I must admit that I get drawn towards artistic looking games more often compared to regular games, especially those that tell an interesting story. During the Inside Xbox showcase earlier this year, many interesting games were highlighted, but one that really caught my attention was a small indie game called Call of the Sea, which follows Norah Everhart, a woman who, after her husband goes missing on an expedition to find a cure for her mysterious illness, takes it upon herself to visit the very same island to find said husband and hopefully solve the island’s mystery.
A Tropical Beauty
Call of the sea is a narrative puzzle game that really flexes its artistic muscles to the player right from the start. The game has a colorful and tropical aesthetic, which makes sense as you’ll be undergoing your adventures on a tropical island filled with lush foliage, scarlet sand, glistering lakes, and colorful caverns. However, this isn’t always the case as players will shift between inviting and unsettling locations multiple times in the game but thankfully not enough to make it disorienting or annoying. This feature is especially easy to appreciate as the game is in the first-person mode, allowing you to gawk solely at what’s in front of you.
Aside from the eye-catching visuals, I also found the game’s narrative structure to be quite intriguing. As players arrive on the island, they’ll find themselves in solitude with nothing but Norah’s thoughts and findings to keep them company. These findings will help fill in the missing pieces to uncover the island’s true nature and the mystery behind her husband’s disappearance. With each solved puzzle and clue found throughout the island, players will get closer to getting the answer.
A Puzzle-filled Adventure
Speaking of puzzles, Call of the Sea has quite a lot of them despite its short length, so players who adore solving challenges will have much to appreciate. Each puzzle is distinct and detailed without being arduously long. However, some puzzles are also more challenging than others and might take some time to solve, especially as you’ll need to find clues on a specific puzzle before you can understand how to solve it. Some puzzles are quite self-explanatory once you figure out their straight forward details, while others will force you to scour your immediate location for clues while also making sure you have the details in the right order to solve them.
Luckily each clue is noted in Norah’s trusty journal which players can always refer to. It’s also filled with intricate details and clues on the story found throughout the game.
An Endearing Lead
I enjoyed my time with Call of the Sea mainly due to Norah as a protagonist; otherwise, the game would be quite a slog to play through. Norah is a brave woman who is also quite realistic. She reacts, jokes, and comments on her situation and findings like an average person, making her an entertaining yet grounded character. She is a very relatable protagonist, especially from the players’ perspective, while also entertaining enough to always hold our attention. Cissy Jones, who previously worked on other games such as The Wolf Among Us, Life is Strange, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Darksiders III, also does a great job of voicing Norah in her excellent 30s accent.
However, while Call of the Sea is a spectacular puzzle game, it still has its fair share of issues, such as its unfortunately short length. Some players might also find some of its puzzles quite daunting and its story predictable (as long as you’re paying enough attention to it). Regardless, I still enjoyed my time with Call of the Sea and would easily recommend it to the puzzle heads out there, especially those with a Game Pass subscription.
This review is based on an early copy of the game provided by the publisher
Are you interested in Call of the sea? What do you think of the review? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. For more Raw Fury games, check out our review of Night Call.