Game Review: Call of the Sea

Release date: 2020
Version played: Xbox Series X in 2020

A first person puzzle-adventure game developed by Out of the Blue, Call of the Sea is the story of Norah, a woman afflicted by a mysterious illness, who travels to an island off the coast of Tahiti, intending to find her husband, Harry, who had also been exploring the island in order to find a cure for Norah’s affliction. Presented in first person, players are tasked with solving puzzles to progress inland, following the remains of Harry’s camp while learning what happened to the previous expedition and uncovering the history of the island itself.

+ overall, the puzzles are quite engaging. I managed to solve all but one of them without much hassle, the harder ones taking no more than ten minutes or so until I actually figure out what to do
+ Norah automatically records things the game deems important (that is, things which *are* important) and you can access them at the press of a button even while in the middle of solving a puzzle
+ I’m a sucker for these cartoony, semi cel-shaded graphics, and the game reminded me a lot of RiME¬†and Pneuma: Breath of Life in style and substance, respectively. A few moments in particular hit me like that final twist in The Witness, as well

– the game is quite short, and I finished it in a single sitting of approximately six hours. As mentioned above, only one puzzle gave me particular difficulty, and was the only time a trial and error attempt was made — this puzzle was right at the end, as well, so maybe it was meant to be exceedingly difficult, but it felt unfair
– as a petty complaint, I found the ending of the story to be a bit lacklustre. I won’t explain entirely why, but I’ll just say the final moment doesn’t really fit with the rest of the narrative

> I’ve mentioned before that I am not a big fan of the ocean/being underwater, so some of this game was quite tense for me, even as Norah espoused just how beautiful everything was

Should you play this game: I bought this on a whim after seeing a snippet in that “This Week in Xbox” deal on the console home page, and I am not disappointed. It was short but sweet, and has a handful of collectibles to go back to. It’s a perfectly fine one or two session game.

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