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Review: Curse of the Sea Rats | Xbox

Ahoy, me hearties! Today, we set sail on a treacherous journey through the exciting world of Curse of the Sea Rats, a rat-oidvania that promises high-seas adventure and daring exploits. Developed by Petoons Studios, this hand-drawn escapade takes us on a thrilling quest to rescue a kidnapped son, defeat a wicked witch, and regain our freedom. While Curse of the Sea Rats has its fair share of ups and downs, it’s a fully enjoyable romp with a whimsical charm that captivates the imagination.

Curse of the Sea Rats is a Visual Spectacle

The first aspect that immediately grabs your attention in Curse of the Sea Rats is its stunning presentation. The hand-drawn characters and environments are a visual feast for the eyes, immersing players in a vibrant and enchanting world. From the first moment, I was hit with nostalgic joy with cartoon visuals similar to that of ‘Secret of Nimh’ or ‘Pirates of Dark Water’. Petoons Studios have done a fantastic job at creating such an impressive visual style. From the animated characters to the intricately designed settings, every detail exudes a delightful and whimsical charm. Accompanied by a well-crafted soundtrack that complements the pirate theme, the presentation in Curse of the Sea Rats is a definite highlight.

Gameplay Challenges

While the presentation shines, the gameplay in Curse of the Sea Rats struggles to maintain the same level of excellence. The combat system, although engaging, falls short of expectations. Starting with standard attacks and blocks, players unlock magical abilities as they progress. However, the combat quickly becomes repetitive, lacking the depth and variety that would keep it engaging throughout the game. Unlocking new moves requires progressing through skill trees, which requires the collection of spiritual energy from defeated enemies. Thankfully, it’s relatively simple to build up your character and encourages you to change players between levels to build up each player’s abilities.

Multiplayer Metriodvania

A fantastic addition to Curse of the Sea Rats was the ability to have multiple players enjoy the adventure with you. Up to four players can jump in and play couch coop which I loved as both myself and my children could play together. Whilst the levels didn’t add more enemies the more players you had, you could feel the difference during boss battles as one could distract the boss allowing other players to deal out the damage.

Unbalanced For Experienced Players

One issue that plagued Curse of the Sea Rats is its unbalanced difficulty curve. Enemies and bosses do not scale with the player’s level, resulting in a situation where progress down the skill trees renders combat encounters too easy. This worked really well when my 9 & 12 years olds played as they felt like they were smashing through it. However, as an experienced player (and amateur game dev) I could see them using the standard attacks exclusively, ignoring the new moves and attack patterns that were intended to enhance the gameplay experience.

Great Exploration & Sidequests

Curse of the Sea Rats presents a vast and beautiful world to explore, with a variety of rooms to explore the world can sometimes feel somewhat sparse, with screens often housing only a couple of enemies, lacking variety. Despite this, the game offers plenty of sidequests and branching pathways to pursue, providing opportunities for additional challenges and rewards. There are a variety of enemies and encounters that enrich the exploration aspect and elevate the overall experience.

TL/DR

Curse of the Sea Rats delivers an entertaining and whimsical adventure that stirs up nostalgia, captures the imagination brings together players in a surprisingly enjoyable way. The game’s exceptional hand-drawn visuals, accompanied by a fitting soundtrack, create a captivating world brimming with charm. While the combat system and difficulty scaling could benefit from further refinement, the platforming elements, exploration and sidequests offer ample opportunities for additional challenges. Petoons Studios has laid a strong foundation with Curse of the Sea Rats, and with some fine-tuning and improvements, it has the potential to become a remarkable title in the rat-oidvania genre.

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