endless ocean luminous feature image
Image Source: Arika/Nintendo via Twinfinite

Endless Ocean Luminous Review – Good Vibes, Okay Game

Take a deep dive into the ocean

Endless Ocean Luminous is the third instalment in the game series from Arika and 14 years have passed since the release of Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep. With such a huge gap between releases, fans of the previous Endless Ocean games have been curious about what Luminous will bring. Will it be more of the same chill vibes and ocean adventures, or is there more?

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Unfortunately, Endless Ocean Luminous does not seem to offer much more than its Nintendo Wii predecessors. The vibes are the same, with a similar soundtrack to swim along with, but there is little sense of adventure. At its basic level it is an enjoyable game, but does it have enough going for it to keep players invested?

The features it does have are fine, if a little lackluster. Let’s start with the game’s main mechanic: scuba diving and exploration. The controls are easy to use and smooth, making it a real pleasure to swim through the open world. Endless Ocean Luminous boasts a new feature where every dive is randomly generated, keeping each one unique. I would not have even noticed this if I hadn’t read about it. It took me going on five or six different solo dives to notice that occasionally there is more coral, or an underwater structure to explore.

coral cod endless ocean luminous
Image Source: Arika/Nintendo via Twinfinite

The diving itself is relaxing and fun with plenty of fish to discover, including some pretty amazing creatures. As you swim in your customizable scuba gear, your job is to scan any lifeforms you find and pick up mysterious treasures. Once scanned, you can take a photo to record each type of fish.

You can choose to go out on a solo dive or dive with up to 30 others in an online multiplayer. The experience of a shared dive is okay, although there is nothing to set it apart from a solo dive other than other people being there. The best thing about a shared dive is your XP is boosted when you have a swim buddy with you. Plus the emotes are cute.

Endless Ocean Luminous has included a multitude of real sea life as well as extinct and mythical sea beasts. My only gripe is that it would have been better to have a separate mode for mythical sea creatures. I much prefer to find, scan, and catalogue sealife that actually exists. But maybe that’s just me. Once the creature is scanned, you can check it in your logbook. Here you can find fun facts about it, including how many times you have seen one during your dives.

multiplayer endless ocean luminous
Image Source: Arika/Nintendo via Twinfinite

There is a thrill to coming across something as magnificent as a whale shark or humpback whale. This is especially true when you have been swimming about scanning shoals of tiny fishies only to look up and see the great beast looming over you. Other small thrills come from finding an immensely deep trench and diving headfirst into the darkness. The fish and other sea life are lit by your headtorch, making many of them look more eerie than usual. That slight shiver you get from shining your light on a freaky-looking fish is, unfortunately, as close to a sense of jeopardy as you will experience.

If we compare it to Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep, we may feel like we are missing out. The addition of aggressive creatures and a pulsar weapon in Adventures of the Deep was key to the excitement. In Endless Ocean Luminous, however, this is distinctly lacking. It makes no sense to be swimming next to sharks and not have them even try to nibble your flippers. We are told that this fictional sea has a mysteriously calming effect on the creatures living there… But that doesn’t explain this beast:

thanatos endless ocean luminous
Image Source: Arika/Nintendo via Twinfinite

I mean, look at him all battle-scarred and bloodied. His name is Thanatos, for goodness sake, it literally means “The Death Instinct”! For me, it would have really kicked this game into second gear if there had been some conflict. Nothing too tough, this is a cozy scuba diving game after all, but something to give it some zest.

I hoped some of the excitement would come from the story mode but it is just too slow-moving. You unlock each chapter after you have scanned a specific number of fish while out on a solo (or shared) dive. I found this tedious.

The number of required fish seemed high and this was only compounded by the fact I didn’t come across many shoals of fish during my first dive. It is far easier to scan 1000 fish if some of them are in a group of 20+. Once you fill your quota and you can continue the story, it is so short that it barely feels worth it. There is an eco-based theme to the story previous Endless Ocean players will recognize, with a bit of added ‘mysteries of the deep’ fun.

The lack of threat aside, Endless Ocean Luminous is pretty average. The graphics are fine, the mass multiplayer is cool, and the creatures are interesting. If you like to have a list to complete and a love of the ocean, then this game is perfect. If, however, you are looking for something that offers more than just a peaceful swim and a slow-moving story, then it may not be worth your time.

Endless Ocean Luminous
The lack of threat aside, Endless Ocean Luminous is pretty average. The graphics are fine, the mass multiplayer is cool, and the creatures are interesting. If you like to have a list to complete and a love of the ocean, then this game is perfect. If, however, you are looking for something that offers more than just a peaceful swim and a slow-moving story, then it may not be worth your time.
Pros
  • Relaxing
  • Easy to play
  • Interesting and varied creatures
Cons
  • Poorly paced story mode
  • No jeopardy
  • Repetitive environments
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

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Author
Rowan Jones
Rowan is a writer from Devon, U.K with a BA in Education Studies. The first video game Rowan fell in love with was Treasure Island Dizzy on the ZX Spectrum but has since progressed to bigger and better titles. She has been writing game guides for mobile and console since 2020 within Gamurs Group. Rowan has a love/hate relationship with Dead By Daylight and a completely healthy obsession with Fortnite.