Playfirst, Inc., known for its mobile Diner Dash series, debuts its newest character, Narly the Narwhal in Deep Sea Deli for iOS. After layoffs associated with a failed foray into the social gaming market, Playfirst is back with a simple, but fun puzzler for all ages.
What’s in the Water, the ocean floor’s hottest gossip blog, has reported that a shipwreck caused by the air breathers has thrown a variety of unknown refuse into the ocean revealed to be “Deli” meat along with other strange edible plants. However, amidst the havoc wrought by the foreign meats and cheeses on the aquatic population, one washed up man – err – narwhal has risen up to take on the challenge armed only with the self-help book, Deli-rious for Delis.
Narly, a retired tusker (they are the jedi of the sea after all) down on his luck after too many lost fights, is seizing opportunity in this underwater puzzler after finding the guide to his success amongst the raining sandwich items. Using his horn to spear meet as he swims through the sea, Narly has taken to providing the oceans inhabitants with only the best subs this side of the Pacific and the residents are in love.
While the story behind the Deep Sea Deli could be captured in a variety of genres, Playfirst has taken the puzzle route with gratifying results. The details for this title in the App Store are comedically overstated which fits with the theme set up by the companion blog. It can be hard to take serious, but this is hardly a serious game. Imagine a pattern lock screen (Common on Android); Now imagine it’s covered in sandwich toppings and you’ve got the most accurate summary of this game possible.
Players are immediately thrown into the role of Narly the Narwhal with customers lining up, their sandwich dreams displayed in a thought bubble over their head. Players must draw a complete line with their finger through all the sandwich items desired by the customer in one complete draw as quickly as possible in order to maximize score. The game seems simple, almost childish, at the early levels with only three ingredients to choose from, but the more boards cleared, the higher the demand.
A two second hesitation deciding whether clearing the board is possible after the next move and you may have just blown your chance at the lifesaving mystery meet that drops with the occasional combo and while there is an undo option, one move isn’t going to make a difference. Upgrades definitely help when it comes to clearing boards 12th and higher, but are hardly necessary and can easily be bought with coins earned in game so in-app purchases can be avoided much to most gamers’ relief.
Played on the iPad, the look of the game is appealing with smooth lines and bright colors that will please all ages. This is a game that can be easy and delightful enough that you needn’t worry pawning it off to your toddler cousin when the family comes to visit, but can be challenging enough that you don’t feel like it’s just taking up space on your app list for no reason. The animation is smooth with no real issues to speak of and the cuteness of the sea creatures is amusing.
Playing as Narly, the one and only Narwhal Song immediately enters the mind. Unfortunately, you’ll find none of that here; a missed opportunity in my book. The game’s music is a repetitive jingle that will stick with the player after they close the app, but not in a good way – more like that commercial you just can’t stop humming. Fortunately, there’s separate options in the menu for music and sound effects, so feel free to jam to your own tunes while working at the underwater Subway.
Released for free on April 25 to reasonably good feedback, Deep Sea Deli has received a few reports of some issues with crashing unexpectedly, but this was not my experience. While not a great game technically, it’s a title that’s just plain fun. Sometimes regular easy little to no thought arcade game is just what the doctor ordered and the hours will fade away into this one.