Still Wakes The Deep Review: A Haunting Dive into Survival Horror on an Oil Rig


Emerging from the minds behind some of the most melancholic and unsettling games of our generation, The Chinese Room presents their latest creation, Still Wakes The Deep. This time, players find themselves transported to an oil rig stationed off the Scottish coast in the bleak year of 1975. The game thrives on the dreadful ambiance, rooted in the isolation and daily dangers posed by such an unforgiving, industrial environment. But it’s not just the middle-of-nowhere dread that players must contend with; there’s something much more sinister at play – an alien-like creature whose intelligence and eeriness promise to haunt your every move.

Setting and Atmosphere

The game’s backdrop is a brilliantly executed oil rig. An environment that, on its own, feels claustrophobic and oppressive. Every creak of metal, every distant echo, and the ominous crash of waves against the rig's structure adds layers to the atmosphere. This isn’t a place designed for solace. Instead, it’s a maze of steel corridors, tight spaces, and inescapable darkness. Crucially, it captures the essence of mid-70s industrialization, a bygone era where technology was both a blessing and a risk fraught with peril.

The developers have painstakingly recreated the oil rig’s dank and dangerous ambiance. They’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that the rig’s labyrinthine layout doesn’t just serve as a backdrop but rather as a character in itself, constantly reminding players of their loneliness and vulnerability.

The Protagonist's Struggle

The Protagonist's Struggle

Central to the heart of Still Wakes The Deep is the protagonist, Caz McLeary. He isn’t some invincible hero or a battle-hardened veteran. Instead, he's an everyman – deeply human in his fears, vulnerabilities, and determination. The narrative’s richness lies in exploring his desperate struggle to survive amidst the chaos. Each step Caz takes is weighted with tension as he navigates the rig, confronts the unknown creature, and attempts to keep himself and others alive.

Character development is fundamental in making players care about the story. They become emotionally invested in Caz’s journey, understanding his motivations and feeling his fears. This isn't just another survival horror game; it’s a deeply personal story of endurance and hope in the most nightmarish circumstances.

Gameplay Mechanics

At its core, Still Wakes The Deep combines elements of survival horror with environmental puzzles and platforming mechanics. Players will find themselves often having to hide from the creature, plan their movements meticulously, and solve various tasks scattered throughout the rig’s sprawling structure. The tension ramps up as the creature’s intelligent and human-like qualities make for unpredictable and terrifying encounters.

However, the game isn’t without its flaws. While the creature is designed to instill fear, some encounters lack the anticipated tension, occasionally feeling too easy to survive. This can sometimes break immersion, pulling players out of the dire atmosphere that the game works so hard to build.

Soundtrack and Sound Design

Soundtrack and Sound Design

Arguably, one of the standout elements of Still Wakes The Deep is its soundtrack, crafted by the talented Jason Graves. The music is hauntingly beautiful, weaving through the game like a spectral presence. Each note contributes to the unnerving atmosphere, ensuring that players are always on edge. But it's not just the music; the ambient sounds, the distant groaning of metallic structures, the foreboding silence, all play into the horror experience exquisitely.

For any horror game, sound design is paramount. It's often the difference between full immersion and simple jump scares. Still Wakes The Deep nails this, making sure players are always listening, always wary of what lurks around the corner.

Puzzles and Visual Hints

The game incorporates various environmental puzzles and platforming sections, designed to challenge players without breaking the narrative pace. They fit organically within the rig’s setting, adding to the feeling of being stranded and needing to use wit to survive. That said, the game's reliance on visual hints can sometimes feel a bit too heavy-handed. Players who appreciate a more subtle approach might find these hints detract slightly from the overall immersion.

Yet, despite this, the puzzles are well-thought-out and range in difficulty, ensuring that players remain engaged without getting frustrated. The balance is, for the most part, well maintained, offering a rewarding experience for those willing to think and act quickly.



In conclusion, Still Wakes The Deep stands as a memorable addition to the survival horror genre. The Chinese Room has once again demonstrated their ability to create emotionally resonant and terrifying experiences. While the game has its imperfections, particularly in the execution of some horror elements, it nevertheless offers a deeply compelling story, backed by strong character development, an atmospheric setting, and a haunting soundtrack.

For fans of horror games, or those simply looking for a gripping narrative set in a unique and meticulously crafted environment, Still Wakes The Deep is not to be missed. It’s an unsettling journey that will linger in your mind long after the final credits roll, a testament to the game’s ability to effectively tug at the player's emotions and maintain a gripping sense of dread throughout.

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