Call of the Sea

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Call of the Sea Game Poster Image
Colorful mystery features straightforward solutions.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game begins with a simple mystery, but quickly opens up to themes of personal empowerment and moving beyond perceived limitations. The game focuses on using one's mental skills to overcome obstacles, developing creative solutions to the tasks at hand.

Positive Role Models

Norah is a strong female lead who, in spite of her mysterious illness, still finds the inner strength to set out of an epic journey for the sake of what's important to her. Once on the island, she proves herself to be a very competent hero, with a sharp mind, a sense of adventure, and a determination to overcome any obstacles physical and mental, that may hinder her progress.

Ease of Play

The game's controls are relatively easy to pick up and play, with fluid first-person motions. Where things get difficult is in exploring Norah's surroundings and solving the more complex puzzles required to advance the story. It's sometimes easy to overlook one key item or bit of information that will move things along.


Though the main mystery takes more than a few dark twists and turns, there's no actual violence shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Call of the Sea is a first-person adventure game available for download on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows based PCs. Players explore a colorful island in search of their missing husband, uncovering a greater mystery in the process. The game uses a first-person perspective and controls to navigate the environment, challenging players to be observant and uncover clues to advance the story. Obstacles to progress are puzzles that normally require specific objects or other single solutions that players must figure out to proceed. As the story progresses, it borrows some darker elements (monsters, supernatural events, etc.), but it never fully crosses into "horror" territory and no violence is ever shown onscreen. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be found in the game.

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What's it about?

CALL OF THE SEA is a call to adventure in this first-person mystery tale packed with dramatic intrigue and mind-bending puzzles. The year is 1934 and Norah Everhart is a woman with a mission. One year prior, her husband Harry vanished while on an expedition to an uncharted island. His goal had been to discover a cure for a strange illness afflicting his wife and her familial line. When Harry's regular updates suddenly stopped, Norah set out to learn of his fate, retracing his steps to the site of the unnamed isle. As she approaches the island, Norah is overcome with a sense of familiarity. Though she's never set foot on these shores, the place feels eerily familiar … a place she's often seen in her dreams. Players will explore the heart of the island and the depths of its waters, searching for answers and uncovering even deeper, darker secrets locked away. Will Norah find everything she's looking for, or will she lose herself and all she loves, becoming one more victim lost to long forgotten forces?

Is it any good?

The key to a good adventure is to make sure it happens to someone fit for an adventure. Call of the Sea's heroine, Norah Everhart is one such person. At the start of the game, she's presented as more of a frail character due to her mysterious illness, but even in the beginning, she's a character with a sharp mind and a strong will. And over the course of the story, Norah grows even stronger, both physically and emotionally. While the island seems to have a recuperative effect on her illness, it's her internal growth as she copes with the surreal events and revelations around her that players are meant to relate to. It's a good thing too, because Norah is about the only living thing players ever really interact with over the course of the story. There's a constant sense of isolation throughout the tale, and it becomes easy to see how a person might lose themselves in a fantasy rather than face reality alone.

From a gameplay perspective, Call of the Sea offers a decent amount of challenge wrapped up in a colorful and thematic package. While the visuals might not push the boundaries of the Xbox or PC hardware in terms of detail, its vibrant style and fluid motion still make the island setting feel like a painting brought to life. This is even truer later in the game as the events get more surreal in nature. There's no combat anywhere, with players challenged more on their wits than their brawn. The puzzles definite test one's problem solving skills, but sometimes feel too narrow in focus. Each puzzle has exactly one solution and every item has just one singular use. While this makes for a straightforward experience, it also means there's no real replay value and no reason to think outside the box. Also, if players happen to overlook one item, it can leave them stuck and frustrated, forced to retrace their steps to see what they might have missed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about positive female role models in media. What are some of the characteristics of a positive female role model in fiction? What are some examples of positive female role models in film, television, or gaming?

  • What are some examples of games, movies, TV shows, etc. that manage to tell a compelling story without overt scenes of violence? Would Call of the Sea be the same kind of game if it showed graphic violence in its play?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mystery

Themes & Topics

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