Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.
Deep in the ocean, there are some strange things. The creatures that live down there look like something out of H.P. Lovecraft’s nightmares, and I’ve always wondered what the hell else you might find if you could tool around down there in some kind of super submarine. Apparently I’m not the only person with this fantasy, because now it’s available in playable form with Subbania.
The game kicks off with a long, strange intro where a pyramid-headed Nazi commander orders you on a secret submarine mission to attack America. You navigate underwater caverns and tunnels in a very Metroid-like world. Things start pretty mild as you pick off a few crabs and tangle with the odd squid, but the strangeness ramps up quickly. You do battle with a bestiary where a skeletal ichthyosaur is pretty tame and a thing that looks like a dog skull with fins barely raises an eyebrow. Along the way, you collect upgrades to your ship, allowing you to take the fight to the monstrosities of the briny deep with ever-increasing effectiveness.
Stark black-and-white graphics and a hypnotic soundtrack, along the lines of what John Carpenter might have come up with had he been an 8-bit games composer, create a creepy ambience. Every once in awhile, you get a communique revealing that things are maybe not quite what they seem—they are far more bizarre. The deeper you go, the weirder it gets, and it goes deep—there are hours of game here. Just don’t forget to come up for air once in a while.