Disclosure ‐ We would like to thank the wonderful people at Insomniac for providing us with a review code at our request.
Song of the Deep is the latest from Insomniac Games and is the first title to be published by GameStop’s publishing division ‘GameTrust Games’. It is a 2D Metroidvania with a few extra elements thrown in. The key one of these is the addition of a free moving Y-Axis. (You can go up and down, because, you know, underwater) But more on that later.
You are Merryn, a 12-year-old girl who is diving to the depths in her makeshift submarine to find her missing father. You traverse tight underwater caves and vast open trenches. You find upgrades for your submarine in the forms of extra health and mana (called Tyne) and extra additions to grant you new abilities. These skills unlock new areas which contain secrets or progression. It’s nothing new regarding the Metroidvania genre, which the exception of that free-moving Y-Axis that I spoke about earlier. The ability to freely move up and down as opposed to being restricted to platforms in your movement is quite liberating. I often found myself swimming (driving?) around in circles for no other reason than that I could. It’s charm wears off after a while, but it does not mean the mechanic itself is anything less than a welcomed change.
The highlight of the game so far is the world. Whether it’s a giant flock (swarm? business?) of whales floating past in the background or the dense spider webbed caves that will cause damage if they’re touched. Everything is so beautiful even if it is a little lonely and at times quite spooky. It’s audio blends brilliantly in the background, changing ever so slightly to suit the mood of the environment. Tribute must be given to the audio and visual artists of Song of the Deep because it is truly its best asset.
Luckily the world is as enticing as it is, because, at this stage of the game, it’s the only reason I am coming back. The girl looking for her lost father is an overused trope; the gameplay is repetitive and not very fun, but it is still early days yet! Stay tuned for the full review once I’ve finished. Due to the explorative nature of the game, and who I am as a person, it might not be any time soon. But it is coming.