The majority of games that we play come down to sheer violence, but there are those select few that act as palate cleansers. These are the Journey’s, the Flowers, the Unfinished Swans, the games that give you a quiet moment to put down the shooters and try something different for a change.
Song of the Deep is one such game. This metroidvania style game pairs a heartwarming tale with gorgeous graphics and a serene underwater setting. Does this game sing its song in tune, or is a little flat to be worth your time? It’s time to find out!
An Adventure For Any Age
Song of the Deep has a simple premise: you play as Merryn who is the daughter of a fisherman. Her father always beguiled her with stories of his travels and she loved hearing them, but then one day he didn’t come home.
Terrified, Merryn goes to work building a submarine in the hopes that she can brave the ocean’s depths and find out what happened to him. The game takes its story from two places: the creator’s daughter, and Irish folklore. It combines a whimsical world with a distinct visual style.
It’s the story behind the game that’s almost as interesting as the game itself. Done as a joint venture between Insomniac Games (of Ratchet & Clank fame), and GameStop (the video game company), this project was something the creator always wanted to do.
In a video interview, he talks about how he wanted to created a game that had a strong female protagonist. He wanted someone his daughter could look up to. Merryn in indeed that brave young girl that any young lady could see as a positive role model. She would easily fit into any Disney or Pixar movie without issue.
The story is narrated through storybook style cutscenes that, while simple, share in the game’s gushing amounts of style and heart. It’s not going to change your life, but it’s sure to crack a smile on even the most burned out Call of Duty player’s faces.
Go Light on the Metroidvania Gameplay, Will Ya?
The term metroidvania comes from a mashup of the games Metroid and Castlevania. It’s a common term used to classify 2D action adventure games that have an open map and multiple powerups to collect. As you explore, you’ll find areas and collectibles you can’t get until later.
The process of becoming stronger and gaining new skills, then returning to those closed areas, is the main concept of Metroidvania style games. Merryn’s sub acts as the primary means of the transportation in the game
In the beginning it is equipped with a claw that can be used to inflict damage, pull switches, or carry and throw items. For a good chunk of the game, you’ll be using this claw to whack enemies or throw ocean debris at them.
The controls feel floaty (pun intended) and that adds to the underwater feel, but it can also act as a barrier for some of the more intricate puzzles. There’s no dedicated way to aim your claw either, it fires in the direction you’re facing.
There will be moments of frustration as a result of this and the heavily physics-based puzzles, but I found that they were few and far between. Your experience may differ depending on how quickly you pick up the controls.
The difficulty felt just right for me, but you can crank it up if you’d like. Any higher and the quirks in the controls probably would have been more glaring, so keep that in mind. Overall though, it’s a competent, if simplified take on the metroidvania formula.
A Serene World of Mystery and Intrigue
Song of the Deep is a beautiful game, there’s no getting around that. The colors all pop off the screen, and the underwater vistas lend both wonder and mystery to every setting. The locations are varied enough to keep things visually interesting as well.
The thoughtful narration is nice on the ears and the music sets the tone perfectly. At the end of the day, this is another one of those small titles that really packs a visual punch from an artistic perspective.
Song of the Deep is fun and light take on the metroidvania style game. With a story that warms the heart and a beautiful world to match, I can forgive some of the control quirks. At $14.99, you really can’t go wrong either. This is one song I don’t mind returning to when the world of shooters gets me down.
Final Score: 8.0/10
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 7/19/16