Action,  Adventure,  Platformer,  Reviews

Curse of the Sea Rats Review

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Fast Facts

Curse of the Sea Rats

Developer: Petoons Studio
Publisher: PQube Limited
Genre(s): Action, Platformer, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on Xbox, PlayStation and Windows)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 06/04/2023
Price: £16.99

A code was provided for review purposes

Curse of the Sea Rats is a 2.5D Metroidvania game developed by Petoons Studio and published by PQube Limited. The game is set in a pirate-themed world and follows the adventure of four playable characters. 

Story and Narrative

The story is set along the Irish coast in the year 1777. It follows 4 playable characters David Douglas, Buffalo Calf, Bussa, and Akane Yamakawa. Prisoners of the British Empire have been transformed into rats by a pirate witch called Flora Burn. You seek a mysterious Amulet with magical powers, fighting enemies and chasing the witch you hope will restore your human form. 

The story is great fun, and I found some charming dialogue and characters throughout. It plays nicely against the hand-drawn art style and a fun score to set the scene. There weren’t clear differences in the narrative between characters, but all 4 are playable via co-op, which might explain why. 

Avast ye dirty scallywags

Visuals and Graphics

The game’s graphics are reminiscent of classic 2D platformers, with hand-drawn characters and environments. The backgrounds are vibrant and colourful, and the character designs are unique and visually appealing. The animations are smooth and fluid, and the game runs at a steady frame rate. The overall visual experience is pretty great. I loved the hand-drawn style, which would feel at home in an animated film or Saturday morning cartoon. I did find the animations to be one of the trickier elements early on in my playthrough, though. They look great, but, as I’ll mention later on, they hampered the early gameplay experience for me.  

Sound and Audio

I loved the game’s music, and I think the overall sound design is also well done. The music is composed of catchy and upbeat pirate-themed tunes that I found paired nicely with the rest of the game. The sound effects are also well done, with each action having a distinct and satisfying sound. I found some real inconsistencies in the voice work during my play-through. Some characters were fantastically captured, whereas others seemed a little off. This was addressed by the team via a Day 1 patch. While there were improvements, these issues were still apparent, though never enough to ruin my experience. 


Classic Metroidvania-style game design is where Curse of the Ear-Rats excels. The game is split up into several areas, each with its distinct theme and challenges. Players must explore these areas, find power-ups and upgrades, and defeat bosses to progress through the game.

Get your hands off my booty!

The game’s combat is simple but satisfying. Players can attack using a variety of weapons, styles and magic. Each character has unique abilities, which adds variety to the gameplay. The enemies in the game are varied and challenging, with each one requiring a different approach to defeat. 

It also falls in line with some of the more modern Metroidvania-style platforms in adopting an almost souls-like methodology to its gameplay cycle. You collect currency and items as you progress, as well as spiritual energy, which is handy for defeating enemies. This Spiritual Energy can be used to upgrade each character through their skill trees, and it provided a nice sense of progression from one play to the next. Die, and you have to return to the place of your last failure to regain your lost Spiritual energy, a la Dark Souls or Hollow Knight. Again this is a welcome little addition. 

Combat and Level Design

As mentioned, some of the animation work on the characters made for some tricky times early on in my experience. Many modern platforms thrive on quick, sharp and precise movement and patterns to succeed. The attack patterns and parry system in Curse of the Sea Rats struck me as quite slow and tricky to grasp early on. The experience started as quite frustrating, but as I came to terms with the game demanding a slower, more calculated approach to combat, I came to appreciate it a little more. 

The overall design of the map was solid all the way through. I kept getting lost or would run in circles but quickly started unlocking new skills that would open up areas I stumbled across earlier. In a lot of ways, it’s a pretty standard Metroidvania affair, but the beautiful artwork and the accompanying sound design and soundtrack make it a real treat to work through.

4-Player Combat

One of the unique features of Curse of the Sea Rats is the ability to switch between the four playable characters at any time. Each character has its strengths and weaknesses, and players must use each character’s abilities to progress through the game. Akane, the first character I used, has a staff-type weapon better for distance combat. Buffalo Calg menthol uses daggers better for close combat, which I found pretty challenging. Altogether characters all have a great feel to them, but I quickly found my main and didn’t feel a need to switch out as I progressed. 

The game also features a unique levelling system. As players defeat enemies, they earn experience points, which can be used to level up their characters. Levelling up increases a character’s health and damage output and unlocks new abilities. The levelling system is well-balanced, and players must carefully consider which character they want to level up, as each character’s strengths and weaknesses can affect gameplay.

Boss Battles

Curse of the Sea Rats’ boss battles are serviceable, but it was again a little frustrating early on. As you might expect, there is a clear process of learning boss attacks and patterns and then responding and learning in kind. Unfortunately, inconsistent hitboxes and other strange inconsistencies had me feeling a little cheated. Bosses should be challenging, but if I’m constantly feeling like I’m being cheated rather than beaten, then it starts to feel like some tweaking might be required. Each boss is unique and challenging, with each one requiring a different approach to defeat. 

You shall not pass!


Aside from these occasional combat frustrations, the game was stable and polished, and it looks great. My experience with Curse of the Sea Rats was entirely on Nintendo Switch, and in both handheld and docked modes, the game ran smoothly with no noticeable performance issues. 


Curse of the Sea Rats is a great little Metroidvania with set in an interesting world with some fun characters and a fantastically realised pirate setting. Some of the decisions around combat had me frustrated from time to time. However, it was never enough to ruin my time. In conclusion, Curse of the Sea Rats faces some stiff competition in its genre, but fans of a good Metroidvania will find a lot to love in this quirky pirate platformer.  

Rapid Reviews Rating

3.5 out of 5


You can get your copy of Cure of the Sea Rats from the Nintendo Store today.

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