Sunless Sea - Kickstarted! From the creators of Fallen London


They do seem to be using the same story/quality level system from Fallen London. Sometimes that uses a kind of obfuscation, where instead of revealing the (numerical) value you’ll get a standard text string. e.g. The Airs of London are ‘changeable’ (could represent any number from 1-100). Leaving the string blank is kind of weird but acceptable in FL, not so much here.


I also have seen a number of tooltips that appear to only have part of their message in them (things like “the value of X is :”). As a programmer it looks like the tooltip box height is calculated and then when the font is drawn the value text wraps to the next line, so my thinking is that some aspect of the font isn’t being taken into consideration when calculating tooltip height (like font kerning or some such).

I played a bit last night and came across a couple of crabs I couldn’t kill. I could shoot them, and they would move around (but never shoot back) but even if I shot them 5+ times, I’d never see a HP bar nor would they die. I finally gave up and just went on my way.

One question: how do you make cash. The nominal way is to turn in port reports from places you explored, right? Isn’t that a one-time thing per port or can you revisit places - because if it’s a one-time thing (as I thought it was) then it seems like you’d run out of nearby places to explore and be shafted.

Having an interesting time so far, though I’m so afraid of venturing too far from home.


It’s definitely not a bug. It was the same in Fallen London and this has been in Early Access for a long time. They like that system, for some reason.

Making echoes: stories, port reports, and selling items (including news and memories) are what I’ve found so far.


To me it’s not so much about making money and more about barely fucking scraping by… sigh… I travel the world and get a pat on the back from the admiral when I haven’t got enough cash to feed my men or my engines. It’s a disgusting reality.

Also, don’t sail outside the map. What a terrible idea.


Really. I have no idea how to really make money. I bought some trade goods, but then I couldn’t find anywhere to sell them. It would also have been nice to have some kind of trade report such that when you go to a port that buys and sells things it gets recorded so when you look at the a good you can see what it sells for in other ports you visited. I have a feeling Ill have to write down all this information by hand.


Hit every port and get a report. They don’t pay a lot, but they’ll cover your expenses most of the time.

The bigger the trip, the bigger the payout usually, assuming you don’t take huge losses. The university pays pretty well for some things as well.


It’s perplexing that the tutorial doesn’t explain how that card system for statuses, etc, works at all. Unless I missed it. Does Failbetter think that their audience for Sunless Sea is just made up of Fallen London veterans? Sad, if so…


Is there a way to retire a character? I am at london, with no money and no fuel.


I think Failbetter sees their games as mysteries, and that may well include the mechanics of the game. If I remember correctly, you just muttered your way through the start of Fallen London as well. The difference being that you couldn’t die. In Sunless, I believe we are misinterpreting death. It isn’t really a failure state. It is just the end of a lesson.

I’m not thinking this is a trading game. I haven’t played much, but I’ve seen a couple quests that will require you to return to London to purchase a “trade” item. I just picked up some shroom wine. For the life of me, I can’t remember who requested. I do know that I need some untersalt, and I know where to get that, but I didn’t have enough echoes when I got there. I’m planning to just keep myself fully stocked with fuel and supplies, and see where the sunless currents take me.

I rather enjoyed my adventure off the map and recommend it to anyone at the end of a long journey that they know they can’t return from.


I have hovered over the purchase button a few times now but haven’t committed. This is one of those games I want to like but I am still uncertain about the grindy nature of the design which seems to be a core pillar of FailBetter’s design philosophy. For those with some time in the game is the grind excessive or tolerable? I understand that the basic flow of the game is repetitive in that each new captain needs to undertake roughly the same activity arc, but do you need to do a lot of little similar tasks to get a few good passages of writing?

Thanks for any thoughts you might have.

From the RPS WIT:

… and sometimes the item requirements to fulfil a quest or even engage a character in conversation seem so many, so involved and so time-consuming that there’s almost a touch of Farmville to proceedings. While its map is refreshingly icon-free, its journal and some of its conversations are effectively long lists of icons. Sometimes this shatters the illusion, reveals a certainly utilitarianism at the game’s heart, and I can almost see the parts Sunless Sea was made out of.

From the comments section:

How much time/patience do you have? I enjoy reading loads of books, and the text in this game isn’t an issue – the grind is. Back and forth, back and forth making supply runs to hopefully get a few sentences of interesting text.

I haven’t played Fallen London, but I got this game on Early Access at RPS’s recommendation. Maybe if I were younger and had hours to give to this game, I’d enjoy it more, but as it is, it’s too slow for me.



Yeah, it is grindy. I watched some lets play videos of this and it seemed interesting, but now that I am playing it, its quite dull. Just drive around hitting the same ports over and over, and once in a while venturing out to some unexplored territory to discover nothing particularly interesting.

I have managed make small amounts of money now, but even basic upgrades are very expensive (500 echos would take a LONG time to get, nevermind the 5000 echo items).

I am going to play it more, but so far it is a very slow and dull game. There are some interesting story elements, but too much of it is RNG based. IE: What happened to the sisters on the island. RNG says, “LOL Nope, you will never know.” That isn’t particularly satisfying or fun.

My first captain finally died when a group of blue birds pretty much pwnd me. It seems the only sensible thing to transfer to a new character is your map.


I’m playing it and I’m liking it but I’m not ready to judge it quite yet. I think this one requires a greater investment of time than most games. RNG is definitely there though but hey, it was there in FTL as well and that’s one of my all time favorite games.

I died once so far, ran out of fuel because I incorrectly assumed a specific port could sell me some provisions.
The atmosphere, the writing, the music, the graphics… all top notch. When you first look at the map it seems small, I was actually a bit disappointed by its size. Then you start your journey and suddenly it grows quite large indeed but is it really? or are you just slow?

Needs more time.

Regarding the music there’s a small caribbean theme I’ve grown quite infatuated with, I find myself sailing to those islands just to hear that short piece again :) It’s right out of Monkey Island.


I like it so far, but I fear I’m about to give up the ghost. I’m in London, and I have only 3 fuel, 2 supplies, 50 hull, and almost no echoes. If I try to go anywhere, I’ll run out of fuel and die, yes? But I’m not sure what my other options are. I don’t seem to be able to retire. Maybe I can trade my boat for the smaller launch?


First captain down! Definitely having a good time with this one, but it’s clear that the more I play the more I am going to hate starting over. So thank goodness for saving, although you can get yourself into doomed situations.

You can’t retire unless certain conditions are met. Go and meet your fate. You may be surprised.


Thanks for your reply. If I trade in my boat for the smaller model, and then die, will I regret it? Will I start my next life in the smaller boat too?


Nah, you’ll be back in the starter ship.

Finally got a decent source of income! I doubt it will last, but I finally don’t need to worry about fuel and supplies.

Choosing the correct soundtrack is crucial for this game.


I’m swimming in echoes bitches. Riding around with a hot blonde engineer, sinking pirate ships and having sex in cannons. Yarrrr!


What is this source?


for those who don’t want to know

Delivering stone from the Salt Lions to London. Safe, relatively short route (at least on my map), 300 echoes profit per trip.


I’m not thinking this is a trading game.

It’s definitely not. You do trade, but it’s just a small supplement to your other income, outside of a handful of relatively lucrative routes. For the most part, you’ll get much more from either port reports or from requests for specific goods.