Endless Ocean Luminous review

by on April 30, 2024
Reviewed On
Release Date

May 2, 2024.


Have you ever played something on a whim, and discovered that it’s exactly what you needed at that moment? Because that’s exactly what Endless Ocean Luminous was for me. Despite it being a follow up to the 2009 Adventures of the Deep title in the series, the whole franchise had slipped me by, but Endless Ocean Luminous is a relaxing, engrossing adventure that is as much a celebration of the ocean as it is a collectathon box-ticking exercise, and I kind of adore it.

That’s not to say it’s a vapid experience. There’s a story here involving you playing the new recruit who joins up to a company that is documenting the Veiled Sea, a fictional underwater region, which is kept alive by some mysterious narrative elements I won’t spoil here. Essentially, marine life of all kinds provides a luminescence, or light, and by scanning (and, I suppose, documenting) the marine life you will help sustain the ocean.

How this plays out, however, is that you swim around scanning anything that glows with a blue light, hold the button down for your scanner, and ultimately fill up a bar that gives you points for your dive. It sounds simplistic enough, and in practice it isn’t taxing, but a planned quick dive soon disappears, instead becoming an hour-long expedition through sunken ships, cave systems, and other more mythical, mysterious locations. There are items that shine in the sand to collect which give you more points, and the dopamine hit of the constant exploratory rewards is something you either get, or don’t.

Endless Ocean Luminous

The area you’re exploring is mapped out, a percentage of the area coloured in on the map, and marine life discovered is on display. You can, if you want, just start a new dive and a new area will be rolled with a fresh blank map to roam and discover, or you can pixel hunt to get 100% and find the secrets within. It’s curiously moreish to realise you’ve uncovered a bit more of the map each time, and you are rewarded with new cosmetics, titles, and the usual type of thing for milestones you hit. You level up based on your diving performance, and I found I’d spend so long underwater I’d frequently jump five to ten levels per dive in the earlier hours.

But it’s not just exciting to find a new fish, or a crab hidden in the coral. There are mythical creatures as well. It ties into the story (which you unlock more of by doing dives and documenting life therein) but there are some surprises under the Veiled Sea. There’s no real peril to Endless Ocean Luminous, but there’s certainly some moments that’ll make you draw a sharp intake of breath due to what you’ve seen. Overall, this is a very tranquil experience: an easy time to sit and float through the pretty blue undersea, and I get why some might not be up for that, but it absolutely enthralled me, especially as someone who’s always been intrigued by the underwater world.

Endless Ocean Luminous

Endless Ocean Luminous is a quirky game, from the AI companion who will read out the descriptions of the aquatic creatures you find, to the story that introduces a human friend who is both braggadocious, but also fairly cowardly and a bit silly. It’s got a late 90s, or “Dreamcast” feel to the narrative, but it looks visually pretty, and while the sea creatures aren’t quite lifelike, they’re not cartoony either.

I hesitate to use the word roguelike, because it’s more that you can choose to reroll your adventure if you want, but there are “dive codes”, which you can also play and share online with up to 30 people. You will be rewarded for your cooperation, too, which involves tagging items and creatures with images so that others can find them more easily. You all start in a different location and become “dive buddies” when you get closer, sharing discoveries for the time you’re together. This gives a genuine incentive to play with friends, as you can map the sea quicker, and find creatures quicker. You can even quickly warp to a dive buddy location even if they’re a fair distance away on the underwater map.

Endless Ocean Luminous

The rewards might not be enough for some, especially if you don’t think changing the colour of your scuba gear is much of a reward at all, but there is something of the Animal Crossing about Endless Ocean Luminous for me. It’s the journey, or adventure. It’s the relaxing moments it gives you. And while it’s not a challenging game, as such (unless you lack patience), it’s also something I feel I won’t be uninstalling for a while, as it’s lovely to dip in and out of. On top of that, it is also one of those dangerous time-sink games where you find yourself thinking “five more minutes”, because you can see the bar in the top left filling up and you want to discover just a few more fish, and suddenly it’s dark outside.

I don’t expect Endless Ocean Luminous to be for everyone, and frankly I was even a bit surprised at how much I liked it. For those who’ve long held a fascination with the deep blue sea like myself, however, it’s a gorgeous adventure that offers a huge amount of exploratory time underwater. I never thought I’d be excited at finding a new “largest” version of a fish I’d seen tens of times before, but here we are, and Endless Ocean Luminous is a lovely, relaxing, almost meditative game that I adore.


Lovely underwater visuals
Quirky narrative
Loads to discover


Niche appeal
Rewards could be better

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Endless Ocean Luminous is a lovely adventure that lets you play your way, and rewards you with a relaxing feeling few games offer.