Call of the Sea: Avoid Scurvy and Solve Some Oceanic Obstacles

Call of the Sea indie game

Okay, Call of the Sea is by indie developer Out of the Blue in Madrid, Spain. The 3D adventure game launched in December 2020 to good reviews.

Playing out with a first-person perspective, you visit a tropical island to solve a mystery (and try not to get scurvy). It’s legendary puzzle solving Monkey Island stuff, but to the tune of FPS. Not bad, eh? Ecky thump!

Posh British Accents and a Beautiful Tropical Island in… Call of the Sea

Thanks to the groovy peeps over at LaterLevels (see my point-and-click pet peeves), we’ve become familiar with FPS adventure puzzle games. Plus, the murder mystery genre (and occasional dating simulator).

We thunked recently, as Call of the Sea was free on Epic Games, to give one of these new fangled adventure games a whirl.

Thusly, here we are! This genre is methodical and relies on perseverance, problem solving, and other shizzles. In other words, you need a working brain to make progress, receiving a sense of satisfaction as you do so.

In Call of the Sea, you take control of posh British lady Norah Everhart. Set in the 1930s, she’s on a mission to find her adventuring husband Harry.

She determines he’s on an island east of Otaheite (now called Tahiti).

Harry was searching for a cure to Norah’s mystery illness, but after his disappearance she now wants to find him, have a spot of tea, and consume a cucumber sandwich.

With that setup done, you arrive on the island… and off you go exploring! This is how Chapter 1 goes.

Okay, we’re familiar with this genre (adventure games) thanks to the Monkey Island series, new takes on it like Firewatch (2016), and the brilliant Papetura (2021).

Call of the Sea pits you into the mix, with rather fetching graphics, and leaves you to go off and solve everything. And you’re really on your own here—you get clues, but it’s down to you to solve the likes of bridge lowering, terrain traversing, and what in the name of bloody hell happened to Harry’s expedition.

However, and spoilers ahead, the game takes a surprising H. P. Lovecraftian turn over its five hour gameplay run.

Norah’s mystery illness actually means she’s slowly transforming into a blubbering amphibious monster. It’s your job to decided whether to accept this fate (as Norah), or reject it one. Either way, there are some Cthulhu-based decisions to make here.

As with the best adventure games, the game does pit you into a gorgeous looking world and leaves you basking in the joys of its beauty (and leering, engrossing, dreamlike horror).

There’s a jaunt soundtrack to go with it by composer Eduardo De La Igesia, which has some memorable moments. Although, on the whole, most pieces hover in the background not really standing out.

Despite its many excellent moments, we must say some of the the game’s puzzles are a bit… you know. Cryptic (i.e. annoying).

And Norah’s constant narration over the top of the gameplay gets irritating, as it’s enforced exposition about the plot that’s just a bit stupid:

“You left over a year ago, Harry, and [lots of other explaining exactly what’s happened, even though I, Norah, would never talk like this as one is not a weirdo, but one shall do this anyway as one must talk down to the player hoh hoh hoooh!].”

Call of the Sea plays out in chapters, which nods back to the legendary Myst series, with one main puzzle as the centrepiece. Around that are mini-puzzles that add up to complete the whole.

And, well, we enjoyed it all! It’s atmospheric, has a great look about it, and draws you into a sense of time and place.

It doesn’t outstay its welcome either, with a short running time that builds effectively towards a monstrous conclusion. With a sense of marital loss at the end of it all. Bon? Oui.

Dispense with some gibberish!

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