The indie gaming landscape is undergoing a renaissance, with a particularly vibrant resurgence of the PS1 era’s charm. Among the titles that are making waves is “Endless Blue,” by mrdiv a ’90’s inspired sci-fi horror game that transports you to a mysterious underwater research facility.
What’s beyond the Endless Blue
Capturing the imagination with classic survival horror adventure elements, this game not only acts as a faithful recreation the gameplay of the ’90s and even encapsulate the distinct aesthetic of the horror themes and tropes of that time.
In Endless Blue, you’ll play as a REINA, who totally isn’t meant to resemble any other notable survival-based horror protagonists. It has mutated zombie-like creatures, robots, and you can even swim underwater. These are clearly all inspired by Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid and the BioShock. As you wander around the facility, you can peek out and see the ocean and fish swimming by in between exploding heads with your limited bullets, and there are plenty of psychological and wild cutscenes with mind-bending mystery aspects that are inspired by Silent Hill. Oh, and yes, there most certainly are creepy mannequins that have tentacles burst out of them.
An extended gameplay demo
The was initially created for the Haunted PS1’s Summer of Shivers Game Jam. However, what started as a project for a small gaming event has evolved significantly, and the dev’s passion for the genre is evident. A new update just dropped last week that includes an extended demo. It gives you new levels to navigate, enemies to confront and puzzles to solve. The narrative depth is enriched with added cutscenes too, and even those are created in the PS1 style with their highly specific cinematography. For anyone who played the initial demo, the inventory system has also been fixed up through a handful of quality of life changes, bug fixes, and a general polish.
A word of caution before you ‘dive in’, so to speak. While Endless Blue does feature checkpoints to mark your progress, it lacks a save game feature. This means progress will be lost upon exiting the game. But, if you choose ‘Load Game’, from the main menu, you’ll find yourself at the halfway point of the 45 minute demo. At this time, there’s no mention of whether or not the game will get a proper save system, but I’m hopeful.
Lessons for indie devs
Lastly, I want to mention that mrdiv posted a post mortem for Endless Blue on itch.io that you can read. It goes over the highs and lows of getting YouTube streamers to play the game, dealing with bugs in the demo, releasing at the same time as larger, similar franchises (like the RE4 DLC) and more. If you’re in indie dev looking to market your game, it’s definitely worth a read!
This game stands as a testament to the enduring allure of ’90s gaming, even though millennials like myself who lived it are now getting a bit older. By blending the atmospheric sci-fi horror aesthetic with modern graphics tech, it achieves something truly special. I’m excited to see what the full game will look like when done, and also how other indie devs come onto this scene. You can play Endless Blue over on itch.io right now, and while you can ‘Name your own price’, I encourage you to shell out a few bucks to support mrdiv!