Insomniac Games have been very busy bees lately with all the different games that they’re bringing out and also the ones that are still to come like Spiderman for PS4.
This time though, Insomniac have brought us something different in the form of Song of the Deep.
The story is about a girl Merryn whose father doesn’t come home one night after going out on his usual boating trip. Merryn has a vision of her father trapped in the depths of the ocean, she then decides to build her own submarine out of the scrap that her father had pulled from his previous adventures and try and find him.
The first thing I am going to say is that the narrative is wonderful, it’s such a lovely story, and for once in a 2D platformer that I have played, there is a voiceover, telling you of the story and the importance of each part. This is one of the things that I had been looking for in one of these genre of games, something that is going to help me and tell me what the story is. It’s also good that at the beginning it mentions about how Merryn’s father told her these stories of wonderful things that happen and what is out in the deep oceans, and I love it that this is brought into the game, with the narrative and voice over mentioning whenever you get near something that was told as a story to Merryn. I like the story within the game and I find it very simple and eloquent.
When you start the game, there isn’t a tutorial, it’s straight in, lets do this. The game does direct you as you go along letting you know of new features as you get them, which is a pretty good way of getting used to the game, as it’s more of a slow introduction and lets you get used to the controls more easily, and gives you time to remember what buttons do what.
The artwork and design of the game is very nice, beautiful colours and the cut scene animations are to die for. Absolutely love how the cut scenes have been done, and I have to admit that I found them immaculate. I did find the map very extensive and also found the there was a good range of puzzles, some which were very challenging to work through, however I did find this to give a sense of achievement when completing them, especially if you had been sat there for a while trying to figure out how to do them.
The worlds are wonderfully designed, and although they help you to go through, it doesn’t hold your hand entirely, there are parts where you have to look and judge what to do, there are also elements that you pass which you might need later on in the level, so you have to remember that they are there and to go back for them at the right time.
You have items to collect in the world, mainly coins which you can use with traders to upgrade your skills or your submarine. Example of this would be that you can upgrade you submarine to heal quicker or to have a stronger claw/weapon.
I did find the AI enemies on this a little too easy to dodge and move out of the way of, and this was just on normal, so I have no idea how easy beginner level is and how difficult the harder level is.
Again, the question for me comes down to has this brought anything to what I feel should be a dying genre. Again, the answer for me is no. OK, with the type of game that it is, there have been opportunities to use every inch and more they can. All axis’ have been utilised as with a standard 2D scroller, you normally just use the X Axis and have the character running on the horizontal, but with this, as the submarine is able to go pretty much anywhere underwater, the use of the Y axis has been utilised and it does mean that the world has been designed rather extensively and made full use of the space available.
If I’m going to be honest, Song of the Deep is a very good game, it has gorgeous well designed worlds that will give you several hours of enjoyment. I just still don’t think this has brought anything technically to the genre. I know I say this every time, but it’s how I feel about a genre that pushes and pushes more games out when there are other types of games that I feel we should be seeing a lot more of. If this type of genre is going to pushed out constantly, then I want someone to grab it by balls and shake things up a bit. I want a 2D platformer to wow me. I want to be proved wrong and at the moment it feels like it’s not going to happen any time soon.
This is such a beautifully and well narrated game, just the 2D scrollingness of it lets it down. Put this in a 3D open world and I think you could have a 10 here. But alas I’m going to give it a 7.