“Call of the Sea” is a brand new Adventure/Puzzle game available on Xbox Series X and PC. It was developed by “Out of the Blue Games S.L” and published by “Raw Fury” as their debut title. With its lush colors and compelling story, “Call of the Sea” is an amazing addition to the adventure/puzzle genre and today we will explore why. This will be a spoiler-free review so feel free to read without worry.
In “Call of the Sea” you take the role of Norah Everhart, a woman in the 1930’s who has been struck by a strange disease. Her husband, Harry ventures to a mysterious island in search of a cure but fails to return. A year goes by and still no word from her husband. However, a mysterious package arrives in the mail and its contents beckon Norah to adventure. Now she must travel to the island in search of her one true love and uncover the truth behind his disappearance. Will she find him alive? What will she discover while trekking through the jungle?
“Call of the Sea” focuses on reeling you in with its characters and narrative. Like many other games of its kind, there are notes and collectibles that give you insight into the big picture. The journal is neatly presented with photographs and drawings which build up as you discover more about the events that transpired. Norah is also voice acted by “Cissy Jones“ who gives a stellar performance throughout the experience. Like the island, Norah is likable and interesting to learn more about.
The narrative for “Call of the Sea” has some semi Lovecraftian elements to it. However, it never delves into the horror aspects too much. So don’t worry. You won’t be chased down by a tentacle beast or have to hide from danger. Aside from having “some” creature imagery, it’s quite calm in tone and does not break away from its adventure theme.
Art Direction 10/10
“Call of the Sea” takes place on a Polynesian island full of mystery and intrigue. The art style complements the setting quite well with its vibrant colors and soft textures. “Call of the Sea” looks especially gorgeous on the brand new Xbox Series X. It runs at 4K and 60fps and it really helps the visuals pop out. One of the more beautiful sights of course is the sea and underwater portions of the game. There is a rich blue hue that fills the watery depths with life.
“Call of the Sea” knows how to make the island feel magical. This is especially true when the color pallets change as you progress through the chapters. There are beautiful orange skies during the sunset and greenish eerie hues as you explore shipwrecks. If I had to describe the game’s art style I would use the term “dream-like”. Much like the narrative, the experience itself feels very much like walking through a dream world or a fantasy.
Graphics aside, what’s the gameplay like? At its heart “Call of the Sea” is a single-player, adventure, with an emphasis on puzzle-solving. There are no monsters chasing you and there is no combat system. “Call of the Sea” instead has an emphasis on exploration and discovery. There are many puzzles that need to be solved as you explore the island. Some minor while others major. Progress is dictated by one grand puzzle which serves as a gateway to each new area. Smaller puzzles will need to be solved in order to gather all the clues you need to tackle the larger one.
As you progress, the puzzles will begin to get more complex. You will need to find notes or analyze patterns like any other adventure puzzle game. During my playthrough, it felt like the puzzles were well designed with plenty of “Aha!” moments when you finally figure out the solution. None of the puzzles feel cheap. Everything can be solved without resorting to a let’s play.
Sound Design 10/10
No game is complete without a good sound design. Luckily “Call of the Sea” nails this perfectly. As mentioned before voice acting is on point throughout the game. Norah’s dialogue is voiced really well and you want to know what goes through her head whenever you interact with something new. In fact, I might even go as far as to say an entire audiobook narrated in this voice would be very welcomed.
The soundtrack for the game is also something special. It whisks you away from the real world and onto the island. The music makes you think of far-off adventures and the best way to describe it would be as atmospheric. It has a way of calming you down as you explore sunny beaches but at the same time drop you into the desolate atmosphere of a shipwreck. The soundtrack can fill you with suspense or wonder. I highly recommend playing with headphones to truly immerse yourself.
“Call of the Sea” is a pretty solid experience from start to finish, however, it does suffer a few technical issues if you were to play it today. Some voice lines do tend to overlap each other at some points and it is possible that a puzzle glitches out and you need to restart. However, there is nothing truly game-breaking and the glitches don’t happen frequently. At the time of writing this, the game has only been out for two days so hopefully, there will be a patch to smoothen the experience.
My only other complaint is about the lack of an FOV slider. The default settings feel a bit zoomed in at times and playing on console doesn’t allow you to change that. Luckily I managed to try the game on PC thanks to the always welcome service, Gamepass. Unfortunately despite having a few more settings to play around with the FOV slider is also absent. There is an option to change the camera angle on the PC version however it seems the setting was glitched out as it refused to budge from 75.
Overall I have to give this game a 9.5 out of 10. I highly recommend this game to anyone that enjoys solving puzzles or just enjoys the adventure aesthetic. The art style, storytelling, and puzzles all blend together perfectly to create a brand new experience from a familiar foundation. “Call of the Sea” is available on PC and Xbox. The game just dropped on Gamepass so if you’re interested in checking it out feel free to do so.