Game Reviewed: Song of the Deep
Release Date: July 12th, 2016
Developer: Insomniac Games
Platform: [Reviewed:PlayStation 4], Xbox One and PC
Genre: 2D side-scroller, Adventure
Rated: E For Everyone
Every time I see the title Song of the Deep Frank Sinatra’s song “Somewhere beyond the sea” always comes to mind. This was once Merryn, as she waited each night. But sadly she’s no longer blissfully waiting. This is Insomniac Games latest creation and GameTrust’s first publication, Song of the Deep.
You play as a little girl named Merryn, who story is built upon her quest to find her father who she believes is lost at sea. Her father, a poor fisherman would sail about in hopes to provide for his dear little one and make ends meet. There’s even a bit of artwork that shows nights they’ve sort of eaten; though Merryn was served a plate, her father’s plate was only bones and scraps. But little would she expect her father to venture out one day and never return.
After time went by, and a dream showing her father calling for her, Merryn decided to create what she could which becomes a rickety submarine made from scraps in hopes to find him. In short it’s a story of a daughter’s love for her father and the depths she’s willing to go to find out what has happened in this underwater tale.
Even before delving into gameplay you’re somewhat attached to Merryn thanks to the amazing voice work, complimented by a beautiful storytelling soundtrack.
Song of the Deep is a metroidvania-style 2D side-scroller. So while holding platform similarities of Limbo, Braid and Ori and the Blind Forest, SOTD carry its own unique flair with the underwater heroine.
The adventure begins as you sail undersea, finding a few coins, various treasures, upgrades and more for you and your submarine that helps you along the way. Prepare for a tussle as you are challenged by various sea creatures, guardians and other protectors of the sea. In Song of the Deep you’ll find multiple ways fight back, whether it’s with torpedoes, your magnetic claw or even utilizing objects around you. There are also plenty of puzzles to solve as well obstacles to overcome both inside and out the submarine.
Not everything underwater looks to harm you however as there are clams looking to exchange treasure for its next meal, mermaid-like creatures that help you along the way and even hermit crabs that offer upgrades in-exchange for shiny findings. At times you’ll also find various collectibles that Merryn believes to be her fathers.
Be sure to look at your map frequently or you’ll truly be lost at sea. Though Song of the Deep isn’t open world it does allow you to travel in different directions, to where some may lead you to treasure, but have nothing to do with the current objective.
When Merryn loses all of her health, rather than considering it her death, the narrator calls it a vision; time giving you an example of what lies ahead, even though I technically died. Hovering over “time,” a small yellow beam of light found throughout the campaign is how Merryn saves her underwater adventure.
Roughly 10 hours of gameplay you can sense that Song of the Deep is a game meant to be played at a slow pace, allowing gamers to embrace the story rather than run through it. I couldn’t help figuring out how to grab certain diamonds that were feet away yet blocked by ship wreckage; or even diving into The Maw, looking for deep buried treasure at a high risk. The simplicity of SOTD makes it well worth the adventure, including its dynamic visuals for both characters and the setting.