Curse of the Sea Rats is one of those unexpectedly successful Kickstarter cases where the creators managed to raise many times the amount they had originally asked for, as was the close case with Mighty No. 9. Simply put, Petoons Studio was able to place 242,395 €15,000 in their ‘coffins’, an amount more than ten times the €15,000 they had set as their initial goal, the success being a tangible indication that their concept gained the attention of hundreds of backers.
Unfortunately, as was the case with Mighty No. 9, so here too, the Spanish development team can’t seem to handle the exorbitant budget. From the first hours of the game it seems that Curse of the Sea Rats did not have a particular vision, beyond the careful design of the characters that seem to come out of some children’s animation.
The script itself is incapable of offering anything special, ending up being just childish (and not childish). The story takes place in 1777 and follows a British warship sailing to the Caribbean. Somewhere there, a witch will cast a spell that will turn everyone into mice, while she kidnaps the admiral’s son. The latter will place four prisoners under his command with the order to save his son, if they want to recover their lives.
The reason why he doesn’t send his soldiers on this mission, but instead chooses the rebels/death inmates, is something that the creators themselves didn’t look for, and of course you don’t need to think about it too much. The strange thing is that Curse of the Sea Rats deals so little with the fact that these rats were originally human that it might as well have been set in a universe simply inhabited by talking rats in the first place.
Small damage you could say, but in combination with the rest of the bugs it is another element that shows that special attention was not paid to various parts of the game. From there, the one-dimensional plot has nothing to say but naive and often irritating dialogue that seems aimed at a younger audience. However, we assume that was not the intention, judging by the not-so-low difficulty level and the rather strict checkpoint system.
Although there are several side quests that try to spice up the adventure, the vast majority of them are nothing more than quest quests. To our surprise, there’s no menu showing objectives (either main or side quests), which means you’re likely to forget who wanted what over the course of the adventure. Even more surprise comes when one discovers that the items that we collect and related to the missions do not even appear in the inventory, until we acquire a certain backpack, halfway through the adventure.
As if that wasn’t enough, quest markers are never placed on the map, not even to show us the person who gave us the quest. One consequence of the above is that when the map is wide open then it becomes even more difficult to not only remember who asked for each item we found but also where it is in order to give it to them.
The situation does not improve much either in the field of exploration or in combat. The four different characters don’t show much difference apart from the length of their weapon and the speed of their blows. The few enchantments each have are slightly different, but not to the point of significantly altering the experience. The truth is that none of the characters can combat the irritating behavior that several of the enemies have.
Curse of the Sea Rats is one of those platforms where whenever we come into contact with an enemy our energy is significantly reduced. This wouldn’t be too negative in itself, since it’s a cross-platform feature, but in this case many of the enemies, as well as most of the bosses, seem to be purposely running into our character. .
The relatively short range of our attacks means we always have to get within breathing distance of enemies, which can often cause us to inadvertently lose energy when touching them. In this way, it often ends up being frustrating, as its difficulty scales rather unfairly. It’s worth saying, of course, that the boss fights have a pretty good variety that offers some nice fights, in addition to the glitches mentioned above.
In the field of exploration the situation is in a word indifferent, since there is not the slightest imagination in the arrangement of the levels. There are often gratuitous dead ends, huge pointless straightaways, pointless room transitions (where we walk across the floor we move into the next area where we are suddenly several feet up a mountain) and various other issues that show an amateur. . level design which certainly sets it well apart from the crowded competition of the genre.
The visual field varies at corresponding levels. On the one hand, of course, we have the models of the heroes and enemies, certainly tasteful and expressive, drawn -as we said- by hand, reminiscent of cartoons in a pleasant way. On the other hand, the environments are designed with 3D graphics and could even be called “ugly”. It may be that the creators wanted to simulate hand-drawn graphics, such as those of the characters, through simplified 3D rendering, but whatever the reason, the problem is that the final result is very poor.
If we could find one positive, it would be the ability to participate in the local co-op, which might make participation a bit more enjoyable. At least in our case, Odysseus made a heroic contribution, allowing the writer to avoid the entire “homework” for the better part of the twelve-hour duration, without, of course, denying all the negative elements that characterize the title.
It is certainly not a good sign when the search for another player is mainly to avoid the feeling of exhaustion that arises from the first minutes of engagement.
He Curse of the Sea Rats Available 4/6/23 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Our review was based on a review code we received from PQube.