Song of the Deep – A Bystander’s Review

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I’m not going to lie, I didn’t play Song of the Deep. I tried, but well, my game level is Lego and I’m mostly okay with that. That being said, I did watch my husband play and helped out with tips and ideas when I could.  I like to think I came in handy, but we’ll probably never know. With that bit of truth out of the way, let’s go down to the actual review.  We bought this game for our 8 (very soon to be 9) year old daughter. She’s a natural at video games and it seemed like a great fit for her. Well, we got it home, got it opened and then my husband bogarted it. He played a solid three hours the first day.

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screen shot taken after we beat the final big bad

The game has some great aspects to it. The graphics are simply gorgeous. The storybook feel is magical and appeals to my nerdy, book-loving heart. The creator has said that Song of the Deep was a passion project inspired by his daughter, and you can see that quite clearly throughout the game. The main character Merryn, is a strong, resourceful girl and any parent would be glad to have their daughter look up to her.

Back to the graphics for a minute: The color saturation in some of the areas is so lovely, it’s like being inside a living painting. But at the same time, when you hit the dark areas of the map, places like the Skeleton Reef, they are gloomy, and so creepy. Really, really creepy. (Can you say giant death spider?)  The other aspect of the game I really loved was the character representations design. The steampunk feel throughout the whole game is amazing, but really comes to life in the clockwork seahorse, and the artistic eye is clear when it comes to the baby leviathan which I am so in love with.

While I could go on and on about the beauty of the game, I must also talk about the less awesome bits. The difficulty levels are weird; when you first start to play you get offered easy, medium or hard game play. I would hate to see the hard gameplay. We chose easy with the aim of my daughter playing, but some of the puzzles were hard to figure out for my husband.  Quite a few times he got frustrated with things that were seemingly undoable, and this is a common complaint on the game, when checked on the internet the game developers had issued a fair amount of patches for issues like this.

In the newest issue of Game Informer, their reviewer gave the game 7 out of 10. I tend to agree with that assessment, but for my purposes, I’m going to say 3.5 out of 5. The game is beautiful, but some of the glitches and difficulty make it a game we wouldn’t play again. It took my husband just over 7 hours to make it to the final big bad, and once he was beat the game was over. You can’t go back in as freeplay to catch all the things you missed if you just follow game play, but you can continue from your last save point right before the tentacle monster and go backwards. If you simply follow the story along, it will leave a lot of areas undiscovered, so right now that’s what we are doing; discovering stuff. And now that it’s not a race to find the end, it’s a more leisurely pace and my daughter is having fun (the husband gave up the controller 🙂 ).

Song of the Deep came out in July and is available through Steam and on multiple console platforms. (we played on the PS4). To order from Amazon, click here.

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