Published on May 11th, 2024 | by Gareth Newnham

Endless Ocean Luminous Review @Nintendo

Endless Ocean Luminous Review @Nintendo Gareth Newnham

Summary: This niche nautical adventure is one you’ll either dive into for days or abandon after a few hours.


Flow state

Endless Ocean Luminous is nothing like Subnautica, and comparing the two is redundant for obvious reasons. Here ends today’s lecture on basic media literacy for dummies.

Anyway, Endless Ocean Luminous, for those at the back, is the third entry in Arika’s celebration of life under the ocean waves and the peaceful pursuit of diving into crystal clear waters and cataloging everything you find; it’s a simple, sedate game about the joys of undersea exploration and a gentle reminder of how little we know about 70% of our planet.


Players squeeze into the wetsuit of a new researcher working for the Aegis corporation. They are on an expedition to document the mysterious Veiled Sea, which is home to all manner of aquatic life and radiates with a strange blue glow.

However, this weird energy source, which the team hopes could help sustain and rejuvenate life in other regions, is under threat. The source of the power, the incredible World Coral at the centre of the region, is dying. Thus, it’s up to you to try to find the source of the rot and rejuvenate the Veiled Sea.

To do this, you swim around vast oceanic expanses, scanning any animal, vegetable, or mineral with a blue hue. The more you scan, the more points you earn for your dive, the more levels you shoot up, and the more stuff you can buy at the scuba shop, which mostly boils down to unlocking new colours and styles of diving suits, before just heading back out and doing it all over again.

Though this may sound simplistic, and well, it is, it also scratches a weird, almost meditative itch as you keep pushing on to see what new discoveries you are going to make and what massive sea creature is hiding in that cave, shipwreck or coral reef just on the horizon.

Scouring the sea floor also uncovers all manner of artifacts for you to collect, which also boosts your point score.

Each area is either randomly generated with each new dive, or you can jump back into a previously generated map using dive codes if you want to explore the whole area and push for 100% exploration. ( It also ticks up how much of the map and fish you’ve seen.)

This constant drip of rewards and discoveries creates the kind of positive feedback loop that I’m an absolute sucker for, and often what was meant to be a quick 20-minute dive turns into several hours of cataloging creatures and treasure hunting.

You can also play online with up to 30 players, all scavenging on a single map (if you hand out enough dive codes). Although the multiplayer isn’t too intrusive, with players starting in different areas and eventually bumping into each other to become dive buddies and share discoveries and reveal the map a lot faster than by yourself, I couldn’t help but feel that some of the wonder is lost when the map resembles a popular diving spot that’s been invaded by a tour group that all really wanted to go snorkeling.

Though there’s no real sense of peril in the veiled sea. You never have to worry about running out of oxygen or anything attacking you; there are still some impressive moments, mostly due to some of Endless Ocean’s mythical beasts revealed during its story mode.

It’s a quirky yet tranquil game that feels like it’s from a more experimental time ( considering it’s the first game in the series since 2009, it kind of is). Everything you find also opens an entry in your guide that includes little tid bits of information about the flora and fauna found in the area, and for fans of random fish facts, Endless Ocean has you covered and then some.

The presentation rides that fine line between realistic and painterly—almost like scientific drawings in motion. It’s a clever Aesthetic, and though it’s nowhere near photorealistic, along with some clever use of misting and colour grading, Endless Ocean does a surprisingly decent job of convincingly describing life beneath the waves.

However the rewards may not be worth it for some. Especially if you don’t care about minor cosmetic tweaks and making your diver look fabulous. Focusing on finishing Endless Ocean is to miss the point entirely. Like The Sims or Nintendo’s own Animal Crossing, the journey is the important part. Finding a new sea creature, discovering a wreck to explore, unveiling more of the map, every action feels rewarding.

Final Thoughts

Endless Ocean Luminous is one of those niche Nintendo titles that isn’t for everyone. However, for those with a fascination for the natural world who can find the right flow state, there’s a world of discovery waiting for you in the forever blue waters of the Veiled Sea

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