There’s some good news and not-so-good news about Deep Voyage. On one hand, it’s a relaxing match-3 puzzle game to whittle away a lazy afternoon, but those looking for an innovative offering will be sorely disappointed.
The story of Deep Voyage involves a beautiful mermaid outside of the gates of the Underwater Kingdom, who dreams of becoming a royal sea gardener and winning the coveted design competition against some challenging peers. It’s up to you, dear puzzle gamer, to help the mermaid create a gorgeous underwater garden by playing through a number of levels.
OK, so the story seems like an afterthought as the game-play is similar to many other match-three “Collapse”-like diversions. For each of the 200 levels, each with a different 2-D board layout, your goal is to click on at least three adjacent gems of the same color so that they explode, disappear, and cause others to cascade down the board. Note: the same-colored gems do not need to be in a horizontal and vertical line, but they do need to be touching (such as an “L” shape or a rectangle comprised of 2 x 4 gems). In order to clear each level, however, all the wooden planks behind the gems must be destroyed first.
Tokens also appear on the board, and if you can destroy the gems underneath them until they eventually fall through the bottom, you can use them to build your garden in a number of scenes (most of which are unlocked to start).
Power-ups and obstacles also add to the fun. Examples of the former include ones that are already on the board, such as gems with lines through them that explode all the gems for you in a line or a column, or ones you can click to initiate on the board when you need it, such as exploding a nagging gem that is difficult to match with others (or swapping two gems on the board, called “Color Exchange”).
Obstacles, on the other hand, can be chains that need to be broken before gems cascade down the board below it. Or another kind of obstacle could be spaces on the board, meaning gems can’t be removed by making matches – rather, power-ups such as a horizontal line explosion may be the only way to destroy an isolated gem.
Every few levels players can partake in a jigsaw-like puzzle where you must swap two pieces on a board so that it makes up an image. These are ok, but we’ve seen these many times before, and frankly, the visuals aren’t on par as other games. Speaking of which, the whole garden building portion, where you simply click to add more to the unlockable underwater scenes, doesn’t really give you the incentive to keep playing.
Deep Voyage isn’t a bad game – it’s just one of those “eh” puzzlers that, while relaxing, proves to be a mediocre collapse-style diversion. The board layouts are interesting, and increasingly challenging, but the so-so graphics, upgrades and design competition theme make this a C-grade title at best.