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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Review: Deep Ones

Review: Deep Ones

Resting our head on the sea bed, In an octopus' garden near a cave

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Deep Ones
BURP! Games | Nintendo Switch | Digital Only
1 Player
Reviewed by: Curtis Chapman | 18th April 2018

* Review Code Provided by: Sometimes You *

Laying on the nostalgia thicker than usual and taking retro styling all the way back to the 80’s, Deep Ones is available now on the eShop, priced at £4.49, BURP! Games attempts to create a nautical platformer that’ll remind you about that massive catalog of cassette tape classics you played as a kid. They were classics... weren’t they??

A 2D platformer with retro styling, the story of Deep Ones is a simple one; you play as an unknown diver exploring the ocean in a shiny submarine. While on your travels through the big blue you encounter a giant red octopus that proceeds to drag your sub back to its underwater cavern. After bailing during its descent, you touch down on the sea floor on foot and set out on your quest to retrieve your submergible from the lair of the multi-tentacled beast.

Tasking you with traversing, slowly, from the beginning of each level, the game has you jumping over obstacles, hopping ravines and avoiding enemies until you reach the end of each section. With no defined levels, the occasional boss battle separates the content, with different backgrounds and the occasional new enemy highlighting the differences between sections. Fairly early in the game you also receive a harpoon gun, allowing you to actually confront and dispatch the enemies that look to prevent your progress. This weapon actually decreases the overall difficulty of the title, as most, if not all enemies can simply be removed from the playing field permanently with little to no effort.

Deep Ones Screenshot 1

Unlike games of the past, the game does not feature any form of perma-death, with you diver seemingly having an infinite amount of lives, each with 3 health bubbles. On your travels, you encounter checkpoints at a fairly regular occurrence meaning that dropping down a hole or bumping into a patrolling starfish will not push your progress back too far.

The general platforming performs as it should and the overall theme of underwater playing well to the floaty, almost weightless feeling of the jumping physics. Further emulating titles of era’s past an Intentional delay to the button presses has been implemented, requiring you to put planning into when you are looking to jump or when you will fire your harpoon gun as the 1-2 second delay can be the difference between life and death. This works well and adds a challenge to the basic premise of simply having to navigate platforms and shoot enemies

With a limited graphical pallet and sprites consisting primarily of outlines and draped in neon hues, a lot of effort has gone into attempting to emulate the look and feel of titles from the 80’s. Unfortunately too many compromises to bring the titles into the 21st century such has resulted in the title looking more like an early MS-DOS game. Lighting effects and sprite/screen scaling suck away that nostalgic feeling and when completely zoomed out leave your player simply looking like it was drawn in MS-Paint.

The modern electro music score does little to keep with the tone of the action taking place on screen, this is made worse when coupled with the beeps and trills of the ZX Spectrum inspired low-tech sound effects, with the two clashing rather jarringly. Committing to one of these styles would have benefitted the titles cohesion immensely.

Deep Ones Screenshot 2

If you are of a certain age Deep Ones will be an enjoyable, nostalgic jaunt through pastures familiar, where this type of obtusely themed platformer was a dime a dozen and many hours were spent working against the fiddly controls and unusual design decisions to make it to the end, before popping back down WHSmiths for another cassette of something almost identical. For the younger generation however, or those that do not hold the original golden age of gaming in such high regard, Deep Ones will most probably infuriate and feel like a painful slog to play through in its entirety.


+ A unique theme.
+ Low priced.

- No real story.
- Ill fitting music/effects.
- Input lag may bother some.
- Repetative gameplay.

Verdict: Verdict: Very Good Job – Recommended Buy

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