[Review] Deep Ones - Nintendo Switch
Deep Ones is a nails hard action platformer by Sometimes You recently released for the Nintendo Switch. It takes the interesting art style decision to be based upon old ZX Spectrum games.
The basic premise is that you are a deep sea diver whose submarine has been destroyed by a red octopus, and you must make your way through its territory to recover your ship pieces and upgrades to power yourself up to make your going a little easier. The limited color palette against the black backdrop makes for good atmosphere and original graphics for a modern indie offering, but it really makes the game suffer because of the limited range of visibility. Too often you will fall victim to leaps of faith that result in cheap pit deaths, and it is very difficult to gauge your distance from certain enemies to avoid their expansion or projectiles. Couple this with the muddy response from your inputs, and you find tourself torn between awe over the game making you feel like you're fighting against the water pressure of the depths and poorly programmed controls.
This game could have been a masterpiece in oppressive exploration not seen since the original Metroid, but it just has too many factors working against it. The ambiance of the soundtrack is fitting for the isolated world in which you find yourself, but it just feels out of place when compared to the graphics. Since the game is a throwback to the ZX Spectrum, it feels like it should sound like a ZX Spectrum game as well. Imagine an 8 bit NES style game with a modern, thumping synthesized soundtrack instead of chiptune, and you'll understand what I mean.
Overall, I just found myself too frustrated by cheap deaths and poor response to enjoy what should have been a very well planned out platforming experience. My attacks moved too slowly, and not far enough, and the atmosphere couldn't carry all of the game's shortcomings as well as it could have. In a different era, this may have been a better game, but we've come a long way since the era that inspired this game. At least there are frequent checkpoints to continue from when you mistime those oh too frequent blind jumps.