Norah is ill, and her husband Harry is missing after having gone searching the world for a cure. After receiving a mysterious package, Norah decides to go to the place Harry was last known to be — an island off the coast of Tahiti. Call of the Sea bills itself as a Lovecraftian mystery game, and whilst the first person adventure puzzler is clearly influenced by the writer's work, it falls short on the mystery front.
There are six chapters that have you traversing the island, finding clues to solve puzzles, and ultimately reveal the whereabouts of Harry and the secrets behind Norah’s mysterious illness. The puzzles themselves are really what sell the game, the ideal blend of challenging and achievable. As Norah explores her environment, she’ll scribble notes that'll help solve puzzles for each chapter. It’s quite frustrating that you can’t look at these notes while in a puzzle; you have to exit to see them each time. It's not an issue for more simple puzzles, but for the more complex ones it’s a bit of a headache.
The travel logs that Norah collects add a lot of context to the story, unravelling the fate of Harry and his crew and giving life to the island. It can be a lot to read, and it doesn't feel like the best way to unravel such a rich story, especially with so many missable items. The story itself is entirely predictable, and the characters are largely forgettable — you don't spend enough time with them to really care about their fates. At the end, the game gives you a choice, and there’s a kind of "so what" feel to the decision. It ultimately makes for an irrelevant choice, as it’s hard to care either way you go.
Aesthetically, the game looks really pretty and is totally evocative of its 1930s setting. The game is plagued with hammy dialogue that makes it feel totally campy and like an old B-movie, but not altogether terrible when coupled with the Lovecraftian influence it draws on. Call of the Sea is a mostly fun puzzle game that falls short on the mystery it tries to have you unveil. While it looks aesthetically pleasing and ticks a lot of boxes for its period setting, the story is lacklustre and predictable.