Curse of the Sea Rats Review | This journey is one of life and death; quite literally. Playing as one or multiple members of prisoners from the British Empire, you and everyone around you has been cursed by the notorious pirate witch Flora Burn. You have lost your human bodies and turned into feisty rats. With the death penalty hanging over your head, the only hope you have of being spared and regaining your body is to take on an intense rescue mission the captain offers you. Curse of the Sea Rats is a ‘ratoidvania; platforming action-adventure which will see you fight numerous enemies and resilient bosses to gain spiritual energy all while keeping an eye out for additional chests and items that may come in useful. Curse of the Sea Rats has been developed by Petoons Studio and published by PQube Limited to provide gamers with a new platformer that carries itself with engaging gameplay, artistic visuals, and an interesting story. Carry on reading if you’re interested in reading more!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series S | Review code provided by PR/publisher. This review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Fantastic platformer | The platformer genre has always been quite popular within the gaming community and Curse of the Sea Rats should be warm-welcomed and received with open arms. The entire content of the game requires you to partake in combat, and successfully navigate your way through areas, differing in design and difficulty, all while following the story presented to us. All of the elements are connected stellarly, making this desirable for any platforming enthusiasts. Unlocking the ability to dash and double-jump, to name a couple, are essential to get the most out of the experience as some areas may be inaccessible when first finding them but can be returned to at a later point. Plenty of roaming, searching, fighting, and platforming to be enjoyed!
- Impressive art style | There is no denying that everything about Curse of the Sea Rats looked magnificent. From the character design and animations to the dynamic scenery and backgrounds pictured throughout the game, I was in shock at the beauty everything excelled at. The 2D cast of characters have been wonderfully hand-drawn and animated exceptionally well to create the feeling and enjoyment of classic animated films which was clever and pleasant to experience. Mixed with the background and level details, which appeared 3D due to the fine use of light and shadowing effects, Curse of the Sea Rats just amazed me from a visual perspective. The tones and colours can range from dark and dinghy to colourful and inviting as you venture between sections while looking beautiful in the process. The quality is insanely good, making the gameplay truly stand out.
- Marvellous audio | Damn, I really thought I was living a pirate’s life while playing through Curse of the Sea Rats, courtesy of the phenomenal soundtrack that joined me in my adventure. I could have sworn I was sailing the seven seas. Its jolly and addictive melodies just made everything feel upbeat, even while I was slicing through enemies. The sound effects, mainly the ones in combat, were impactful and played their part well. It was enjoyable to swing my weapon around, block attacks, and unleash my magical skills. As for the voice acting, I loved hearing the different accents from everyone and they all came across fluent and smooth-spoken which is always appreciated when listening to conversations between characters.
- Exploration | The map is excellent for casual exploration, finding your way through a non-linear pathway, but also excels for those who like finding the odd secret area hidden away and out of sight. Those sneaky breakable walls! Exploration is always rewarded as chests (not always great), alternate routes, and fast travel locations can be found which all come in rather useful. I did spend a significant amount of time checking over every little area I came to and my intuition paid off for the most part. It’s always worth checking your map for any small entrance points you may have missed or for any blank spaces that look suspicious. Take your time or power through the bosses; it’s entirely up to you but it’s always beneficial to look everywhere; you may miss something important otherwise.
- Single player and local co-op | Whether you like playing games as a solo gamer or have friends and family who want to get in on the fun, Curse of the Sea Rats could be just what you need as it acquaints both the mentioned parties. It’s an incredible game no matter which way you choose to play the game; although, it has been created more towards the couch co-op gamers as the developers are focused on bonding and team aspects. Personally, I played the game as a solo gamer due to not having any close family or friends to play with and I’m still having an incredible experience as the game gives you all the content you would get as if playing with others – including the ability to play as any of the four characters and not being stuck with one. It’s certainly a game that shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re looking for that next group activity to participate in or as a solo gamer who wants their next platforming adventure to dive into.
- Upgrade tree | Each character has their own upgrade tree which can be specced into whenever you reach a save point and have accumulated enough spiritual energy; one physical and one magical. These can increase your offence/defence and gain access to new moves to make your character more formidable in combat. Obviously, each progressive upgrade costs more than the last and you have to gain the skills in order to what is linked next. It’s nice to have control over this, grow your arsenal, and put energy into any character you choose. Upon the death of your character, you drop a percentage of the spiritual energy you were holding where you died and are able to return to the area to reclaim it. However, should you die again before reaching it, this will be lost forever. It made me become quite cautious of mine and I invested my energy whenever I could to avoid the risk of losing any amount. I did stick to just fully upgrading one character at a time but it’s down to the individual when choosing how to spend their energy.
- Collectibles and side quests | From the very first areas of Curse of the Sea Rats, you are presented with optional side quests if you speak to the NPCs along the way. They tend to require particular items and these are highlighted in yellow during their dialogue. From the very beginning, you are given a treasure bag which is where your collectibles are stored and can be checked whenever from the inventory screen. Now, I don’t know about everyone else but I love the inclusion of side quests and collectibles as it gives you more than one objective to look out for as you venture through each section, making me check literally every single nook and cranny where possible. Of course, you don’t have to do/collect these but why wouldn’t you?!
- Mediocre combat | I’ve always enjoyed combat that feels fun and rewarding, like you’re really giving it everything you have but in Curse of the Sea Rats, I was a little underwhelmed with the overall combat. Sure, you have different moves and abilities that can be used when they’re charged but it all felt a little slow and drained of any real enjoyment. Walk up, hit an enemy, stun lock them into submission, and win the fight. That’s all I could describe the combat as. Even the boss fights just felt like powered-up enemies that just needed some tactical thinking to overcome them. I think including more enemies, and having to prioritise targets/dodge accordingly could have been the move here. On the other hand, being more of a causal platformer, the combat is fluid and straightforward to learn. Just needed a little more ‘oomph’ and intensity.
- Accompanying story | Video games that have an interesting story to follow often make me more compelled to enjoy the gameplay itself. In my honest opinion, I just wasn’t that excited with the story and how it progressed. At first, I was interested as to why these four pirates had been captured by the British Empire and how they were going to earn their freedom but it wasn’t long before I just wanted to explore, beat bosses, and beat the game without much thought for the story. Yes, some of the cutscenes and dialogue did re-earn my interest but this was often short-lived. I would have appreciated more dialogue to read and get immersed in but ultimately, the story just wasn’t for me.
- Replayability factor | The game itself, story and exploration, doesn’t exactly have any replayability factor as it’s the same layout and process each time. The one thing that does add small replayability, more for those playing local co-op, is the option to change your character. I imagine if you’re playing as a group, everyone will stick with the same character throughout the playthrough and then perhaps try another on a fresh save. However, when playing as a lone player, you can change your character whenever you find a save point should you want to try someone else. Once you’ve levelled up everyone and unlocked all their abilities/moves, there isn’t much more to do other than aim for any miscellaneous achievements you may have missed and any additional endings which could require a new save file entirely. I’ve enjoyed what the game had to offer but I can’t see much reason to return at a later date.
- Environmental dangers | Now, I for one, dislike anything in the environment that can cause me significant damage; Curse of the Sea Rats was no different and extremely unforgiving in its margins and hitboxes. Yes, it adds another level of platforming, making players be precise in their movements to avoid swift death but there were multiple times I genuinely didn’t believe I had hit the deadly obstacles which lead me to question if the hitboxes were bigger than intended. Not only was I avoiding swooping enemies and their projectiles but also trying to keep away from anything stationary that may also bring me harm. Perhaps it’s just me thinking I was further away than I thought but either way, it could be infuriating at the best of times.
What we Disliked
- Constant crashes | Unfortunately, I did experience quite a collective amount of game crashes during my time playing Curse of the Sea Rats. These crashes always occurred when on loading screens as I was switching between different areas which was possibly the worse time as it did affect my closest save each time – especially considering there is no manual save I could load instead. I often had to repeat my exploration as the sections wouldn’t register as being found or searched and that could get extremely frustrating when it happens multiple times in a row, making me become stuck in the same area for much longer than anticipated. No one wants their game to crash or their progress to be lost so it was a real shame to witness this issue continuously, to the point where I wasn’t surprised and held my breath when traversing areas – it almost became second nature to me.
- No online multiplayer | I know the developers are very passionate about creating video games around people playing together and being able to bond from a family perspective so I do understand the multiplayer aspect being local co-op. However, I do believe a humungous player base has been missed by not including online multiplayer. I was somewhat saddened when I learnt I couldn’t play this with my partner online which obviously affected how I played my game; in single-player. I appreciate local co-op encourages families and friends to bond together which is fantastic but not everyone has this option and this should have also been taken into consideration when creating a game that can revolve strongly around other players.
- No difficulty options | Although Curse of the Sea Rats plays as quite a casual platformer, having optional difficulties included could have been interesting and grabbed the attention of a wider target audience. There are many people out there who enjoy challenging content and also those who like the easier option so I don’t see any reason why developers wouldn’t give you these choices. There is no option to either increase or decrease the difficulty which means everyone plays on the same difficulty, regardless of their skill level. I found the gameplay enjoyable but would it have enticed me to play the game again if there was a harder difficulty? Absolutely.
How long to beat the story | Approximately 10-15 Hours
How long to achieve 1000G | Approximately 20-25 Hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Greak: Memories of Azur, Dead Cells, Hollow Knight
Curse of the Sea Rats had everything I could want from a platformer, made even greater with the visuals and audio details. I loved being able to free roam, explore to my heart’s content, and fight anything or anyone who got in my way. However, in its current state, I can’t give this the rating it deserves due to the concerning problem of having my game crash constantly and accumulatively losing hours of progress. It’s a real shame and I hope this issue can be resolved soon otherwise I doubt I’ll even be able to experience everything the game has to offer. If I didn’t experience these horrible crashes, I would be rating the game 82/100.
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Hello, I’m Victoria. I’m from the UK and have been playing video games for as long as I can remember; back on DreamCast. I’ve pretty much fallen for Xbox since I was around eight years old and remember BioShock being my first game on the Xbox360. Although I find it thoroughly enjoyable to not only experience gameplay, I also find comfort in getting lost and engrossed in the online worlds that sometimes differ greatly from what we know. Another side of my Xbox passion would be achievement hunting and gamerscore. I thrive when I hear the little sound of one popping up on the screen and I’m always finding ways to work on my backlog when possible. Horror is my favourite genre so if you have any recommendations, don’t be afraid to send them my way!