Call of the Sea review: A Lovecraftian tale for the optimist

Raw Fury
Raw Fury /

If you are a fan of H.P. Lovecraft but quarantine brain has already filled your madness quota, check out the happier side of his lore with Call of the Sea.

Title: Call of the Sea
Developer: Out of the Blue Games
Publishers: Raw Fury
Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed), Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Microsoft Windows
Release Date: December 8th, 2020

In the past few years, there has been a surge of Lovecraftian games and they all have a lot in common. Games like Call of Cthulhu or The Sinking City all deal with dark themes of rising, dreaming gods and falling into the depths of madness but not all Lovecraftian games have to be dark and dismal, nay nay. There is a game that takes the Lovecraftian themes of losing yourself, secrets that rest in the deep and transformation into something that’s filled with hope, color and life. Call of the Sea released on the Xbox Game Pass and this isn’t one you will want to miss.

Call of the Sea follows a woman named Nora. It is the 1930’s and she is on a mission to locate her husband, Harry. He headed to the South Pacific on a mission to find a cure for his wife’s mysterious disease and he disappeared. A strange package with a clue shows up at their home and she heads to the last island he was seen on to find his whereabouts. Along the way she learns things about her husband, about the island, about the disease and about herself.

Call of the Sea
Raw Fury /

Where most games that are based around the works of H.P. Lovecraft find the protagonists spiraling down into madness and losing themselves to magic and mystery but this game really turns that idea on its head. It still deals in transformation, magic and mystery but this time it’s about a woman finding who she is and the strength inside her.

Call of the Sea seems to be an amalgamation of who Lovecraft stories: Call of Cthulhu and Shadow Over Innsmouth. There is a lot of inclusion of South Pacific lore and stories alongside the fictional story of Nora. Nora is living a life of increasing pain and debilitation but this island seems to almost heal her.

Before I talk about everything that I love about this game, I want to talk about the one thing that really rolled my oats and that’s the puzzle difficulty. I am all for a challenging puzzle. I grew up on Resident Evil, so story-heavy games with a penchant for puzzles are my bread and butter but this game just takes it a little too far.

Call of the Sea
Raw Fury /

There are six chapters in Call of the Sea and in two of them there were puzzles so difficult that I HAD to consult YouTube. There are no hints, no explanation of what to do or where to go and most of the time, with some patience, you can figure it out, but there are two instances where the puzzle difficulty was outrageous and unnecessary.

Aside from the frustration of two puzzles, Call of the Sea is a well-made and well-told story that is filled to the brim with color and environment. I love the cartoonish and bright graphic design which is the exact opposite of any Lovecraft game played in the past (aside from Cthulhu Saves the World and Cthulhu Saves Christmas which are meta-kawaii delights). It’s just rare to see a game or a movie use a Lovecraftian theme to weave a story of positivity and enlightenment instead of the standard journey to the ends of madness, suffering and despair.

This is definitely a game worth the handful of hours it takes to complete. There are two endings but both of them may break your heart a little bit. If you have Xbox Game Pass, then there is no excuse not to download this hidden gem and give it a whirl.

Call of the Sea is a visually beautiful story of a woman’s road to self-discovery and acceptance against a backdrop of Lovecraftian lore and storytelling. The great length and colorful graphics make for a medium-sized adventure, as long as you don’t rage quit from one of the puzzles.. Out of the Blue Games. . Call of the Sea. 10

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.