Top 11 Water-Themed Video Games That Left a Lasting Impression on Players

  • Henry Williams
  • Jul 07, 2024
  • 39
Top 11 Water-Themed Video Games That Left a Lasting Impression on Players

Who fears the vast depths? Let's submerge ourselves in a selection of games featuring water-centric play or settings. The impending release of Endless Ocean Luminous on the Nintendo Switch has prompted us at Gamereactor to revisit a range of video games that immerse players in aquatic worlds and have left a significant impression on us. From expansive oceans to intense diving escapades, effervescent platformers, and the formidable dread of submerged metropolises, we're confident many will resonate with you. Disagree? Share your top picks for water-based gaming adventures! Here's a curated list (in no particular order) that invites you to plunge into oceanic exploration. Gear up and dive right in!

Endless Ocean Luminous

Despite its simplistic presentation and lack of diversity by today's standards, Endless Ocean Luminous allows for serene engagement with the underwater realm. The exploration-focused game from Arika, initially released in 2007 for the Wii, lets players discover over 500 aquatic species. This modern Switch version even supports a 30-player group diving experience for cooperative exploration.

Sea of Thieves

Embark on a seafaring journey filled with treasure hunts, fishing, team-based quests, and explosive naval battles in the boundless world of Sea of Thieves. The game offers a mix of solitary exploration and team play, with Rare's game reaching new heights when played with friends. Featuring broad quests steeped in lore and formidable foes like spectral adversaries and mythical sea beasts, the high seas are brimming with challenge and mystery. Engage in player-versus-player encounters that demand skillful maneuvering and strategy to ensure your vessel remains afloat.


Survival is paramount in Subnautica's extraterrestrial ocean. Stranded on an alien planet, players must navigate a host of dangers from the shallows to the abyss. With sunlit corals and cavernous trenches, it presents a dichotomy of beauty and peril. Daylight reveals a vibrant underwater landscape, while night uncovers a menacing realm. Crafting tools and building habitats are crucial to progressing through this captivating marine-themed classic.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Link's nautical ventures in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker have solidified it as a landmark contribution to the long-running Nintendo series. The game initially met with mixed reactions due to its distinctive art style, but now stands out for its free-roaming ocean and dynamic wind-based navigation. With numerous islands and maritime hazards, this iteration of Link's tale is a standout chapter, complete with enchanting puzzles and magical elements. The game's unique, expressive art, marked by Link's magnified ocular expressions, was designed to guide players along their journey while fitting the vibrant cartoon aesthetic.

Assassin's Creed: Black Flag

Assassin's Creed: Black Flag sails to the heart of the 18th-century piracy era. Set amongst the islands of the Caribbean, the game narrative takes players on expeditions to Havana, Nassau, and Kingston, enriched with thoroughly researched historical contexts. Maritime gameplay is central to the experience, including harpoon hunting and underwater exploration. Naval combat plays a significant role with stealth tactics and direct confrontations available for engagement across various side missions.

Ecco the Dolphin

In the groundbreaking Ecco the Dolphin, players navigate aquatic landscapes and unravel the destiny of a lone dolphin set adrift by a baffling storm. This title, originating in the early 90s for the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis), deviates from traditional platformers of its era by offering an exclusive aquatic environment. Players must traverse through past epochs and mythical locations to save the dolphin's pod from extraterrestrial captors - a narrative as intriguing as its origins, inspired by marine biologist John C. Lilly's unconventional research.

Wave Race 64

Wave Race 64 is a celebrated jet ski racing game from the Nintendo 64 era. Boasting pure arcade thrills with an array of environments and courses, the game shines with its groundbreaking 3D water physics, enhancing the realism and enjoyment of racing through challenging circuits filled with jumps, deep waters, and turbulence.


In SOMA, players adopt the role of Simon Jarret, a man coping with the aftermath of a tragic accident. Waking up in an abysmal abandoned research center, the game fosters an atmosphere of psychological terror. With its profound science fiction narrative, ominous robotic adversaries, and unnerving human-like entities, participants must navigate the eerie depths in a bid for survival. The game's setting and environmental craftsmanship foster an ambiance ripe for exploration and tension.


BioDive into BioShock's immersive, terrifying underwater realm known as Rapture. This art-deco-inspired utopian society forms the backdrop for a first-person saga that blends simmering suspense with the strategic use of environmental elements and biological enhancements to gain the upper hand in confrontations. As the opening act of a game series that eventually spanned three renowned titles, BioShock stands out for its unforgettable underwater city and the promise of a highly anticipated forthcoming installment.

Dave the Diver

Dave the Diver carved out its niche among the indie game successes, presenting the dual experience of oceanic expeditions and nocturnal sushi restaurant management. As Dave, players upgrade their gear and delve into the watery world to supply the restaurant with the freshest ingredients. The game balances exploration with culinary business strategy, gradually revealing the deeper secrets of the marine environment.


Maneater brings a ferocious twist to open-world chaos, casting players as a formidable shark on a quest for survival and vengeance. Evolving from a mere predator into a massive Megalodon, this outrageous odyssey takes inspiration from oceanic tales and cult classics, allowing players to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting humans that stand in their path.


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