Highwater is a small chamber adventurous game with elements of a turn-based strategy about the end of the world. A melancholic, sentimental, cozy end of the world. We’re not sure if this game can be soothing, but it definitely has something meditative about it.

Game Highwater
Genre strategy/adventure
Platforms Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, Android (Netflix), iOS (Netflix)
Languages English
Developer Demagog Studio
Publisher Rogue Games

Things brought by the flood

In fact, Highwater was released a year ago on Android and iOS, but exclusively for Netflix users. Recently, the game was released on Windows PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch. And it seems to us that this project has received little attention.

Highwater is a prequel to Golf Club: Nostalgia (originally titled Golf Club: Wasteland) from the same Serbian studio Demagog. This is a story about the last days of humanity on Earth before the richest members of society leave the dying planet and move to Mars. In Golf Club: Nostalgia, the dead Earth is already used as a large field for entertainment, such as the same golf.

In fact, Demagog Studio has recently released another game in the series, The Cub, which reveals that the Earth is not dead yet.

Looking for a friend for the end of the world

The characters of Highwater want to catch the Hope, a big ship that will take the rich to Mars. But they have neither a ticket nor money, so they are going to somehow bypass the guards and get on board as hares. It’s a pretty motley bunch of eccentrics who don’t seem to want to leave Earth, but there’s nothing left to catch.

The characters travel in a rubber boat through the flooded outskirts of Alphaville, trying to find a way to get inside, to the ship. As in The Flame in the Flood, they visit small islands, ruins of a former civilization in search of resources, weapons, etc. And from time to time they fight for resources with insurgents, people from Alphaville, wildlife, and so on.

The battles in Highwater are turn-based and are actually a kind of puzzle, the key to which must be found by combining the abilities of the characters, their weapons, and objects in the environment that have a significant impact on the battle. For example, enemies can be thrown into a chasm, hit by a tree or a cabinet, pushed with a wheelchair, blown up by their robots, and so on. In fact, the combat part is quite simple, and it is also very slow. While the enemies are “waking up” for their turn, you can fall asleep.

Radio Nostalgia

An indispensable part of all Demagog Studio games is a fantastic indie soundtrack, tailored exactly to the specific events of the game, very well woven into the narrative. Instead of the Nostalgia from Mars radio (no, not this Nostalgia), which was operating in the Golf Club: Nostalgia and The Cub, the songs and reports here are broadcast by Highwater Pirate Radio, also a kind of prequel to Nostalgia Radio.

The DJ’s comments and songs complement the game’s atmosphere well. However, sometimes the developers delay or stop the gameplay for several minutes to scroll through a specific song or even a kind of game clip.

Another important part of Highwater is the brutal socialist architecture of Serbia, and specifically Belgrade, which is used as the game’s setting. The monument in Kosmaj, the monument in Podgorje (Croatia), the Genex Tower or the Western Gate of Belgrade, typical “Soviet” panels, etc.

In addition, Highwater has many interesting references, such as to the work of the artist Simon Stolenhagen, or to classical Greek myths, as well as surprisingly witty humor. There are both quite subtle jokes about classic books and quite straightforward mockery of Bezos and Musk.

4 hours of melancholy

Highwater is not a very big game, there are only 3.5-4 hours of gameplay, leisurely traveling on a rubber boat between islands, unhurried turn-based battles, and musical radio breaks. But this game, as well as other Demagog Studio games, has something special about it. Perhaps this is one of those mythical games with a soul.

Perhaps the price tag of 415 UAH is a bit high for a former mobile game, but we recommend adding Highwater to your Wish List and buying it at one of the next sales.

P.S. After completing the main game, two more small Post Scriptum will appear with new missions and characters on Earth and… on Mars.