Maybe it’s the week, but Song Of The Deep made me feel so many emotions. Emotions I didn’t even know I was holding back; it took diving in a submarine through the depths of the ocean for me to fully realize what I had been bottling up.
Brian Hastings, the Chief Creative Officer at Insomniac Games has worked on close to 30 games in his 22 years as a game developer and has claimed that no other has been more personally rewarding than Song Of The Deep. After playing it through last night, I can see why. The game is a 2D metroidvania-style action-adventure that tells the tale of Merryn, a girl who takes incredible risks in an attempt to rescue her father who has been lost at sea.
Upon his disappearance, Merryn refuses to sit and wait for her father to return so she creates a rickety submarine out of materials around her house and sets off into the depths to find her lost dad. Merryn’s courage and bravery hits me right in the feels. I lost my father many years ago, but in that moment I would have done anything to save him. This is where those emotions I mentioned come into play.
Each cutscene is beautifully presented in the style of a storybook, complete with omniscient narration that extends out to the gameplay, making Song Of The Deep feel like a bedtime story your parents would have read to you as a kid. That is, if your parent had a voice like Alan Rickman.
As Merryn’s journey progresses she makes a ton of adorable aquatic friends and learns about some mysterious tragedies that befell the world under the sea. Making this game Metroidvania-style is certainly an interesting approach but it pays off, making Song of the Deep utterly unique. It boasts far more action than INSIDE did and manages to pull off a very tender story in an extremely elegant way.
Unfortunately, some of the action is rather dull. It’s not bad but it’s not great. Often times I found myself trying to avoid combat and progress with the story – this gets simpler as the game moves on thanks to some perks that help you skip battle. I give Insomniac credit for making submarine combat enjoyable, but the lack of enemy variety and late-game wave-based monster attacks make fighting aggravating.
What the small team pulled off is nothing short of an amazing accomplishment. This is an absolutely beautiful game that I can’t wait to dive back into, especially since the ocean floor is covered with secrets. There are over 200 treasures hidden deep in the shadows. Your submarine has 30 upgrades and 15+ abilities that will help access new areas of the sea and can be combined in surprising ways.
I never thought I’d be raving about a game that takes place fully underwater. I despise underwater levels, no matter the game (I’m looking at you Water Temple and every Super Mario game ever). Underwater is not usually a place I want to go, but Song Of The Deep only exists in this underwater world and I really like it. That is largely due to the incredible art direction – this game is absolutely gorgeous and putt-putting around the ocean floor is rather enjoyable. The subtle homages to Metroid are also a nice touch.
I can’t recommend Song of the Deep enough, especially if you’re done playing INSIDE. The build up is slow and haunting, and the final hour is full of twists and spectacles you won’t see coming. The beautiful soundtrack and incredible visuals, paired with an emotional story of loss and survival, is worth venturing 20,000 leagues under the sea for.
Song of the Deep is now available on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
For Fans of: Metroid, Oxenfree, Inside, Underwater Worlds
My copy was provided by Insomniac Games for the purpose of this review.
A video review will be live this weekend on ComedyGamers.com