Curse of the Sea Rats is one of those surprisingly successful Kickstarter cases where the creators managed to raise many times the amount they originally requested, as was the case with the neighboring case of Mighty No. 9. In a nutshell, Petoons Studio was able to place €242,395 in their “caskets”, an amount more than ten times greater than the €15,000 they had set as their initial goal, with success being a tangible indication that their concept has gained the attention of hundreds of contributors.
Unfortunately, as was the case with Mighty No. 9 so here too, the Spanish development team seems unable to handle the exorbitant budget. From the first hours of play, it seems that Curse of the Sea Rats had no particular vision, beyond the well-crafted design of the characters that seem to have come out of a children’s animation.
The script itself is unable to offer anything special, ending up being merely childish (and not childish). The story is set in 1777 and follows a British warship sailing to the Caribbean. Somewhere in there, a witch will cast a spell that will turn everyone into mice, while kidnapping the Admiral’s child. The latter will put four prisoners under his orders with the order to save his son, if they want to regain their lives.
The reason why he doesn’t send his soldiers on this mission but instead chooses the rebels/death row is something neither the creators themselves looked for and of course you don’t need to think about it too much either. The weird 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.
Petit mal you might say, but in combination with the rest of the missteps it’s another element that shows that no special attention has been paid to the different parts of the game. nothing more to say than naive and often irritating dialogues that seem aimed at a younger audience. However, we’re guessing that wasn’t the intention, judging by the not-so-low difficulty level and rather strict checkpoint system.
While there are various side quests that attempt to spice up the adventure, the vast majority of them are just fetch quests. To our surprise, there’s no menu showing objectives (whether main or side quests), which means you’re more than likely to forget who wanted what as the adventure progresses. Even more surprise comes when we see that the items we collect and related to quests do not even appear in the inventory, until we acquire a certain backpack, halfway through the adventure.
As if that weren’t enough, no quest marker is ever placed on the map, not even to show us the person who gave us the quest. A consequence of the above is that when the map is opened to a large extent, it becomes even more difficult to not only remember who requested each object we find, but also where it is so that we can give it to them .
The situation is hardly improving either in the field of exploration or in combat. The four different characters don’t show much difference, other than their weapon length and hit speed. The few enchantments each has are slightly different but not to the point of significantly altering the experience. What is certain is that none of the characters can fight off the irritating behavior of multiple enemies.
Curse of the Sea Rats is one of those platforms where every time we come into contact with an enemy our energy is greatly reduced. That wouldn’t be so bad on its own, given that it’s a cross-platform feature, but in this case many enemies, as well as the majority of bosses, seem to be deliberately running to meet our character. .
The relatively short range of our attacks means that we must always keep breathing distance from enemies, which can often cause us to involuntarily lose energy when hitting them. In this way, it often ends up being frustrating, as its difficulty is increased quite unfairly. It’s worth saying of course that the boss fights have a pretty good variety offering some nice fights, aside from the aforementioned flaws.
In the field of exploration the situation is in a word indifferent, since there is not the slightest fantasy in the layout of the levels. There are often gratuitous dead ends, huge meaningless straight lines, room transitions that don’t make sense (where we walk on the floor, we move to the next area where we are suddenly several feet away from ‘a mountain) and various other issues that show an amateur level design that certainly sets it well apart from the genre’s crowded competition.
The visual field varies at corresponding levels. On the one hand, of course, we have the models of heroes and enemies, which are certainly tasteful and expressive, drawn – as we said – by hand, pleasantly reminiscent of cartoons. On the other hand, the environments are designed with 3D graphics and one could even call them “ugly”. It may be that the creators wanted to simulate hand-drawn graphics, like those of the characters, through the oversimplified 3D rendering but whatever the reason for the problem is that the end result is very poor.
If we could find a positive point, it would be the possibility of committing to a local cooperative, which could make the commitment a little more pleasant. At least in our case, Ulysses made a heroic contribution, allowing the writer to avoid the complete “drudgery” for most of the twelve-hour runtime, 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 consists above all in avoiding the feeling of fatigue that arises from the first minutes of engagement.
THE Curse of the Sea Rats released 6/4/23 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.