Reviewed: January 20, 2010
Released: December 16, 2009
App Store Price: $2.99
I have been swimming in the ocean only once in my life, but I have always wanted to see the underwater life. I wouldnít mind snorkeling or scuba diving. The only problem with achieving this dream is that Iím not near the ocean very often. However, the game developer Hiccup Studios, partnered with the great folks at Chillingo have made this at least a little more possible for me, with their game Mission: Deep Sea.
The premise in the game takes place in the year 2016. In this time period, humans have been able to take control of sea turtles, with the ideal of helping out the Earth, and humanity as a whole. The game play is very simple, with you having a single mission objective for each stage, and your main goal is to complete that objective as quick as possible. A radar in the corner of the screen helps to guide you to the items needing to be found in the middle. (However, there is one mission where the radar cannot be used.)
The controls of the game can be a little confusing at first, but there is a great tutorial at the beginning that shows you how to swim. However, even with this tutorial, it was hard for me to beat the first level with the multi-touch control configuration. Luckily, a recent update to the game has an option to use the accelerometer to turn, while a button on the screen moves you forward. I still had some difficulty with this method as well, but I was able to complete the game faster. Deep Sea has simple, yet complex mission objectives, so I would recommend that the youngest players in the house not to play it, as they can become confused or frustrated easily. However, this would be a great learning age for elementary school children.
If youíre looking for splendid graphics, then Deep Sea is your game. The water and the scenery are all very realistic. There are jellyfish and fish swimming all through the water, while the blues all blend well together, giving you the great underwater feeling. Being on an iPhone 3GS, I couldnít hope for better graphics from a better game. None of the problems that could possibly exist do, such as frame rate, brightness, or rendering. Hiccup Studios also did a great job with the menu interface, using the turtleís head to pop up the in game menu, as well as an easy to navigate. The main menu makes it feel like that the menu is a part of the scenery, as you see the turtle and fish swim around. The only thing that could make the graphics better is smoothness. Just smooth out the polygons a little and you have PS3-like graphics on an iPhone game.
Mission: Deep Sea has somewhat of a soundtrack to go along with the game. Their main menu has an epically composed song that prepares you for the game. I felt that it focused me and got me ready to play. The only downfall I saw was the fact that there is no background music when you are playing in the levels. Some nice slow background music would help the user to relax and explore, while not feeling rushed or bored at the same time. However, I understand that they would probably want the sound to be realistic. And realistic it is. The sound effects of the sonar, camera, swimming motions, eating, and swishing of the water are all great and clear.
Value is the only department where the game really lacks, sadly. There are only five levels in the game, (though the levels are vast) but once you beat the game, there is not a lot left to do. You can compete with your friends to see who can get the missions done the fastest, or submit your scores to online leader boards and compete with others in the US and around the world. The Crystal Social Gaming Community also has the ability to challenge others, and to view each otherís achievements.
One suggestion, to make this feature better, is to use Push Notifications to tell you if someone beats your score or challenges you in real time. The other suggestion to enhance the value of the game is to have a mode that lets you swim around and interact and see other fish, jellyfish, sharks, and other marine life. This would be similar to a game that is currently out for the Nintendo Wii that does the same game.
Mission: Deep Sea is a great game, for what it is. I loved taking control of a sea turtle, and doing things that are important to helping out the Earth. The game hints to a sequel to this game as well, so I would like to see the game improved to include the sequel as an in app purchase, or an expansion to this game, instead of it being a separate title. I also believe that adding in the features that I talked about in the value session will make this game more fun for everyone. Iím looking forward to playing more of this game and seeing this game succeed.