|Genre: Puzzle & Trivia|
|Min OS X: 10.4 CPU: G4 @ 1000 MHz RAM: 512 MB|
GameplayDeep Blue Sea is a moderately fun casual game that is eerily similar to the popular Big Kahuna Reef series which centers on the well-known matching concept. In case you are not familiar, it involves placing three or more of the same items in a row on a large grid. Successful execution of the match clears the board of the matched items, generating points and so on.
The fact that The Game Equation decided to add a story to the title is questionable, though likely due to the barrage of similar releases and a need to define their game from the rest. You play as a diver who stumbles upon some rather powerful amulets and a flailing civilization while underwater. These amulets provide bonus power-ups while in-game, allowing you to increase your chances of winning by destroying rows of items and the like. It's a nice idea, but nothing new. The area where Deep Blue Sea should be credited is in a rather unique objective, which is to take several special pieces from the top of the board to the bottom by clearing rows below it. Once the item reaches the edge it is added to a list below. Successful collection of all the items results in victory and cash, which you can use to buy upgrades at the shop. It is a nice change from the standard "earn 5000 points" style game play and requires a lot more mental effort to accomplish.
GraphicsNot another 800 X 600 set resolution! Unfortunately, you cannot enjoy your 20-inch display with this game, as it refuses to allow a custom screen size. This is probably due to the fact that it is a 2D game, meaning it can only render at the level of detail the imagery and sprites are set at (in this case, 800 X 600). In terms of graphical quality, it is slightly above average, with some nice particle effects here and there. The menu and backgrounds have been decorated rather well, with swimming fishes bobbing along and elegant transitions in between levels.
SoundExperienced composer Rasmus Hartvig created the score for this game, which, though suited to the underwater theme, is a little bit irritating and monotonous (though at the same time, strangely addictive...). All in all the sound seems fairly average on most fronts, with moderately run of the mill audio effects.
ValueApart from the main story challenge it offers no other game mode. I could not even find free play - a common bonus in these sort of games. However, The Game Equation claims Deep Blue Sea has 10+ hours of game play, a worthy number by any means, plus, the inclusion of 130 levels is very impressive.
ConclusionDeep Blue Sea has broken the mold for the most part. If I were judging it on graphical merit it would get a fairly average rating. However, we mustn't forget that it is a matching game and not the next big first person shooter from Activision. I did not bother to go into detail about all the bonuses, extra purchases and game play changes that Deep Blue Sea has to offer, so the casual gamer is going to get a fair amount of bang for his/her buck with the 130 included levels if he/she decides to purchase it.
On an off note, beware! This game may have the "Tetris Effect" on you, too! Prepare to be found attempting to match floor tiles in your kitchen or while daydreaming - you have been warned!
Pros• New game play elements
• Purchasable upgrades
Cons• No free play mode
• It's still just a matching game