It’s something that millions of people have to face every day. And, more often than not, they do so in silence. There’s a stigma attached, that stifles progress and prevents some people from ever getting the help they desperately need.

What I’m talking about, is mental health. It’s a difficult, and uncomfortable, topic to have to discuss. However, it’s crucial that we continue to have those uncomfortable conversations. We need to continue to shine a light on a subject, most would rather leave in the dark.

Being someone who personally deals with multiple diagnosis, I understand how difficult it can be to bring up such sensitive subjects. Luckily, there are tools available, that can help break the ice, opening up those lines of communication. One of those tools just happens to be videogames.

There are indie game developers (and publishers) who recognize the need that exists and have stepped up to create narrative-driven experiences that can spark conversation, progress and hopefully, change.

One such company is Sometimes You, publishers of Drowning, a walking simulator that deals with the subject of depression in an open, honest, and refreshing way.

https://youtu.be/32PkZsBGgQg
Drowning Official Trailer

Short, Intense, and To The Point

Drowning is the story of a young boy, who discovers he’s dealing with depression as he enters his 8th year of school. You experience everything through a first-person perspective, as you take a casual stroll through the game’s polygonal world.

Admittedly, Drowning is a short story. You can complete the game in one sitting. I finished it in about an hour. This game isn’t supposed to provide twenty hours of gameplay, or endless replayability. It’s trying to convey a very serious, and important, message. And it does so perfectly.

During my short time with Drowning, the game’s inner-dialogue had me in tears a few times. The way the character’s thoughts and emotions resonated with me, really hit home.

For those of you who are fortunate enough to have never felt the burden of depression, Drowning will give you some amazing insight into the mind of someone who does. The developer has managed to show, through simple text, the thought process of someone who suffers from depression in a simple, yet deep, and very clear way.

Subtle & Effective Aesthetics

The graphics in Drowning are made up entirely of polygons. The color palette is subtle and effective. The only technical issue I came across was graphical pop-in that would occur in the background.

Accompanied by subtle ambient sounds, the music in Drowning, like the art-style, is relaxing and atmospheric. It fits in perfectly with what the developer was trying to accomplish. Neither the art, or the music, distracts you from the message the game is trying to get across. In my opinion, it actually adds to the experience.

Conclusion

Drowning is a title that, in my honest opinion, should be purchased by every single person who owns a Switch. It’s message will help anyone who suffers from depression. Even more importantly, Drowning perfectly conveys the thought processes of those of us who deal with this, sometimes chronic, disease.

At $2.99 USD on the eShop, there’s no excuse not to have it in your Switch library. You’ll be helping us make progress in the effort to grow awareness of serious mental health issues. And you may just help someone suffering, by showing them the game. I know you’ll definitely learn something from this experience…

10/10 Narrative-Driven, Mental Health Must-Have

A Message Too Important to Miss!!

Pros

  • Tells an Important Story of Depression
  • Relaxing, and subtle, Atmosphere
  • Can be used as an Educational Tool

Cons

  • Hard to find any fault with a “game” of this variety
  • Graphical Pop-In (happy? There’s a negative!)

chrisunseen

I'm a mature gamer. (46!!) I'm opinionated and stubborn. I can be sarcastic as hell, but I'm pretty laid back. And I love Nintendo more than any forty-something should. I'm also the Editor-in-chief of The Nintendo Nomad. Hit me up anywhere you can find me on social media, if you feel like talking about anything.

2 Comments

  • Mr. Panda · January 30, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    This was so heartfelt, and I love it! Awesome review!

      chrisunseen · January 30, 2019 at 12:31 pm

      Mr Panda, thanks so much for your comments! Means a lot to me, coming from you! Truly appreciate it!

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