Sublime – Tachyon Reef 3D

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While it’s all very well and good to celebrate the return of the space dogfighter, there’s a quiet renaissance bubbling beneath the surface. We’ll leave the punning there, because I wouldn’t want to, ahem, dilute the resurgence of the submarine experience. With Digital Arrow’s Aquanox: Deep Descent, Unknown Worlds’ Subnautica and now, Tachyon Reef 3D, one can look forward to reliving the glory days of SeaQuest DSV in high definition.

I recently took the tech demo of Tachyon Reef 3D for a sonar-pinged spin and found, even in this super early state, I very much like where this project is heading. Touting a delightful flat-shaded aesthetic, the aquatic world within Tachyon Reef sits beyond an enigmatic offworld portal and has players churning about, identifying xeno-biological sea creatures. There’s also an engaging manipulator arm subsystem that, while simple, could offer untold gameplay opportunities down the line. Players can upgrade their craft, predicated on accrued exploration and discovery credits. Early days, but rather beguiling.

It’s a ruminative experience, as earnest Costeau pretenders should expect. Thrumming down into darkened canyons, fish flitting through the floodlight of the sub, there’s something to be said about the condensed ambiance of the deep. While Chris Roberts and co. might be bringing back the flyboy pomp of space opera, I’m happy to see these descendants of Archimedean Dynasty and other sub-themed games still exist and continue to be made. Unlike the hard vacuum of space, there’s so much that be achieved, rendered and experienced within the dimensions afforded by a submerged wonderland.

Tachyon Reef 3D is a mere fiver on everyone’s favourite indie store, itch.io. You could also give the game a mighty thumbs up on Steam Greenlight. It’s one of the very few games where sinking below the waves means success.