Song of the Deep isn’t perfect but it is certainly one of the better adventure games to come out in recent memory. From the creators of the much loved franchise, Ratchet & Clank, Song of the Deep is a metroidvania style adventure game which follows a young girl's quest into the unknown to find her missing father.
Gameplay is quite simple, you control Merryn, who is inside her newly built submarine. You explore the depths of the sea in your little submarine and will come across some less than friendly beings along the way. The combat system in Song of the Deep is essentially a fun experience. There are various ways you can kill an enemy, whether it be with your grappling gun, or by using pieces of the environment to blow them to smithereens. The game’s controls are very nicely designed, with slick movement being key when using a game controller. Song of the Deep’s boss fights are a nice combination of gear checks and skill checks; a boss should be easily beatable if you have obtained all of the equipment that has been presented before hand, as well as a nifty bit of skill here and there too.
One of the more key parts of a metroidvania game, is the element of backtracking. The game’s easy-to-understand map makes this feel less of a chore and more of an aspect of the game you’ll enjoy as much as going forward. Not only will the map point out areas that hold treasures, but will also point you in the direction of where you need to go in order to continue the story.
A slight issue I found with the gameplay would be the periodic save points, they are scattered around levels, but a common problem with this type of save system, is that you can sometimes be screwed over by it. You can be at the very end of a level, close to beating it, only to get destroyed by a man-eating clam, and it can sometimes send you right to the middle of the level again just because the save system says so. This has obviously done on purpose by the developers but the game could quite easily have been the same experience but with a regular save system in from the start.
This game looks absolutely gorgeous. The beautiful layered 2D work of the game blew me away at times. The simplistic animation style looks like something straight out of a Pixar movie. Not to mention the beautiful story book art throughout the cut scenes. Song of the Deep also has some very impressive narration, not only do you get the story told through the narrator's relaxing voice, but it does a very good job of disguising tutorial based dialog too. This helps to prevent the player from breaking the immersive experience in front of them.
Song of the Deep is your average joe of games when it comes to difficulty. At no point was I ever stumped for an answer, but I never felt like I was simply walking through the game at ease either. Puzzles at the start are simple to ease the player into a way of thinking, but even after them, there isn’t any that really trouble the mind of any seasoned puzzle gamer. The game’s AI has been designed well too; the enemies actually feel like they have a brain and can sometimes prove to be a challenge, such as they will chase you if they know you are almost dead, there is no escaping a hungry ball of...spikes? The enemies throughout the game are normally your classic underwater sea creatures, but you will also find usually inanimate objects causing problems too, such as balls of spikes which are hungry for your blood. Whilst there is a good selection of enemies throughout the game, they do get fairly repetitive as the same couple of enemies will crop up all the way through the title. A few more here and there would of made for greater variety.
As with all metroidvania games, you need an interesting level design, Song of the Deep delivers here too. Whilst the puzzles offer no uniqueness when it comes to the execution, the game does offer it’s own spin on the game, whether it be slightly changing the way the puzzle acts, or with the addition of water mechanics being thrown into the mix too. The game world is huge, allowing the player to explore at their own will (equipment permitted). As well as progressing with the main story quest, you can also find various “side quests” throughout your adventure. These are your generic side quests, but they offer a slight tangent to take if you want a break from the main game, they will also add in extra story to your game too.
The main story in Song of the Deep doesn’t actually start until about two hours into the game. After that you are pretty much free to do what you want. Even after ten hours worth of main story mode, you still have plenty of things to do in the form of going back to previously unreachable areas of the map with your new found equipment and abilities. If you factor in all of the side quests and achievements on offer from this title, you can easily get about twelve hours worth of content out of it.
Only one minor technical problem did crop up; when saving at one of sporadically placed save points, you will get a huge frame drop, this can be very concerning as it makes the game feel like it is about to crash. That being said though, other loading times throughout are short and almost non-existent.
Overall, Song of the Deep’s negative points can easily be overlooked due to the large amounts of positives this game has. From the beautiful art style, to the simply fun combat system and adventure you will undertake; this game is one for any budding puzzle fan. At the low price of $14.99, you really can’t go wrong with this highly polished game.