Darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter! Under the sea!
Exploration has always been a huge interest of mine, especially space and deep-ocean exploration. My absolute favorite movie as a young girl was Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to be a rad mermaid with the opportunity to traverse the entire ocean and all its wonders? Song of the Deep gives the player the chance to explore the unknown ocean and uncover all its mystical mysteries.
The game opens with the story of a young girl, Merryn, and the life she shares with her Father the sailor. You quickly find out that they only have each other left in the world, which makes the next part even more heart-breaking. Every time her Father travels to sea Merryn lights a lantern so he can find his way home. One night, though, Merryn sees no sign of her Father and continues burning the lantern well into the morning. She soon takes matters into her own hands and decides to search for her Father herself. She spends all day cobbling a tiny submarine out of spare ship parts in order to dive deep into the ocean. The prologue plays out like a timeless tale in a beautiful storybook. The art is elegant, yet simple. The music is exhilarating, yet calming. Immediately I was in love with this game and very much reminded me of the start of Ori and the Blind Forest.
After crafting her ramshackle submarine, Merryn begins her adventure to find her beloved Father. The player first finds themselves in the tall, waving trails of seaweed. But this is not your ordinary, leg-grabbing seaweed, but instead a kind that lights up brightly at the touch of Merryn’s ship. The rest of the ocean is as fascinating and stunning as the very first moments in the deep. The sea creatures of Song of the Deep are familiar, yet completely unique to this world. Each with their own particular abilities (helpful or not.) The picturesque art style of the game complements the fairy tale plot wonderfully. The game itself plays out like a folktale; the narrator explains the game mechanics as a story as opposed to a quick message flashed across the screen. This itself makes the game a little more interesting than most.
The player travels with Merryn and her little handcrafted sub all throughout the deep sea uncovering ancient mysteries and clues to find her Father. Every new place poses a different problem and treacherous threat, luckily the ocean is home to a few friendly creatures that offer help (and upgrades!) The puzzles are fun, but can definitely become frustrating especially since many puzzles in the game are of a similar variety. In order to progress in the story and find new places, you have to carefully maneuver the submarine while either placing items in certain spots or removing seemingly static obstacles. Your ship isn’t able to immediately take on each and every puzzle, though. You must find and collect special submarine equipment that allows Merryn to search for her Father and the mysterious, ancient creatures of the deep. The upgrades also provide Merryn with some protection against the dangerous things leaking underneath the waves.
Personally, my patience level is incredibly dismal, so I often found myself easily frustrated by the puzzles. Move statue head here, swim up against the current, carefully reflect light, and more. The later puzzles do allow for more creative thinking which make the earlier, aggravating puzzles almost worth it. I enjoyed the story and the art more than anything else, though, and it kept me going through the (somewhat) irritating puzzles. Overall, Song of the Deep is an enjoyable way to spend some free time. The puzzles can get old quickly, but the gorgeous world and captivating plot will have you sinking in your seat for days on end.