National Geographic’s Deepsea Challenge Dives onto iOS

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National Geographic Society has announced the launch of Deepsea Challenge on iOS devices. The game was created as a mobile companion to the new documentary James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge 3D, and sees players exploring the ocean’s depths as a pilot of a deep-water submarine.

Screenshot-iphone5-02In Deepsea Challenge, players complete nine levels, or dives, each to increasingly deeper depths. They’ll have a few goals to complete in each, from taking pictures of animals or even capturing them with the vessel to landing on the ocean floor and collecting sediment.

Gamers control their submarine’s movement by tilting their device left and right to send the sub in that direction. The dive path is marked by white rings, and while passing through them isn’t required to complete a stage, doing so gives players bonus money. Special green rings are also available, which turn on auto-pilot and send the ship safely down the screen, automatically, for a limited amount of time.

Players also need to keep track of “dive protocols” while playing. These instances pop up on the right side of the screen, and see users sending their vitals back to the surface, turning on the lights for greater visibility, turning on sonar, the altimeter and so on.

The submarine is weighted and sinks automatically, but players can tap and hold on the screen to use their thrusters and shoot back up the screen. The water is littered with obstacles, like mines and debris, so players must avoid these items or risk taking damage to the ship’s hull. If the vessel is damaged enough, the expedition is a failure and players must try again.

Thankfully, users keep any funds they earned while playing, even if they fail a mission. These research funds can be used to purchase permanent upgrades to the sub, including extended battery life (which powers the thrusters), an increase to auto-pilot duration, a stronger hull that can stand up to a greater beating and so on.

National Geographic’s Deepsea Challenge is available to download for $3.99 on iOS. The game is targeted at users 9-13 years old.