Still Wakes the Deep review

by on June 17, 2024
Reviewed On
Also Tested On
Release Date

June 18, 2024


There are only a handful of publishers and developers where I adore every single release or at least get excited whenever I hear their name attached to something. The Chinese Room, developers of Still Wakes the Deep, are one of those that I know I’ll forever love. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is still a game I think about frequently, and even now almost ten years ago, the story it told still has a hold on me. While not quite as impactful, there is something engrossing and personal about the terrors on this oil rig and the power of friendship in the face of adversity.

You play as Caz, an offshore oil rig worker who leaves to work in the middle of the North Sea in 1970’s Scotland. Leaving his wife Suze after an argument to come to the rig and being a thorn in his boss’ side, Caz has his fair share of problems. Unfortunately, these are only the tip of the iceberg after an incident in the freezing waters below start to turn your colleagues into hideously deformed creatures who are trying to hunt you down. While these encounters aren’t consistent throughout the roughly six to seven hour game, you’re forever on edge in case you bump into one of these monstrosities.

Still Wakes the Deep is a stunning game. Photorealistic visuals of the oil rig immerse you in its story from the get-go, and even when things start to get weird and the rig starts to crumble underneath your feet, the level of detail continues to impress. When outside and in the storm, the vastness of the sea and the dangers around every corner put you on edge, and the first time you see one of these monsters will creep you out. As you progress, that fear starts to subside and you begin to become accustomed to them. I did encounter a couple of bugs that froze my former peers allowing me to get by with ease, breaking the immersion somewhat.

One thing that always fascinated me about Still Wakes the Deep is the intricate level design. The oil rig has been fully realised, with so many levels and zones to it that add to the grandeur of your survival. Whether deep in the belly of the beast or sneaking across the top level by the helipad, the effort put into creating a realistic working environment is superb. While it is a huge oil rig, there’s normally only one way to progress, yet despite the linear nature it never gets boring as you balance across thin pipes to get from one platform to another or cling to tight ledges in fear of falling to your death.

Caz is unable to fight back against the threats that arrive on the rig, so many of the encounters require you to hide and sneak around in an effort to avoid being ripped to pieces. You can use objects to distract them, but you’ll also be running for your life the moment you hear them start to follow you. While there aren’t any puzzles as such, you’ll have to find switches and keys, and move from room to room in an effort to escape and get back to your wife. As you get closer to the end, you do start to get a bit tired of being told to travel back somewhere to find this item or fix this thing, but Still Wakes the Deep doesn’t outstay its welcome.

The story is another captivating feature. When you first meet Caz he seems like someone just trying to do the right thing. He has a bit of a temper, but appears fiercely loyal to his friends on the rig, and that only intensifies as you fight for your life to save them. There are some hefty emotional beats towards the end of it, but there is also humour and warmth. I’m also excited to see anyone not from Scotland try to play this game without subtitles because the vernacular and delivery of the Scottish langue is on point and quite frankly, perfect. The relationship between Caz and his wife is also revealed as the story plays out, and in true The Chinese Room fashion, there’s a lot of heart and pain, blurring the lines of love and commitment.

The final five minutes hit you like a ton of bricks and deliver a somewhat surprising yet understandable end, and the build up to that point is fantastic. It’s pretty obvious when you look back on everything that’s happened, but you’re always filled with hope, and that hope is a massive theme in Still Wakes the Deep. The soundtrack is devastating and haunting, always complimenting what is going on ono-screen. Like Jessica Curry with Rapture, Jason Graves‘ talents are on full display and it’s certainly one of those soundtracks that will be listened to long after you finish.

Still Wakes the Deep is The Chinese Room at its best, building a profound experience through a detailed world and well-realised characters. You’re constantly championing Caz as a relatable and decent human being, and despite some areas feeling a bit repetitive, I was engrossed in the claustrophobic nightmare I found myself in. If, like me, you’re a fan of The Chinese Room and are hoping this one follows in The Footsteps of Dear Esther or Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, you won’t be disappointed.


Excellent writing
Superb level design
Wonderfully acted


Some segments are repetitive
Monsters lose their edge

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Still Wakes the Deep tells an emotional tale under extreme circumstances, with a stunningly detailed world and intelligent storytelling.