So many games, and so little time to cover them all!  

Between the site’s scheduling and the amount of great looking indie titles releasing every month, there sometimes just isn’t time to shine a detailed spotlight on every single one of them. As such, our QuickShot reviews are designed to provide smaller bitesized reviews on a few other releases along with some footage of it in action!

Our plucky pirate protagonists start the story in a pretty bad situation. After being rounded up by the Royal Navy, they find themselves heading to their trial where they will inevitably end up executed. After a storm sends the boat into the reach of the evil pirate witch, Flora Burns, both crew and pirate prisoners alike find themselves turned into rodents. It’s unclear as to why, but the beautiful hand-drawn rats brought back fond memories of Biker Mice from Mars so I was happy not to question it further.

Luckily, these fanged fiends have a potential way to save their hamster-like hide (sorry, I’ll stop): Flora has also decided to kidnap the Admiral’s son, so a deal has been offered whereby they’ll be spared if they can rescue him. Considering they’ve not got a huge amount of choice, it seems like a fair deal.

So, off they go in search of Flora and the child. There are four characters to choose from, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, but considering that you can switch between them at will later on, it’s not quite the huge choice that it could have been. It’s nice that they’ve added some leniency as not to be stuck with someone you don’t click with, but it does slightly limit the potential replay value somewhat.


Unfortunately though, none of the characters really feel right due to the dreadful controls. Movement feels clunky due to the long input delay the game has, and it makes both attack and defence a bit of a pain. There are a fair few choices available in your roster, from magic attacks to a parry attack, but there’s certainly a learning curve that makes the early game quite hard-going at first – especially with your relatively low starting HP.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself here, so let’s take a step or two back. Curse of the Sea Rats is a Metroidvania, which will see you wandering around this oceanic themed world getting gradually stronger and progressing further. Your character can acquire skill points from defeating enemies that will allow them to level up and acquire upgrades from a skill tree linked to a magical amulet that you carry around with you. Each character has their own tree, which unfortunately means that it doesn’t pay to be switching characters too often as it will lead to either everyone being slightly under-level. Finding a favourite early on will help to ensure that your levelling remains focused and helps to make your favourite into an absolute powerhouse. 

Everything looks great, whether it be the environment or the enemies, although the latter can be a pain as you get to grips with the aforementioned wonky controls. The early game features some cheap enemy types and a tough first boss that pops up surprisingly early to test how well you’ve adjusted. It feels like an attempt to be the next Hollow Knight or Blasphemous, but failure in those games feels more like your own fault rather than the game controlling badly. Things do ease up as you get stronger and adjust to the sluggishness, but it never really stops feeling bad. It’s possibly down to the (admittedly beautiful) animation, but it really shouldn’t have come at the expense of the gameplay. It’s also worth noting too that this initial difficulty can also be tackled by playing the game in co-op, which is certainly a nice addition even if it doesn’t really increase the overall fun very much.

As for the levels themselves, they’re mostly fine if a little dull in their overall design. There are areas that you can explore for hidden treasure, but alternate routes have a tendency to all lead to the same area. Whilst it does add a certain sense of cohesiveness, it does also result in the loss of that explorative feeling that the genre is known for. There are some sidequests available for you to do, but as these boil down to simple fetch quests, your desire to do them may vary.


Curse of the Sea Rats is unfortunately a difficult game to recommend unless you’re a diehard fan of the genre desperate for something else to play. But, even then, the beautiful hand-drawn only impress so much before the disappointing gameplay and level design sets in. That’s not to say it’s terrible, as the initial gameplay footage below shows, but it’s just alright.. Hopefully a follow up game could show off the potential that this ratroidvania has buried in its little mouse hole.