Obsidian’s inch-high survival adventure Grounded is continuing its early access journey with the grand opening of the garden’s previously inaccessible koi pond, which brings with it a host of new underwater-themed creatures and mechanics starting today.
Grounded’s koi pond has, of course, stretched tantalisingly out across the bottom of the garden since the game’s early access launch in July, but its long-awaited opening – which can be experienced from today, 26th October, via the public test server ahead of its November release – aims to shake things up with a range of new underwater pursuits, including swimming and underwater combat, as players explore the thriving ecosystem beneath the pond’s surface.
Unsurprisingly, the koi pond brings with it one very mean koi – a hostile, battle-hardened predator that’s more terrifying shark than cute fishy pal. And alongside the koi, adventures can expect to encounter tadpoles, non-hostile water boatman, diving bell spiders (which, handily, leave pockets of air about the place as they swim around underwater), and enhanced, newly hostile versions of the existing water flea.
Of course, new creatures mean new crafting materials, which can, in turn, be used to create new items and equipment, including flippers, a diving mask and rebreather, even an underwater lantern. As for weapons, those that would ordinarily require wide swinging movements aren’t particularly effective underwater, so players will want to craft and equip daggers, spears, or even the new trident weapon – although the latter first requires figuring out a way to get down into the pond’s murky depths. And if things should go awry while underwater, never fear; backpacks dropped on death will, happily, float to the surface for retrieval.
Grounded’s latest update also brings new base building possibilities, giving players the chance to create an underwater safe haven using new tunnels and other base parts – although there are floating foundations and buoys too for those that prefer to stay above the surface.
Elsewhere, there are new areas and secrets for explorers to uncover, new story elements, new creature behaviours, and more. And looking further ahead still, Grounded game director Adam Brennecke has once again teased (during a recent presentation in which the above was revealed – thanks Eurogamer’s Zoe Delahunty-Light for sitting in) that flying creatures, a second tier for base building, overhauled labs, and tameable pets are coming in future updates.
Additionally, as announced previously, Xbox Series X/S players looking for some miniaturised garden adventure can dive into Grounded from launch day, with its Smart-Delivery-enabled update targeting 1080p/60fps on Series S and 4K/60fps on Series X.