Call of the Sea is the title presented by the Spanish studio Out of the Blue and published by the hand of Raw Fury that mixes very peculiar genres such as narrative-driven and puzzle-adventure. All the action takes place in first person and is set on a Polynesian island during 1934.
The player plays the role of Norah Everhart, a character who is affected by a strange disease that causes black spots on the hands and arms. Apparently is something that her family has to deal with since her mother was also affected by this misfortune.
The story begins with a question: “What happened to Harry?”. Harry is Norah’s husband who left several months earlier on a mission to find a cure for his wife’s illness, focusing on an island off the coast of Tahiti. The problem is that he disappeared with his entire crew without a trace. This journey thus goes through answering this question where our main character decides to venture into the island that the locals say is cursed.
Early Norah feels a very strange and personal connection to this stunning environment. What is so special about this island? Exploring the jungle, the player is guided by clues left in the way of annotations in Harry’s diaries and perceptive observations by the main character, leaving all the puzzle-solving part to the adventurer’s side.
The entire narrative is enveloped by ancient adventure tales with the main focus on the love story between Norah and Harry. Do not worry because the line of “cheesy part of romance” is never crossed. There is clearly a very strong link between these characters who are presented through internal monologues about their marriage and messages that Norah reads from Harry’s notes. Many of them are presented with cutscenes. They are not just married, they see themselves as best friends using the affectionate term “my old pal” or just “pal” to address each other.
Norah can be described as a person with courage and a lot of perseverance and is interpreted perfectly by the voice of Cissy Jones who among others participated in the episodic title of “The Walking Dead”. Harry has an adventurous spirit and is played by the voice of Yuri Lowenthal, also known for giving voice to Peter Parker in the Spider-Man adaptation of the Sony console.
The adventure is divided into six chapters, each drawn in different locations and presented in an absolutely stunning way. Each area has a main puzzle that needs to be solved to progress in the story. It is necessary to recover all the puzzle clues left in the camps by Harry’s expedition or in the environment that surrounds him. Norah has at her disposal a diary where she will record her notes and logs that help in solving the puzzles and centralize all the pieces of history.
Some of these puzzles can be quite complicated with the need, or not, to use paper and pen and others with very obvious clues around their environment. At certain times it feels like a real “escape room” where it is necessary to find certain devices, buttons, or solutions for both situations. Exploration is indeed important in this chapter and I must confess that I found myself stuck with two main puzzles. One of them for not having fully explored the map area and the other for having a really complicated resolution.
There is a desire to discover the end of this story that does not leave the player disappointed. With a vibe of “The Shape of Water”, this title is totally suitable for puzzle fans.
As a curiosity, you can also follow the prequel to Call of the Sea, represented by the voice actors themselves.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game for Steam, provided by Raw Fury.]