Curses! The crew’s been turned into rats by Flora Burn. I had that ailment before, but it was cured with some ointment from the GP. The crew of Curse of the Sea Rats? They’ll have to fight their way forward in this Metroidvania-type thingy from Petoons Studio and PQube.
From the screenshots alone, I wasn’t too sure whether this would be for me – literally judging the game by looks alone. It’s a hand-drawn adventure which looks very good and all, but for my… tastes, it wasn’t anything special. Well, egg on my face – the artwork in this game is gorg.
Think An American Tail but with a smaller budget (and better plot), and we have ourselves some fancy presentation. Topped with some fairly decent voice acting, aside from a few glaring stereotypes and whatnot, Curse of the Sea Rats is a nice-looking game. But enough about style, let’s look at the substance bit.
Curse of the Sea Rats Review
Flora Burn, the story’s antagonist, is a pirate witch being transported to pirate jail. Or something similar. Before they reach their destination, she manages to escape, turning everyone on board into rats and stealing the Admiral’s kid. From here, you get to pick one of four characters promised freedom if they can save the day.
The story is alright, and the interactions with random NPCs and their comical voice acting is mostly entertaining, but it takes a good couple of hours to get into it, per se. Having a choice sometimes is a hindrance, and I found myself switching back and forth between the four available characters; all-rounder, beefcake, token, agile female character, and another one that’s an all-rounder, I suppose.
I didn’t think there was much to offer with the Curse of the Sea Rats roster, as besides the very different character modelling and animation, they mostly played the same. Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong, me old mucker, as each character has an individual skill tree that offers more depth. The problem, if you want to see it that way, is you have to grind each individual as they don’t share the points.
I started with the Japanese character Akane, shifting between the other three before finally settling on her again due to her nimbleness. It certainly wasn’t for the accent. Pfft. Since investing in her more, resorting back to the others and essentially redoing areas to level them up felt a bit superfluous, but I like a grind, so happy to invest the time and tweak with different playstyles.
In terms of gameplay, Curse of the Sea Rats is very much like the recent Elderand. A world map indicates how far you’ve progressed, keeping tabs on exploration (it’s a 2D side-scrolling affair), and platforming and combat is nice and simple, but because there’s so much focus on the art style, the animation can be a teeny bit laggy, meaning you’ll get hit a little too much. But it looks so pretty!
Besides the artwork and choice of four characters, there’s not much else on offer in the game that sets it apart. The dialogue appears to be the same for each character, but seeing as you’re more or less locked into one character as you progress, you might not notice. Mediocre fact: this was the first game I played on the Steam Deck via my TV. It looked decent, as repeatedly mentioned, and entertaining at that, but more so for folk who like a bit of repetition. Like me.
An entertaining Metroidvania that’s a little more accessible than most, with lovely illustrations and animations, Curse of the Sea Rats does fall short on uniqueness and is a bit samey. Plus, despite having its moments, the dialogue and attempted accents are quite cringe at times. If you play as Akane, you’ll know what I mean.