Call of the Sea Review
Call of the Sea is an adventure puzzle game that’s a tribute to old archaeological adventure serials. Set in 1934, you play as Nora Everhart, a woman suffering from a strange skin malady that causes dark spots to appear on her hands. Her husband Harry set off to a mysterious island in the South Pacific in search of a potential cure, but all contact with him has been lost. The game opens as you disembark from the ship you chartered to take you to the island and begin your quest to find Harry.
Call of the Sea is not a traditional adventure game in the sense that you won’t be spending your time collecting items into an inventory to use to interact with other items or each other. It’s not even a side-scroller, instead giving you a 3D world to explore from a first-person viewpoint. The game is divided into a series of chapters, with each chapter consisting of a series of puzzles that must be solved to open the entrance to the next area and the transition to the next chapter. Each area is centered on a campsite abandoned by Harry and his expedition, and you must search the camps for notes and artifacts that both help you to piece together what happened to the expedition and provide clues to help you solve the game’s puzzles. A handy journal feature keeps track of the important bits of information for you, and as an added bonus it separates the narrative elements from the puzzle clues into separate sections for you. As you discover clues, they will be drawn into the journal at their prescribed positions rather than in the order in which they are found, so a blank spot on a page is in itself a clue that you have missed a clue somewhere.
The puzzles are all of the same style and involve aligning symbols or mechanisms into the right sequence or pattern. The game manages to keep the puzzles feeling like different challenges in spite of their shared mechanics, and sticking with the theme helps to incorporate the puzzles as a part of the narrative – you won’t have to inexplicably solve a chess puzzle to open a door in this game. I found the challenge level of the puzzles to be good – some were pretty straightforward and some required a little time to work out, but nothing struck me as unfair or overly difficult.
I really enjoyed the look of the game. The game’s art style, environments, and bold colors evoke thoughts of a quality, hand-drawn animated feature and add to the game’s sense of mystery and adventure. There were times I found myself pausing to admire a scene or vista before moving on to the next step in the task at hand. The voice-acting is basically a one woman show, with Cissy Jones doing excellent work of bringing Nora’s extensive internal monologue to life.
Call of the Sea is an enjoyable adventure. The story and setting are refreshingly different from what you’ll find in other games this season, and the puzzles are challenging enough to require some thought but not so much so to be frustrating. If you enjoy puzzles, you’ll enjoy your trip to the South Pacific.
Final Rating: 80% - Logic puzzle fans should answer the call.