The 25 Best Underwater Games (2024)

Highlights

  • There are lots of underwater games you can play, with some being relaxing, while others have horrifying creatures lurking beneath the waters.
  • Abzu and Subnautica are some of the best games set underwater.

Underwater games can be both calming and surprising – whether it's relaxing and swimming with pretty fish, or facing untold terrors in the dark depths. There is an abundance of video games that briefly have underwater segments, but only a handful that take place entirely underwater.

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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. Here are the absolute best games set below the waves.

Updated on July 7, 2024, by Caden Rogers: Not every underwater adventure worth playing is still afloat on modern hardware today. Sometimes, the best games are the ones lingering just beneath the surface of notoriety, and so, like Dave himself, we dove once more into video game history in search of hidden undersea gems, and having found exactly the kind of buried treasure we were looking for, we present our updated selection of underwater gaming's best catches.

25 Surviving The Abyss

An Underwater Survival Game With A Dark Twist

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An underwater city-builder game that's in early access on Steam is Surviving the Abyss, but here you'll actually be building a secret scientific facility to conduct experiments on cloning. It's also amidst the Cold War era of 1976 and has an incredibly spooky deep ocean atmosphere. Think Soma, but you're the one constructing Pathos-II, called the Overseer.

As in the name, base management and crew survival is a big part of the game. You'll need to be in charge of ensuring there's enough food, oxygen, fuel, and power for the facility. Because if the lights go out, and you're in total darkness, there's potentially something out there in the water looking to cause some trouble.

24 Depth

For Multiplayer Fans

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Depth is a first-person shooter asymmetrical multiplayer game reminiscent of Dead by Daylight, if the latter was always underwater and the killer was the iconic shark from Jaws. In this one, you can either be a part of a team of divers hunting for treasure in the ocean depths or the hungry sharks looking for a feast.

The game offers a selection of game modes and seven different shark species, including a Great White, Tiger, Hammerhead shark, and the colossal Megalodon. In one such mode, your treasure extraction tool S.T.E.V.E. needs to safely get to the surface before the sharks can do anything about it. And you will die trying — a lot.

23 Maneater

Finally, We Can Play As Jaws

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Maneater comes from the developers of Killing Floor, and it's the nostalgia of the early 2010s mobile games like Hungry Shark and Hungry Shark Evolution on a much larger RPG open ocean scale. The game features several quests tied to different underwater locations and a main narrative of a shark's revenge for a hunter who killed its family.

Playing as a bull shark, you'll swim and eat a diet of other smaller aquatic life and human prey hunting you on boats in order to level up and grow, sometimes needing to bring the fight above the surface. The story is told through cutscenes and narration from actor Chris Parnell, who plays Cyril Figgis in Archer and Jerry Smith in Rick and Morty.

22 Ikachan

An Undersea Cave Story

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Developed by one of the early indie scene's most prolific creators, Ikachan is the game for all you Cave Story fans out there looking for an experience that recaptures some of the charm of Pixel's biggest game.

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With a refreshingly unique control scheme, getting the adorable titular squid to move exactly how you'd like them to is tough at first, but by the end of this epic undersea quest, you'll find swimming comes as naturally as breathing. While the best version of the game was unfortunately lost when the 3DS eShop closed down for good, you can still legally find the game on PC in its original form. Swim on, Ikachan!

21 Beyond Blue

The Majesty Of The Open Sea

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If you're looking for a less hectic and fully immersive experience within the deep blue sea, look no further than Beyond Blue. It's a game solely about exploring and documenting ocean life and one of the most stunning and realistic underwater adventures you'll see. And it's also made by the same developers of Never Alone.

There is a bit of narrative going along with it, where you also have branching choices in your responses, but the primary loop is to dive, swim, and scan new marine animals. And you even have photo mode to capture some beautiful moments of these lifelike creatures in action.

20 Dave The Diver

The Everything Game, With Extra Everything

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It doesn't get more wondrous than Dave the Diver in terms of underwater exploration. Available at long last in its full glory on PC and Switch, this game is part sushi restaurant simulator, part roguelike diving game, part farming sim, part visual novel, and part racing game, among other things.

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Armed with a harpoon gun and other weapons, Dave is sent out on diving missions to bring back catches of the day and transform the fish into delectable sushi plates. There also lurk some more giant and frightening creatures in these depths, which you must try to steer clear of.

19 We Need To Go Deeper

Multiplayer Fun With Charming Visuals

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Those looking for an underwater game to play with friends should look no further than We Need To Go Deeper. The art style in this game is endearing, and the gameplay is explorative and fun.

This roguelike supports two to four players (human or bot) and features Jules Verne-inspired aesthetics and technology. In the game, you 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.

18 Depth Hunter 2: Deep Dive

Time To Delve Deeper

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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. You can, however, swim around levels without hunting fish and still find enjoyment.

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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.

17 Song Of The Deep

A Different Kind Of Song Of The Sea

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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 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. 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.

16 Aquaria

Live Out Your Mermaid Fantasies

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In Aquaria, you 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.

15 Barotrauma

Among Us Style Underwater Action

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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, you can explore the 2D ship that's totally customizable and requires a crew to operate and maintain it. With it, you can explore the depths of Europa and encounter many terrible beasts 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 two and 16 players on a ship. Take a break from Among Us and try this game.

14 Flow

Go With The - Well, You Know

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This basic flash game was only available on 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, you 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.

13 Koral

Great Visuals And Atmospheric Level Design

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

This is one game that acknowledges the real-world threat Earth's oceans face and focuses not just on exploration but rebuilding. For a deeper look into the game, there's also a making of video available on YouTube which we highly recommend.

12 Ecco The Dolphin

Sega's Undersea Classic

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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 you use echolocation to achieve objectives. With a soundtrack that can be both dramatic and upbeat, Ecco the Dolphin is a joy to play.

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

11 BioShock 2

Play As The Big Daddy

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In the first sequel to the BioShock series, BioShock 2 has a different approach to the city of Rapture. You 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.

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.

10 Spongebob Squarepants: Battle For Bikini Bottom Rehydrated

The Fan Favorite Classic, Reborn In HD

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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.

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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.

9 Soma

Mind Melting Terror

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Soma is no walk in the park. Unlike most other games on this list, Soma is not relaxing. In this one, you will fear for your 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.

Those of you who live for the surreal, otherworldly horror vibe of titles like Dead Space will likely appreciate Soma, too. There is also a "Safe Mode" to make the game more accessible for players with less robust horror thresholds.

8 Abzu

Explore The Beauty Of The Ocean

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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.

Abzu is pretty linear, but the beautiful dynamic environments keep Abzu interesting. If you 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.

7 Subnautica

The King Of Underwater Survival Games

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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, you 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.

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

6 BioShock

Would You Kindly?

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The original BioShock is definitely one of the best underwater games out there. Although the sequel to BioShock is also set underwater, it didn't have as intriguing a story as the first, and the controls could be clunky at times.

In BioShock, the player assumes the role of an unassuming everyman named Jack. 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.

The 25 Best Underwater Games (2024)
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