Puzzle adventures can be a double edge sword. On the one hand, you can make your puzzle so difficult that only a select few can progress, but on the other, you can make it too easy that you’ll lose your general fanbase. I tend to enjoy a health medium, which I’m finding in the early hours of the Out of the Blue-developed adventure Call of the Sea.
The opening to Call of the Sea is unique as we are introduced to Norah, a woman searching for her husband who was last seen on a nameless island. I think the most interesting part of Norah is how she isn’t your typical adventurer type; even she laughs at herself for how she packed. Regardless of that, though, she is fearless in her goals and a genuine source of information when making her way around the island.
The game requires you to be perceptive, and it tests you on this from the earliest moments giving you a few puzzles to crack as they slowly raise the difficulty on you. The idea is that you’ll master the art of Norah’s journal, where she writes everything about the adventure and includes useful information when solving puzzles.
From these early moments of gameplay, I’m enjoying Norah’s attitude. However, I can’t say that it will be that way for long as it feels like something is building up that will turn this mystery dark. I’m just enjoying the way she takes in the environment, which oftentimes matches my own curiosity. Her intelligence isn’t overbearing as she details the structures and narrates the adventure out loud as if she’s talking to herself. There’s just a nice flow about the foundation of the adventure that borrows inspiration from classic games like Myst but has a very modern structure.
Graphically, Call of the Sea is deceptively colorful, with plenty of island-themed environments to explore. The game seems to encourage deep exploration as you travel down branching paths and look out over some beautiful scenery. This is contrasted by some moments where the developers dim the lights and use it to set the tone for whatever is coming next or highlight a key point to investigate.
As I make my way further into the adventure, I’m interested to see how Norah’s perspective on this island changes as she unlocks its mysteries. It’d be interesting to see that growth in her and to lend a hand in her progression. A lot is riding on the evolution of the puzzle design as well, and I’m hoping that it stays consistently challenging yet approachable after these first few chapters. As of right now, Norah’s adventure is one that I’m looking forward to seeing through until the end.
Call of the Sea will launch on Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC via Steam on December 8.
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