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Call of the Sea review: escape (room) to a tropical paradise

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December 10, 2020 at 08:00AM

IK Multimedia's T-RackS 5

Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC; Out of the Blue Games / Raw Fury
Carefully crafted puzzles and clues in the story give this game, set on a Polynesian island, the satisfying feel of a journey

This first-person puzzle adventure is set on a mysterious Polynesian island in 1934. You play as Norah, a woman afflicted by a strange disease that causes black blotches on her hands who believes a cure lies among the island’s secrets. You arrive in search of Norah’s husband, Harry, who came here to hunt for a cure and is yet to return. Exploring the jungle, you rely on hints that Harry has left, and through the notes in his journals and Norah’s remarks we get a sense of their relationship as sweet and tragically romantic.

That’s all set dressing. Call of the Sea is really a complex escape room, where the puzzles take centre stage and the narrative is purely for flavour. It could take place on Mars in 2087 or during the Roman empire as easily as on an island in 1934. As a result, there are a few “scary savage” tropes that aren’t really explored, but this is not a game driven by its story.

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