Scuba


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Rating: 4.5/5 (153 votes)
| Comments (30) | Views (291)

Joshscuba.jpgSurely you've heard of Minecraft by now. What? You haven't heard of that popular downloadable indie-game where you run around in a virtual 3D world consisting of pixel-like blocks, harvesting anything that isn't tied down to create tools, structures, and even entire worlds? Hmm, you say you're intrigued, but you don't have the time and energy to invest in such a robust and addictive product? Well in that case, it sounds like you should give Scuba by Louissi and Mapoga a try.

Directly inspired by titles like Minecraft and Terraria, Scuba is a casual game of discovery, crafting, and exploration across a randomly-generated, side-scrolling world. The story begins with a meteor-deflected rocket ship that needs to make a quick landing on a cube-like planet. As the stranded pilot, you must find parts to build a new motor so you can take off again. Armed with only a puny mining laser, you need to guide your character on land and under the sea, collecting 10 types of resources and crafting them to form dozens of new materials and objects. You control your diver-character with the standard [WASD] keys, and click and hold the mouse within a defined radius to collect resources. Back at your rocket ship, you can place items from your inventory into a 3 X 3 grid to craft other materials and objects from a list of recipes accessed by pressing [R]. Only through persistence and lots of collecting will you be able to build your new engine and return home.

While there are a limited number of resources on the surface, most of the better materials are found underwater, requiring you to dive. You start out with a limited oxygen supply, a shallow pressure suit, a weak flashlight, and feeble boots. As you dive, you have to watch your air, pressure, and battery meters. The deeper you go, the darker it gets, and the added pressure uses up your limited air supply more rapidly. You can keep returning to the surface and your rocket ship, but for more time and bounty underwater, it's quicker to build submersible mobile workbenches, air cabinets, lights, and battery chargers.

scuba2.jpgAnalysis: Even if you haven't really played Minecraft, by playing Scuba you can get a sense of how the former game can be so popular. There's something satisfying about creating increasingly-advanced items from scratch, knowing that you went out of your way to find the nuts and bolts that went towards their creation. With Scuba, there's a definite goal you have to reach, and certain milestones along the way that give your character powerups and a sense of direction. Need the level 3 diving helmet? That'll require a level 2 helmet, two iron, and two gold. How do you get gold? That's four coal, one energy unit, and one glow bulb. Short on energy units? You can craft one out of stone, mushrooms, and glow bulbs, or you can go diving and zap the energy from swimming creatures. And so on. The fun part is that there's an arcadey-element to running around and zapping the stuff you need, and a puzzly part to finding the right combinations and forming them on the 3 X 3 grid.

Of course, there are some problems with the game as well. The screen's scrolling motion (as of v1.1) can be extremely jerky in certain browsers, though it's something you get used to after a while. Navigation can also be difficult, since there's no mini-map to tell you where you are in relation to anything (other than your rocket ship). It's also possible to accidentally destroy your mobile workbench, forcing you to backtrack to your rocket ship before you can build it again.

Most of that can be overlooked, however, compared to Scuba's pluses. The graphics, while tile based, are nicely detailed and stylized, using lighting effects and nifty shading gradients. In addition, the music is varied and relaxing, keeping you going throughout your quest. All this coupled with the fact that the random world generation gives you a new experience each time means you may be coming back to this title more than once. While it would have been fun to face off against tougher monsters than the neutral underwater creatures, Scuba's casual and forgiving gameplay is a nice gateway to more advanced crafting games. Even if you're already a hard-core Minecrafter, Scuba's fun gameplay and underwater aspects definitely make it a casual title worth checking out.

Play Scuba

Thanks to Crankyanker and Cyberjar88 for sending this one in! :)

Walkthrough Guide


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@JohnQ

I thought it was bit of a bother as well, so I just print screen the combination (just take 4 scrolls and crop them...). And put the picture on my other monitor while I play this on another screen.

Here it is what I copied down:

Crafting Recipes List

30 Comments

Is there a (printable) list of recipes available somewhere? Love the game, but having to bring out the recipe all the time is annoying.

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Quick impression from the first 10 minutes, too much Minecraft and not enough Terraria.

That said the diving is a good twist and it's fun to see the first fleshed out flash game that's a derivative of M+T.

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@JohnQ

I thought it was bit of a bother as well, so I just print screen the combination (just take 4 scrolls and crop them...). And put the picture on my other monitor while I play this on another screen.

Here it is what I copied down:

Crafting Recipes List

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Anonymous August 16, 2011 12:36 PM

It's a nice game and a good timewaster, but however, unlike either "inspirations" it has much less focus on making or even discovery. I didn't realize you could re-add dirt til midway and I certainly did need or feel the want to. You really didn't need to make any of the 1-time items especially as death didn't do anything besides teleport you back to start (infact that makes death a desireable thing since you're racing against the clock). Maybe if it went to lvl 6 or removed recipes for gold/diamond...

Some things I feel they could have done to improve the game:
Make death harsher. A lot harsher. Perhaps not 1-life thing, but still, not something desireable to do.
Make a "sky" realm. Where you really needed to re-add dirt to reach places. Actually, make some of the above ground wood/plant things more useful period. Right now, you never need to go above ground (in which adding things only obstructs you). DIRT tends to be more useful than wood if it wasn't so common.
Make splitting and making multiple items a LOT more user friendly. Way too many clicks right now. In fact, they should allow you to click a recipe and have that appear in the recipe slot. (as in, I can click the energy recipe, and the 4 stone + others will be taken from my inv and put in the crafting slots) (and then possible take the material from the inv before removing them from the create slots).

Couple of notes:
Some recipes are bugged and don't use up everything. ex: suit 2, air tank 4.
Some times you can create "negative" stacks of item, where they appear on the crafting slots, and adding them to a stack in the inv will reduce the number there. Mostly comes from taking a item when there's nothing in the crafting slots.
You can find different items in the dirt at different depths. At deeper levels you can find bolts, gold, and even diamonds. Similarly, gas mostly appears near the top.
You can kill things for energy (and a rare mob deep down also drops gold). You need a LOT of energy if you don't plan on finding everything so kill everything!
Speaking of which, in terms of importance for items: energy, iron (to use and to make ->gold->diamond and also reversely stone to make iron), gas (as you making it is hard), coal, glowing bulbs (easy to make), everything else

Wow that's a lot of stuff. Ending it here then

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You can actually craft everything, including the final objective, from dirt. I worked out that you need 37,337 dirt to craft a motor. I haven't tested this so don't rely on that number...

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After playing for about an hour. Very fun game so far. Two things that I'd like to see added:
1. The recipes should be labeled. (Especially useful in the beginning.)

2. It would be nice if clicking a recipe at least displayed a ghosted version of the recipe in the crafting area. Maybe I just have a lousy memory but going back and forth between recipe and crafting area is the least fun part of this game so far.

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After playing it on and off for an hour or so, think I found a problem.
How do you craft the upgrade of the diving suit helmet...thing?(the one below the golden air tank)

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baramburum Author Profile Page August 16, 2011 2:19 PM

There is a bug with a Laser level 2 and 3.
I was not able to finish the game !

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Never mind, got it. Mixed up they all look quite messed up in the list I manage to create!!

P.s. Find it quite a bit of hassle to drag whatever upgrade you got into the slot to "activate it". Why not just automatic upgrade to the new level when you craft out the new stuff?

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Anonymous August 16, 2011 2:40 PM

Matthew:
I got 34616 :P (now does the map even have that many?)

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Finished the game. Overall i like it a lot, my main things aside from stuff already mentioned would be (1) it's tough to navigate on the small viewport; things often look the same. I placed one or two breathing tanks that I never managed to find again. (2) speaking of breathing tanks, it's annoying that you can destroy them while hunting a creature. (3) I almost ragequit on "Deep" hunting; I felt I spent too much time fighting creatures and not enough time exploring.

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CrankYanker Author Profile Page August 16, 2011 4:11 PM

One thing that helped me (that you smart folks probably already figured out...)

Crafting multiple items

You can craft up to 64 of one item in one step, just by putting in the same multiples of the input items.

Laugh at me if you want to, but I was almost a third of the way through the game (and close to giving up) when I figured that out.

I also didn't see any way to fill the dirt back in. It took some planning to get all the resources above water.

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This game was fun, but got decidedly less fun when I thought I had saved many times throughout, and then when I closed the tab (accidentally, which makes this even worse) and re-opened it, the "restore" button is greyed out.

I may go back to it, but I may not.

On another note, it's much more fun if you can play with recipe images open in another window (especially if you have dual monitors). Thought I'd share the ones I used:

Materials
Tools

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SnackTastick Author Profile Page August 16, 2011 5:04 PM

I though it was great and felt like it was too short, and did not have enough emphasis placed on going deep. That said I agree it would be awesome to go up into the sky if for no other reason than to get some more above water platforming in. Would be cool to build a vehicle that could make getting around more fun or something. Anyway, Five stars for effort, it's a pretty fun way to spend an hour.

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This game is neat, but the crafting system is over-complicated and the UI for it isn't user friendly.

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JIGuest nailed it: "Maybe if it went to lvl 6 or removed recipes for gold/diamond..."

As it is there's really no reason to dive any deeper than is necessary to hoover up iron, because gold and diamonds can be crafted cheaply from 4 and 8 irons, respectively. Iron is prevalent at a depth easily cruisable with level 2 equipment, which in turn can be made at the beginning of the game from raw materials at surface level. Take out the gold and diamond recipes, or at least ratchet up the iron cost pretty substantially, and suddenly the game takes on a lot more, uh, depth.

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I calculated a number close to Matthew's. You can make the motor from 37,882 dirt.

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Twinkie23 Author Profile Page August 17, 2011 3:44 AM

I'm not sure if I'm just missing something, but I'm not sure how to get my flashlight to work again after it's run out of batteries. The little charger you can construct doesn't seem to help. Any tips?

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Twinkie23: you can build a machine that recharges your flashlight, and leave the machine any place underwater.

Don't forget you can also turn the flashlight off and on again to save power. I think it's the 'f' key.

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Assorted comments:

Version 1.1 fixed all of the recipe problems reported by early players. It's now possible to finish the game and to do that you do have to build all levels of all equipment.

On a Mac running 10.7 (Lion), Safari has a lot of trouble with dragging resources around. I switched to FireFox which worked far better. I think I could even load the game I saved in Safari in FireFox.

Learn to use the 'space-click' shortcut for dropping one resource from your stack into a build-square. Don't throw resources away unless you really need the space. It's surprising what can be done with 300 dirt if you study the recipes.

The reward for finishing the game is a bit disappointing. After all that work I'd expected something better.

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Cale Gibbard Author Profile Page August 17, 2011 10:57 AM

My main criticism would be that it doesn't really require you to ever dive very deeply at all. Essentially everything in the game can be made from dirt if you collect enough dirt.

Of course, actually doing that is a bit inefficient, but it doesn't really require deep exploration to find good enough materials to compose the things you need. Everything you need to finish the game can be found very close to the surface of the water, if you're willing to spend a bit of extra time crafting.

A minecraft-like way to split stacks in half would be extremely welcome though. There's way too much clicking required.

A second criticism is that I never really felt pressured to build anything in the world. Like in minecraft, you can place blocks, but why? The game doesn't really give you a reason to do that. I also never really felt pressured to use my resources to make any of the 'building' objects rather than upgrades for my items (which are needed to finish the game anyway).

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Love it. We've needed more flash crafting games, and Scuba is a nice, friendly addition to the genre.

I would've made the mobs a bit more interesting and user-seeking, and most of the elements are just there to be in-betweens for other elements, which got a little tedious. More functionality would have been good, as well as spawning more of the interesting elements further down more often, both to streamline the crafting process and to encourage exploration as well.

Healing automatically when you're at your rocket seemed a bit counterintuitive as well, particularly when you could have been crafting health-restoring food or medicines with many of the organic elements. I'd also reached the same conclusion of another user here, that recipes really should have been labelled. And crafting in-betweens really should have given some functionality themselves, rather than feeling like time-fillers.

Finding bolts further down indicates a potential civilization from long ago, and I'd occasionally wondered if I'd be finding schematics (new recipes) for technologies somewhere down there. Alas no, but then again who knows what could be down there, especially in later versions.

All in all, when the worst you can say about a game is that it needs "More!", it's a great idea. Going back to play through it again now. =)

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Also, it would have been totally easy to have the game automatically select the Mining Laser or the Dirt, based on what you were clicking on and whether you'd had one of the other tools selected.

Game designers often read their game reviews on major sites, and it does no harm to post ideas. =)

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I'm a big fan of Terraria. That said, I was quite disappointed with this title. I didn't expect a lot of depth from a flash game. However, this one was simply TEDIOUS. There was really no reason to do deep exploration since all you had to do was tear up random blocks because every item could be made with others. Going deeper didn't bring new adventures or new things to see...it just made the area darker.

Good graphics, great music, and a basically good concept, but the execution fell really flat.

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I loved it, aside from one thing.

The biggest problem with Scuba is the lack of necessity for deep diving. I never felt the need to go further than the mobs that gave off gold.

In retrospect, I'm disappointed that I never found the buried bolts/gold/diamonds, but I never really felt the need to at the time.

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Anonymous August 22, 2011 1:13 PM

What's with the (not sure if spoiler)

comet/meteor at the end?

It's there for a fraction of a second, I had to take a screencap to get a good look at it.

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I was playing this game with my eight-year-old daughter, and she came up with a weird but cool idea. She just started collecting dirt, and then when she had a lot, she started building a staircase just to see how high she could go. Turns out there IS a limit: the "top" of the sky is 128 blocks above sea level, and when you get there, you can't build any higher!

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A fun little casual-Minecraft.

To those who didn't find a use for placing dirt: I used it to map out the underwater! I'd swim horizontally holding down the mouse button to trace out an easily-distinguished horizontal line of dirt, so I can know how to find my way back to my air+crafting station.

I also considered building dirt sculptures up into the sky, but there wasn't much impetus to do so. Perhaps if there were funky things to find up there... :) Or alternatively if we could build with other materials, such as the sediment and stone, then it'd be more fun to create sculptures in the sky (or underwater).

I found myself wishing for a way to heal yourself underwater. Sometimes if you're running low on air and dashing back to the air station, you don't have time to kill the big purple flowers, so I'd dash past them; but that does drain health. It'd be nice to be able to gain health back with some craftable object.

In contrast with those who said they stayed near the surface, I definitely found the game mechanics encouraged me to dig deep. Iron, while not exactly rare, isn't plentiful enough to make the idea of exhaustively searching for it attractive. I dove down as deep as the highest suit could get me and set up a base down there, combing left and right looking for diamonds, but I didn't find any, even after I'd found 50+ gold and tool deposits. I assumed there weren't any diamonds underwater due to it being too beneficial if you find one.

And in reply to Zazazu, diving deeper does bring new adventures. Not perhaps as diverse as I might have hoped, but the air runs out faster and the monsters take longer to kill, and you have to build battery stations and/or line your tunnels with lanterns. And those tunnels quickly fill up with monsters who can really slow down your return journey.

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Here's something that might help you collect natural gas. I don't know if it's been done, but it's kind of important.
There are only two methods to collect the gas.
One is to find it, and the other is to craft it.
Finding gas is really annoying, because it generally spawns in groups of 1 and 2, and they're far apart.
So what about crafting?
You need 4 mushrooms for 1 natural gas.
The problem is, mushrooms only grow above ground, so you can't just walk to find them. You need to jump and dig your way through, which I hate.
How can we craft mushrooms?
From weeds!
Same problem.
Can we craft weeds?
Yeah, sure! From dirt!
So for the sake of fast stacking, I used 5 stacks of 64 dirt.
So... 320 dirt.
5 dirt in a weed, which makes it 64 weeds.
There are 5 weeds in each mushroom, so you get 12 with 4 weeds left over.
And then you make natural gas, which needs 4 mushrooms.
Which leaves us with 3 natural gas.
So the crafting rate of dirt to natural gas is 1, to... 100.
So the fastest method is just to find natural gas.
Don't make the mistake I made of trying to craft it!

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Even though I've already collected all of the level 4 materials, I didn't feel like leaving yet, as I had yet to explore deep underground. My biggest pain is the constant threat of running out of natural gas to make air-refill stations, though digging as much freaking dirt as possible has demand. Also, there are two ways to craft coal, and (assuming you've been making all of the materials from dirt) it can cost you a 55 difference in the amount of dirt you use each time! Using 3 logs, an energy item, and two dirt blocks proves to be the cheaper method.

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