There’s something incredibly cathartic about cleaning up in a video game. It’s a theme that comes up again and again: whether it’s organising belongings, like in Unpacking, or getting rid of toxic goop á la The Gunk, turning chaos into order is hugely rewarding. And in Loddlenaut, an upcoming open-world game about cleaning up an underwater planet, it’s never felt better.
Coming to PC later this year, Loddlenaut is an adorable adventure that casts you as a deep-sea diver tasked with removing pollution from an ocean. Equipped with a powerful cleaning gun, you can suck up items that can be recycled and blast away nasty, black goop clinging to rocks and underwater flora. Sure, cleaning up can feel a little like busywork, but it’s busywork that’s oh-so rewarding.
What we love about Loddlenaut is that there’s almost no faff. You don’t need to worry about emptying your storage regularly: you can hold as many cans, bottles and bits of rubbish as you pick up. The only thing you need to monitor is your oxygen level – your tank will need refilling every few minutes. But this is simply a case of swimming through a charging ring, and you never seem to be far away from one.
The demo, which you can try out for yourself as part of Steam Next Fest, gives you access to one area of the game: Flotsam Flats. It took us around 30 minutes to fully clean Flotsam flats of all the rubbish and goo covering the area. Seeing the cleanliness rating raise from 0% to 100% is hugely satisfying, and every piece of rubbish we sucked up left us feeling all warm and tingly inside. If only cleaning up the oceans in real life was so easy.
The trash you pick up isn’t just to be discarded of, either: it can be recycled into useful items and upgrades. The demo allowed us to upgrade our oxygen tank, which let us swim for longer without needing to refill. We also upgraded our cleaning gun, which allowed us to tackle heavy metal crates lining the sea floor. Undoubtedly the full game will have more upgrades, and each one unlocked feels like a major milestone while playing.
What’s more, as you clean up the waters of Loddlenaut, you’ll gradually see signs of life be introduced. Called Loddles, tiny axolotl-like creatures will begin to appear, thriving in their newly-cleaned environment. They’ll grow over time, feeding on the plants in their vicinity, and you can interact with them, checking they’re happy and healthy. Aww.
Loddlenaut’s demo is short, but it’s left a very positive impression. We can’t wait to get our hands on the full game when it launches later this year. Its colourful, somewhat rudimentary visuals have a certain charm, but it’s the engaging and relaxing gameplay that we can’t wait for more of.
Try out Loddlenaut’s demo for yourself by clicking here. The full game is releasing later this year on Steam.