SeaWorld: Shamu's Deep Sea Adventures - PS2 - Review

Children’s games are definitely not a rarity on the PlayStation 2. However, good children’s games are. Most titles out there suitable for the entire family rely too much on their said franchise rather than on quality, entertaining gameplay. SeaWorld: Shamu’s Deep Sea Adventures attempts to fill this void with its pleasant, unique theme. Read on to see if it succeeds.

SeaWorld: Shamu’s Deep Sea Adventures’ anecdote is about a killer whale named Shamu. There is quite a bit of story behind this game, even though at times it’s told somewhat vaguely. Trouble is brewing in the waters and SeaWorld is in extreme danger. The evil ruler of the sea, Poseidon, is up to no good. He wants to steal the magic that SeaWorld possesses so he can restore his beloved city known as Atlantis. It’s up to Shamu to travel to Atlantis so that he can get to the bottom of this ruckus. He’ll have to find keys, solve puzzles, and kick fish booty as he grinds his way to the adored city. However, Shamu won’t have to tackle this journey alone. A former captive of Poseidon, Horacio, will assist Shamu in any tribulations he may run into along his venture.     

As mentioned, Shamu’s Deep Sea Adventures contains a very distinctive premise. It’s a 2D game with 3D elements. Each level consists of numerous objectives such as collecting a predetermined number of Kraken crystals, blasting through rocks, and solving exceedingly easy puzzles. There are really only two or three distinguishable primary objectives in the levels though, and that’s where this title falls a bit short. You’ll be either faced with an ‘’escape’’ mission, a ‘’go from point A to point B’’ assignment, or a ‘’follow closely’’ operation. Pretty straightforward even for a game made for kids.    

 

As make your path through the game, you will unlock different abilities for Shamu to perform. These special moves and behaviors range from bubble attacks to tail lacerations. The most notable ones include a shield that explodes and injures everything in sight, a self-created tsunami that will sweep away foes, a call that will confuse enemies, and a move titled ‘’siren,’’ which will basically gather a bunch of fish to assist Shamu in battle.

One thing I would like to bring up is this game’s awfully low point of difficulty. Yes, I know, it’s not a mystery this one is made for kids, but some of the facets here are downright insulting to most people’s intelligence. Not only do you have the overhead narrator, Horacio, giving you tips, but in addition you’ll have an on-screen arrow directing you every which way to go. See, if they would have stopped right there everything would have been kosher. But no, they felt the need to add billboards telling you what corridor to take as well. These signs clearly serve no purpose as you have a directional arrow.

Replay value is almost nonexistent. The game can be completed, I jest not, in less than four hours. There are 20 missions that can either take one minute, five minutes, or 20 minutes. The thing is, if the levels are going to be this short there needs to be more of them. I actually like the idea of how short the stages were. I could sit down, complete one or two levels, save, and continue to play later when I had adequate time. It’s a real shame there isn’t more content.

Despite Shamu’s Deep Sea Adventures’ obvious gameplay issues, its atmosphere and visuals are a real treat for the senses. I don’t know about you, but I’m a guy who likes sea creatures, underwater fantasy worlds, and imaginative spectrums of innovative structures. This is where this game delivers. The special effects and colors are mind-blowing, and it’s evident that this whole theme will bring delight to younger gamers.

 

The sound is a strongpoint as well. The voiceovers and sound effects are fairly well done. That’s one area that I worry about before playing a game developed specifically for children. Some developers go way overboard with emotion and cheesy lines, but Shamu’s Deep Sea Adventures keeps its audio simplistic and established. The music score also fits the premise exceptionally well making for a reasonably nice-sounding package.

Review Scoring Details for Sea World: Shamu's Deep Sea Adventure

Gameplay: 6.5
A game can live or die by its difficulty, and SeaWorld: Shamu’s Deep Sea Adventures dies by its exceptionally unsophisticated objectives and clear-cut, almost-offensive three-hour long tutorial of a campaign.

Graphics: 7.9
A superb display of water-inspired effects and vivacious, vibrant colors. The ambiance sucks you in and doesn’t let go the entire time. This is definitely one of the better-looking children’s games out on the market right now.

Sound: 7.4
You won’t have to sit through hours of overly-happy voiceovers like you will in most games of the genre. The soundtrack, just like the voice-work, is appropriate, but is nevertheless nothing too noteworthy. In a nutshell, SeaWorld: Shamu’s Deep Sea Adventures avoids corny dialogue, and it’s a superior game for it.

Difficulty: Easy
Insulting to even a child.

Concept: 8.5
Let’s face it, games like SeaWorld: Shamu’s Deep Sea Adventures don’t come around too often. It’s fresh, it clean, and it’s truly one of a kind. I’d rank this one in the top 10 most unique games I’ve ever played.

Overall: 6.8
SeaWorld: Shamu’s Deep Sea Adventures is as mediocre as a video game can get when viewed as a whole. It has some nice features such as its art direction, story, and surprisingly good audio, but it falls flat on its face with its short length and dreadfully easy difficulty. Give this one a whirl only if you’re in dire need of a family-oriented game. 

Above Average

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