Endless Ocean Luminous

Top 11 aquatic video games that made a splash on us

Thalassophobia who? We take a deep dive into a bunch of titles with water-based mechanics or environments.

Subscribe to our newsletter here!

* Required field

With the imminent arrival of Endless Ocean Luminous into Nintendo Switch's line-up, we at Gamereactor have taken a look back at the video games that are primarily based on an aquatic theme and that made the biggest splash on us. Whether it's the vast seas, stressful diving adventures, bubbly platformers, or the oppressive terror of underwater cities, we're sure you share many of these choices with us. And if not, let us know what your favourite aquatic games are!

As there are many titles with water as the main element, here are some (in no specific order) that we are sure will interest you to delve into the depths of the ocean. Hold your nose and jump in!

Endless Ocean Luminous

Endless Ocean Luminous

Although presentation and variety are not the strong suit of this title for today's times, Endless Ocean Luminous offers a relaxing experience to enjoy marine nature. We are able to explore and discover the fauna, represented by more than 500 species. Unlike other video games such as Subnautica, we don't have to worry about lurking enemies or running out of oxygen.

This is an ad:

Arika's original came out in 2007 published by Nintendo for the Wii console, which later received a sequel. Now, it is a modern version for the Switch. One of the new features is that you can enjoy cooperative group immersion for up to 30 players. If you want to know more about this release, our David tells you more in his review of Endless Ocean Luminous.


Sea of Thieves

Treasure, fishing, co-op missions, cannon fire combat, a bottle of rum... with this open world the possibilities are endless. Sea of Thieves immerses you in an adventure where you become a real pirate. You can sail solo, admire the scenery and explore new horizons... or play in company, where Rare's experience gets a whole new meaning. There are Grand Tales, extended quests based on the history surrounding the world of The Devil's Shroud. And watch out for the enemies: from ghosts to krakens, as well as the storms that rage on the high seas, pirate legends are no longer legends but reality. Likewise, with the PvP combat option, you can enjoy naval combat with shooting or melee weapons - but be careful not to sink your ship and those of your shipmates!

This is an ad:

We fall into the pirate life, sailing without (or with) a defined course to explore the islands and secrets that surround the sea or opt for the missions to receive great rewards. A very complete game experience where you will take the helm to go in search of the best treasure: it's an adventure without limits.



In this survival video game we find ourselves on an alien planet consisting of a fascinating ocean. After an emergency landing on this peculiar world, we will have to resist all the dangers that lurk. The only apparent way out is to reach the bottom of the sea. Lava zones, bioluminescent underwater rivers, sun-drenched coral reefs and even sea trenches. Subnautica has both sides of the coin: captivating landscapes with radiant sea creatures, extensive vegetation and vivid colours, but when night falls, the gloom and its creatures leave the environment with a subdued tone, and the player with a sense of dread.

In the depths of the sea we will find everything we need to craft and make utensils and tools, it is even possible to build bases on the seabed or personal craft. Undoubtedly, a classic among video games with an aquatic theme.


The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

We couldn't leave the Zelda saga out and, especially, The Wind Waker. This title is considered one of the best in Nintendo's adventure franchise, although it wasn't always so. It contains an expansive environment for the time that had never existed before in its fiction. The series opted for an ocean of freedom (although you can only surf its surface), giving Link the power to control the wind to chart his voyages on the sea. There, all kinds of experiences could take place, full of puzzles and magic, of course.

With a wide range of islands to visit and many dangers at sea, the hero sails the oceans in one of the deepest and most original stories in the series. One of the most characteristic tools of the video game is that ability to change the direction of the wind. This is achieved through the use of the power of music, thanks to the titular Wind Waker baton.

Another characteristic peculiarity of the game is Link's big bug eyes. The art direction decided to make a change to the character's expressiveness, which helped by giving clues as to the path the player had to take and incidentally fitted in with the bold cel-shaded cartoon finish.

We last enjoyed this adventure with Wind Waker HD on Wii U and were looking forward to the inevitable Nintendo Switch port, but so far it hasn't arrived...


Assassin's Creed: Black Flag

Treasure, plunder and adventure... Assassin's Creed: Black Flag is inspired by the 18th century, the so-called Golden Age of piracy. This fourth instalment of the franchise takes us to the islands of the Bahamas, South Florida and Cuba. More specifically, the focus is on the cities of Havana, Nassau and Kingston. Not only that, but the story will also take the protagonist to more than 50 towns of the time.

Approximately 50% of the game takes place at sea. Some of the actions that can be performed are harpoon hunting or investigating the depths of the sea. It is worth mentioning the naval battles: there are several secondary missions in which these furtive confrontations can take place; you can shoot the opposing captain or assault the opponent's ship, among other options.


Ecco the Dolphin

Ecco the Dolphin was released in the 90s for the Mega Drive (Genesis) and is a pioneer in theme and genre, based entirely in the aquatic world. Maybe the fantastic aquatic levels of Super Mario Bros. or Donkey Kong Country didn't qualify for this list per se, but this was a fully aquatic platformer.

In it, we follow Ecco, a dolphin who is left alone after a mysterious tornado takes his pod with it. Later, we discover that the dolphins have been captured by an alien race called the Vortex. And no, it doesn't end in a The Simpsons episode.

We control the aquatic animal through different stages from a 2D side-scrolling perspective. The story asks us to travel through the past and visit places like Atlantis. And just as Mario has to face Bowser in the final stage, Ecco will have to reach the Vortex hive and defeat them.

The story behind the creation of this SEGA-published title is a bit... murky. Ed Annunziata, the game's author, was inspired by a marine biology scientist named John C. Lilly. Lilly was involved in a project in which they were trying to teach dolphins human language. In addition, the scientist was also experimenting with drugs, such as ketamine. This led him to believe that he had made contact with higher beings, i.e. extraterrestrials. He called them the Earth Coincidence Control Office (E.C.C.O.) - pure coincidence?


Wave Race 64

We definitely had to include this classic Nintendo 64 jet ski racer. It's a straightforward, arcadey and simple (yet thorough) game where the fun never stops. The title is divided into four game systems, each of which is different from the others. In addition, it contains a total of 9 environments. Victory awaits at the finish line, but we will have to cross a course with different obstacles, such as ramps, deep water or whirlpools. It stands out from any previous water game thanks to the recreation and feel of the 3D water physics, which gives a sense of realism to the gameplay experience and at the same time is part of the mechanics for controlling the bike.



This psychological horror story will keep you tense the whole time... We step into the shoes of Simon Jarret, a man who has suffered a car accident and brain damage. Because of his situation, Jarret agrees to undergo an experiment: a brain damage scan. After regaining consciousness, the protagonist wakes up at the Upsilon Site of PATHOS-II. This site is an abandoned underwater research centre.

This survival horror is a great work of science fiction. Robots, alien entities and creatures in human form will be Simon Jarret's worst nightmare. With a dark and lonely atmosphere, we will advance in this story set in the deep sea. The design of the scenarios is another of the key points of SOMA, with freedom of action to explore and inspect all the places of this gloomy place.



This legendary immersive sim and horror shooter is designed in first person. We enter a utopia set in the year 1960, where we immerse ourselves in an art deco universe in the depths of the ocean. Specifically in the city of Rapture, one of the most recognisable in the history of video games.

You will be able to modify your body biologically to obtain different abilities and, in this way, gain an advantage over your enemies. In addition, the environment will be your best ally, as you can use all the elements around you as a weapon. This game is the first in a saga that reached a trilogy (the first and Infinite were critically acclaimed), and whose fourth part is supposedly still in development, while its creator Ken Levine conceives new project Judas as "the most replayable game in history".


Dave the Diver

Dave the Diver is one of the most successful indies to set sail last year. The premise of the game is that you play Dave, a diver who is hired by a sushi restaurant. Our job is to dive into the sea and catch the fish needed to make the restaurant's recipes. But that's not all: as soon as night falls, the restaurant opens its doors to diners and it's time to manage the bar. As the game progresses, we get upgrades for weapons and equipment. Each time, the endurance time under water will increase. In addition, we will have more opportunity to investigate the maritime world.

But this wasn't the only aquatic indie of last year, we also have to mention Dredge, which fought Dave for this spot. This other title is a mix of fishing and horror where we have to sell the fish we catch to pay our own ransom.



Is Maneater just GTA but with sharks? Yes, we could make that comparison. The game is about a mutant mega-shark that spreads chaos wherever it swims. And its mission is a bit gorey... it devours all the humans it finds along the way, as a kind of ecco-friendly revenge (pun intended).

But it doesn't just swim, it can also perform acrobatic jumps and can even glide out of the water for a few seconds. As the game time progresses, our protagonist will be able to turn into a Megalodon. In the story you can identify clear influences that have helped in the creation of the title, such as the movie Jaws, Moby Dick or Orca, the killer whale, stories that narrate the catastrophes unleashed by these large sea creatures. Sharknado for a laugh? Yes, that one too.


And what great aquatic video game did you think we missed in this list? Leave a comment below.

Related texts

Endless Ocean LuminousScore

Endless Ocean Luminous

REVIEW. Written by David Caballero

We deep dive into Arika's relaxing exploration adventure for the Nintendo Switch, which doesn't seem very so-fish-ticated.

Loading next content