I’m a simple gamer when it comes to horror games. If you say “Lovecraft” I say “yes.” It’s very simple, and I’m proud to make that my policy. In all seriousness, though, I love anything that deals with the unknown or cosmic horror. That’s why Deep Ones caught my eye.
The colorful and vibrant ZX Spectrum style graphics sealed the deal. Should you dive into this undersea adventure, or will all the scares be replaced by frustration? Read on to find out.
A Clunky and Frustrating Experience
While Deep Ones promises an experience inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, I didn’t detect this beyond the presence of an undersea creature, and a setting that dives into the unknown. The game’s description also promises things like a philosophical story that never showed up at any point.
There isn’t really a story at all to speak of, which was a big disappointment for me, as I loved the ideas that the game promised. Moving past the initial impressions, once you get into the game, you’ll run across the environments with very little light to guide your way.
The darkness is claustrophobic in a good way, but the controls feel very clunky. The jumping and movement aren’t very responsive. Furthermore, the harpoon gun that you use for combat has a very long delay between when you press the button, and when you fire.
It all combines to feel like the game is missing a significant amount of polish. This is further compounded by a large variety of enemies that aren’t very interesting. Boss fights tend to mix things up, but their designs aren’t unique or Lovecraftian like the game would have you believe.
The platforming is pretty basic, with some variety, but everything Deep Ones just feels undercooked from every angle. If the controls had been tighter, the shooting more responsive, and the design more engaging, this could have been a fun little retro platformer.
As it stands, without the inclusion of a story, the gameplay just isn’t strong enough to carry the rest of the experience.
Colorful ZX Spectrum Presentation
One thing I did really like about Deep Ones, was the ZX Spectrum styled graphics. Bright neon colors combine well with the dark and claustrophobic atmosphere. The soundtrack, while interesting most of the time, really grated on me when I died.
When you spawn, you drop onto a checkpoint and this long succession of beeps follows you down. It’s just an odd sound choice and one that always annoyed me more than any respawn music should.
Deep Ones is a decent attempt at a retro side-scroller, but it promises a lot more than it delivers. What we end up with is a mixture of frustration and what could have been.
Final Score: 5.0/10
A copy of Deep Ones was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 5/17/18