more about the lifeforms she’s encountered, call other characters to progress the story along and unlock the next dive, and even listen to an in-game selection of relaxing music from various artists. The music can also be paused or completely muted, so players can choose to do so if none of the music fits their tastes.

In addition to the game itself, Beyond Blue also features a series of videos called Ocean Insights, which highlights different topics regarding ocean life featured in the game. This is useful for those who’d like to learn even more about the ocean and its environment but aren’t sure where else to start.

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Overall, Beyond Blue is a short but worthwhile experience for anyone interested in the ocean or just those hoping to get educated so they can learn how to help the environment in general. It may not be the visually impressive or lengthy experience that it could be, but the educational information and experience it provides definitely helps make it worthwhile.

Beyond Blue is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Apple Arcade. Watch the trailer below, and if you’d like to get involved and learn more about how you can help our oceans make sure to support the organizations featured here.

A code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this article.

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Erroll Maas
Erroll is a writer with an enthusiastic love of Japanese monsters and the games which feature them, from Pokemon to Power Rangers to Pacific Rim and everything in between. You can learn more about this and plenty of other games and nerdy things by following @errollm

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