Cold Abyss sends you into the gloomy depths of an unspecified ocean but don’t worry, you’ll be absolutely fine. This is just a nice, relaxing fix-em-up, not a thing to worry about at all. It’s not like a game would ever lie to you, right?
With a name like Cold Abyss, you might be expecting this short, free PSX-style game to deliver a dose of underwater horror. But, according to developer Studio Notes, it’s just “a relaxing and atmospheric exploration game where you repair internet cables on the bottom of the ocean”. Think Subnautica meets PowerWash Simulator, if you will.
If you were wandering around someone’s sunlit backyard, restoring their precious meme pipes, that’d be fine. You’d take this game, and its developer, at face value. But we’re almost programmed to mistrust the depths and Cold Abyss absolutely plays on that.
Despite the dev’s words, everything about this game is designed to seed unease. There’s your supervisor who talks to you about how the last deep diver didn’t come back. At least they do until you get too deep to talk to them.
Then there’s the wonderfully twisted mechanic reminiscent of the original Doom 3, where you can only hold one tool at any time. Why is that unusual? Because your torch counts as a tool. Want to discover where the next pipe is? You’re going to have to wave goodbye to your primary light source.
And don’t forget about the ‘cables fixed’ tally, beginning at one out of ten. Ever wonder if Slenderman owns a wetsuit? You could be about to find out. Still, they’re just cables.. slimy.. but, surely just cables.
It’s a brilliantly wicked piece of game design and the PSX-style graphics are just the icing on the cake. One the one hand, Studio Notes is asking you to trust it while giving you reason after reason to be on edge.
You can download Cold Abyss from Itch.io here. It’s free but you’re encouraged to pay whatever you think the game is worth. And if you’re wondering whether something does lunge out of the inky darkness at you… well, that would be telling.
If you’re a fan of sims, here are the best simulation games on PC. And if you feel like jumping further into the depths of another ominous underwater game, here are the best Subnautica mods to spice up your experience.