Review: Call of the Sea

Review: Call of the Sea

At XBNL we already had Call of the Sea on the radar for a long time. The trailer looked super-intriggered and the whole thing had a kind of Sea of Thieves style in the graphic area. But does Call of the Sea also intrigue as a game?

Call of the Sea is set in the 1930s. You play the sick woman Norah who wants to find her husband Henry. What’s the matter? Henry went on an expedition to find a cure for Norah’s illness. She has occasional seizures, all spots on her hands and can barely walk. Henry has heard there’s a cure for her symptoms on a remote island, so he and a group have traveled there. He hasn’t been heard from for three months at the beginning of the game, so Norah decides to go out herself.

In the game Norah is as fit as can be in terms of movement, so you can just walk. It all starts pretty slow and she also walks quite slowly, which is quite irritating from time to time. The game aspires a little bit to the mystery that Bioshock also has. You go to an unknown place and there you find puzzles and intrigues about what happened. That’s exactly what you do in Call of the Sea, but now it goes hand in hand with Norah’s internal dialogue and that’s pretty good. A good voice actress has been hired and her dialogue fits in well.

Puzzles, riddles, brainteasers

Call of the Sea is a string of puzzles and riddles. On the island you have to find Sea of Thieves-style objects, modify them, rotate them, collect them etc. in order to move on to the next area. These puzzles all tie in with the bigger story and everything offers more and more information about what Henry did during the expedition. It makes you just enough interest to get on with the game. The puzzles can be quite tough. The game doesn’t give you any hints and sometimes you really have to walk back and forth five times to check if you missed something and that’s 9 times out of 10. If this kind of gameplay frustrates you, don’t play it. I had to take a walkthrough once, because I just couldn’t get out. Apparently, I had one thing left over that made it impossible for me to complete a certain puzzle. I am constantly amazed at how developers can come up with such puzzles at all.

Audiovisual

To be honest, the trailer earlier this year was quite impressive, but the game itself actually looks just like an Xbox One game. There is nothing “next-gen” about it. The graphic style is beautiful, the environments are really fantastic. They are colorful and full of vegetation and details. It all looks just fine. I didn’t encounter any bugs or anything, everything works fine.

Call of the Sea has a nice soundtrack and to be honest I got goosebumps everywhere at one moment. What I saw on the picture in combination with the music was just a big spectacle. Very impressive. Luckily the music is not too present, so you have a nice concentration to focus on the puzzles.

What makes Call of the Sea unique?

The gameplay of Call of the Sea is not necessarily innovative and the game is also quite short (after 4 to 5 hours you are done with it). What makes this game so unique is the combination of the story and the puzzles. Norah’s internal dialogue isn’t boring, the game has a nice pace and although the story takes certain twists and turns that you expect somewhere, but are also too weird somewhere, it does captivate you enough to continue.

Conclusion

My review’s pretty short, I know. Call of the Sea is “just a good game”

with challenging puzzles and riddles, combined with story and excellent audio-visual accompaniment. However, it does not stand out as a game or does not do anything you do not expect. The storytelling is at most what makes this puzzle game better than many other puzzle games, but that’s all.

The conclusion of Call of the Sea is otherwise quite simple. Are you a fan of Myst-like games in the graphic style of Sea of Thieves and even with the riddles you encounter in that same pirate game? Then you can definitely go get this game or of course download it from the Xbox Game Pass. Don’t like slow puzzle games with an emphasis on story and want to see regular action? Then leave this game alone.

Published at Sat, 12 Dec 2020 17:53:48 +0000