Call of the Sea – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, Puzzle
Developer: Out of the Blue Games S.L.
Publisher: Raw Fury
Platform: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Tested On: Xbox One

Call of the Sea – Review

Site Score
8.3
Good: Great atmopshere with colorful environments and an engaging story
Bad: Walking around and controlling puzzles feels a bit unnatural or slow
User Score
8.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Often we experience Lovecraftian-themed games as dark and mysterious. Gritty even. The inescapable gaze from Cthulhu that’s locked on us, watching us during the entire game certainly evokes the proper atmosphere. While Call of the Sea could be considered Lovecraftian-themed and still has some mystery, it contrasts the dark world of the sea with some amazingly bright graphics and a different approach.

Story

The player plays through the eyes of Norah Everhart, a woman who is afflicted with a disease that is causing spots on her hands to appear. A good friend of hers, named Harry, went on an expedition to a peculiar island in the hope of helping Norah with her affliction. Not having heard from Harry for a while, Norah tries to track him down by going to the island herself. She quickly discovers that the tracks left behind by the expedition team are littered with mysteries for her to solve, which include a lot of puzzles.

The entire setting of the game, as well as the puzzling, is reminiscent of games such as Myst, the old-school first-person point-and-click adventure. Though this time, you get to walk around freely. At times you are accompanied by an animated cutscene, but most of the time you will discover new information by simply exploring and picking up notes and objects. This is how the game communicates the story, while your actions are also narrated by Cissy Jones, a well-known voice actor from other indie games such as Firewatch.

Graphics

While we played the Xbox One version and it was a little bit disappointing compared to the original Call of the Sea screenshots from a high-end PC, it’s still very enjoyable to look at. Since the groundwork of a bright and colorful world is done well in styling and programming, the game offers nice views, even for those with low-end machines. Animations you see will mostly be interactive puzzles, and while your character does show her hands occasionally when it’s important to the story, she feels a bit floaty the rest of the time. This is enforced by the gameplay which doesn’t really simulate you walking around well, but instead hands you what feels like a controllable “vessel” to solve puzzles. That being said, you go through many beautiful environmental designs rather fast, and it’s a great experience that really feels like going through other worlds.

Sound

The fact that Cissy Jones is doing the main voice must be an indication of the project’s serious approach to sound, right? Right! Call of the Sea has some great individual sound effects, voices, and background music. It’s all mixed together to create a near-perfect cinematic, atmospheric experience. Call of the Sea has everything you’d expect in a game like this, and there’s just nothing bad to be found here.

Gameplay

In Call of the Sea, you’ll be walking around exploring the environment a lot. What essentially happens is that in each chapter, you are put into a confined (large) level where there are multiple puzzles and hints to be found in various ways. It’s a combination between an adventure game and puzzling, though the adventure part is not composed of action, just of exploration and story-delivered tension. Like any good game, you also have a notebook where most hints will appear. Watch out though, most hints. Sometimes you have to look at specific things to actually add them to the notes, sometimes it can be convenient to take a quick snap of something with your (real-life) phone or get your own notebook.

The gameplay is enjoyable as there is a clear increasing difficulty in the puzzles and the game somehow manages to feel accessible to all. Perhaps this is thanks to all the colorful environments, but even when getting scarier, it never feels too scary. A bit like an old school cartoon where the creators weren’t that concerned with giving you nightmares yet. Puzzles are done by yanking the analog sticks to all sides to see what can be selected, which feels a bit clunky, but aside from the controls not always working smoothly, the game has a lot going for itself with how it presents itself.

This is because ultimately, Call of the Sea offers an experience. It blends the story, gameplay, graphics, and sound really well. The puzzles are generally well done while they might require investing a bit of time. In short, the game makes doing puzzles somehow exciting as it shrouds every place you reach in mystery and mystical scenery.

Conclusion

Call of the Sea is a properly constructed game that has its focus on the story and the puzzle aspects. By properly blending every element you find in a game, they make an enjoyable experience for those longing for an adventure. With a story full of surprises and mystical puzzles, colorful and interesting graphics, and even proper sound, this is simply a good adventure/puzzling game.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Call of the Sea - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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