It’s 12:04am and I’ve just crawled in to bed with one thing on my mind; I want to dive deep in to the ocean, and blast away some shellfish with my laser harpoon gun as I collect pearls from oysters, drilling my way through blocks of rock around me to discover nuggets of gold. How will I achieve this farfetched desire all from my double bed in my socks, boxers and today’s retro gaming t-shirt? (black with a picture of the ZX Spectrum, if you’re interested) … Well I’ve just downloaded “Deep Loot” from Monster and Monster for my iPhone of course, and I’m about to take the plunge.
“I’m just going to have a quick go of this new game, I’m going to review it for Retro Yak”, I whisper across to a slightly irritated fiancee as the light of the phone brightens her sleepy and slightly annoyed face. “OK, but don’t wake the baby”. Across from me is my 18 month old boy in his cot, fast asleep. The room is in complete vacuumed silence; a silence that has been there for the past five hours without me, and for me to disturb it now would be downright despicable. I hear a soft whisper from next to me, “Can you turn down the brightness just a little bit?”, “yeah, no problem” I reply in a faint voice. The stillness of the room remains, the baby is fast asleep and everything is peaceful. Here I go… I’m diving in to Deep Loot for the first time… *App icon pressed*.
“What the hell are you doing??!” is forced in to my right ear at similar volume. I panic and switch the phone in to stand-by mode. I can only blame myself for this situation, it was completely human error and not a game bug or anything like that; earlier I was listening to some music whilst filling the bath and of course I couldn’t hear it over the tap running, and so I had turned it up all the way to the top (and forgotten about it!) “I’m sorry, I must have had the volume turned right up from earlier, I didn’t know that was going to happen. Sorry”. We sit in stunned silence hoping that the baby has not awakened, and by some strange stroke of luck unbelievably he has not stirred. “Don’t do that again” I hear in a much harsher whisper, a whisper that is as closest to a yell as possible but still in whisper territory (you know the type). And so, with frayed nerves and a bead of sweat trickling down my brow; I press the stand-by button to turn the phone back on. Big Mistake.
I scramble for any button and eventually press the iPhone Home button, which exits the app and the music stops.
“GET OUT!!” I have barked at me at a no holds barred level of decibels as nothing shouted now would surely matter after filling the room with a wall of analogue sound for the second time; the baby is surely awake! “Sorry, OK I’ll not play it, I’ll go to sleep”. I put the phone down and await the wailing cry of a disturbed teething toddler.. But nothing. Thankfully and once again unbelievably he did not wake up. Slumber fills the room for the remaining two and all is forgotten. This game better be good; I almost lost my testicles from just 7 seconds of the title screen!
After the stressful first attempt at opening this game, I had a re-think and decided I should really do this in a non-threatening environment. How can I get a worthwhile experience playing it for the first time, I wonder; then it hits me. I need to get in the head of the developers, and Deep Loot’s diving protagonist and so I take a walk down to the marina near where I live and look out at the boats and the water, and take in the stillness of what is above the surface and wonder what is going on below. Is there a tubby little round headed bald guy under there, precariously holding oxygen in his little pixel lungs being attacked by crustaceans? Are there treasure chests and ancient relics just waiting there for the taking? Maybe not but that’s what’s soon to be happening on the device in my pocket. I walk on and make my way to the seaside, and sit on a bench in the peaceful warmth. Clouds above are gathering and threaten rain but this doesn’t move me on; I take in the tranquility of the surroundings. In front of me a distant lighthouse, and waves splashing calmly against the rocks. *This* is the place to try Deep Loot for the first time.
Where better place to play it than sitting with the real sound of the sea brushing back and forth along the shore right there ahead as seagulls squawk their conversations to each other above me. With the smell of the sea air and seaweed now tantalising my nose, I’ve created for myself a 4D experience; who needs the Oculus Rift! I spot a lonely boat out at sea and this takes my imagination and anticipation for this game over the edge. That’s me on that boat that is, and it’s time to go deep, and grab me some loot….
App now open, the first thing that grabs me apart from the swirling chiptune which would be right at home on a public domain demo floppy from 1994 (this time, at a none ear splitting volume), is the delightful and colourful pixel graphics. It really gave me a happy feeling of nostalgia like I’d just inserted a disk in to the Amiga’s DFO drive, the clunking and whirring had stopped and this game had just loaded. This is not a 3D isometric battle game, or a candy crush or flappy bird clone that developers are trying to push on to me these days, the type that make’s me groan when I first open them and think to myself “oh, it’s one of these”. No, this is super fresh looking and has a uniqueness that I haven’t seen for a long time. It has a comfortable simplicity but at the same time you know it possesses power. I can feel that something special is going to happen as soon as my character jumps off that boat and I can’t help but smile at how cute and dinky the characters are as they sit bobbing about on the lush blue pixelated sea that I simply can’t wait to explore.
With a donk on the head from my little companion (yeah, thanks for that!) I fall (still conscious, thankfully) in to the water; that little detail alone raises yet another smile. I’m learning that this is somewhat of a trademark of Monster & Monster; the ability to make the player smile and feel happy when playing their games and this one is definitely not a disappointment in that regard (or any so far!)
Down my little guy goes in to the depths of the ocean and I’m straight in to the action. I realise that the controls are super simple; tap the screen where you would like your guy to go. See something you want to shoot? Tap it. See some loot you want to grab? Tap it! This is so easy to play; literally within seconds you’re accomplishing the ability to upgrade your character and his equipment, and thus enhance your experience. I’m an instant expert!!
It’s incredible simplicity and the joyous graphic payoff’s and humour give an instant gratification that would usually come with games such as Coin Dozer. Wait a minute; this IS Coin Dozer, but an open-world, 2D exploration based platformer, underwater version with jelly fish and other beasties trying to kill me.
OK I suppose the comparison to Coin Dozer really could have ended with the fact you are collecting coins (and in this, a whole range of other treasures) but one other thing to note where both game are very similar… Sheer addictiveness!
I simply can not stop playing. I just know the upcoming months will be like this.. Sitting on a bench by the sea: Playing. Sitting on the settee? Playing. Standing in a queue? Playing. Sitting on the toilet? Playing. Sleeping? No, playing!
I get the chance to have a very quick explore, collect some gold and (ooo, interesting) what looks like a dinosaur bone I found whilst drilling. Little fish and crab-looking-things move each time I make a move, some swim toward me whilst others are not aware of my presence (yet), but then oddly they stop when I stop. Waiiit… this is turn-based! I can take my time to make sure I use my moves wisely and strategically. I’ve also noticed my air depletes every time I do anything including shooting, drilling, moving or looting. The fun is seemingly postponed for now as my air runs out and I’m taken back to my boat. I look up from my iPhone as seagull’s are congregating; Go away you annoying vermon!!! Stop disturbing me!! Argrggrghh I need to get back down in to the ocean! I need to find more dinosaur bones so that I’ve collected the full set!! I need to go deeper this time!!! (I feel everything else is just crap now compared to Deep Loot).
Back on the boat the fun actually continues as I’m presented with a shop to buy upgrades, items, new diving suits, better boats and more, each with it’s price tag. I need to go Deep and save me up some Loot, because I really need to purchase the “swanky wetsuit” that has caught my attention in the Suit Upgrade section; it’ll give me +12% air so that I can stay underwater longer! YES! … And so the real addiction begins.
There are many special missions to complete and a whole host of other features and special bonuses thrown in to this vast game, such as the “Super Boost” which gives the player the ability to ditch his standard issue boat for a one off trip in to even deeper territory in a one man submarine! Being all the way down there gives you a taster of what is to come when your lungs or air tank can take it; murkier waters with scarier looking and more hostile sea life that can really cause some damage, and also richer looking treasure chests and better loot. This game is undeniably BIG!
The game’s Loot, Deep Loot
Something that really caught my attention during one of my exploration sessions, was when I came across a wreckage of James Bond’s submarine car from “The Spy Who Loved Me”, which gave me the greatest feeling. The reason for this being that it was actually me (with probably many others) who suggested that it be put in there, on one of Monster & Monster’s many Facebook posts and tweets asking for input and ideas during the development of Deep Loot. That’s been the great thing about M&M and Deep Loot right from the start; they’ve made sure it has been very community lead and I’m sure all of the feedback was taken on board and many ideas sent through found their way in to the game.
…Oh my Lord, I just found the Ark of the Covenant under the ocean!! (Cue this song). Kudos for whoever suggested that one!
Now with the inclusion of a dedicated page on their website for submitting ideas (http://www.monsterandmonster.com/ideas) it’s great to know that they’re welcoming more involvement from their player base to shape the game to be better and even more enjoyable.
In a nutshell (or crab shell) Deep Loot is just a brilliant game; fun, rewarding, and has excellent replay value. It’s one of those game’s that you could easily play for hours but you could also play for seconds if you were in the queue for some chips or something, with equal enjoyment.
I almost lost my testicles over this game in the beginning, so was it worth it? Absolutely. I’m now planning a good hour or so of looting tonight in bed, I’ll just have to double check my volume setting beforehand.
Download “Deep Loot” now for FREE on iOS from the Apple App store:
Android version coming soon (I’ll update the review with link when that happens)