Oceanhorn Review

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I hadn’t heard of “Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas” until it was released from Steam several weeks ago and Ken suggested I play it. The game was initially released to iOS in November of 2013, but was recently released to Steam on March 17th, 2015. Now that I’ve given it a good look, here’s what I thought. As I mentioned in our preview, the games trailer immediately reminded me of the Zelda: Wind Waker art style. Not only are the character dimensions reminiscent of Wind Waker, but many of the enemies, and the focus on islands and boat travel as well. Even beyond what the game ‘borrowed’ from Wind Waker, it has pulled heavily from the rest of the Zelda franchise as well.

The game’s top-down approach is very similar to earlier Zelda titles such as A Link to the Past, or even more recently, A Link Between Worlds. Many new items are acquired through dungeons, and soon after followed by a dungeon boss that will have a weakness for your new found item. Oceanhorn also follows the similar Zelda style of tasking the player with collecting three emblems from temples around the world to complete your quest. However, while Zelda games usually use these three initial temples as a warm-up for the harder challenges, Oceanhorn is a considerably shorter game and doesn’t really feature story content beyond this straightforward quest.

Graphically the game was clearly designed for mobile devices, and won’t be a challenge for most PCs to run. As you can see in our preview videos, the game has a cel-shaded art style, but it seems to suit the game well. Game controls on the other hand can be a mixed bag. I haven’t played the game on iOS, but I’ve read several reports that it can be quite frustrating much like the DS Zelda titles Phantom Hourglass, and Spirit Tracks. Thankfully the PC controls are more intuitive, using the WASD keys to move around the map instead. Regrettably the point and click for sword swinging as well as item use can be somewhat annoying for anybody more comfortable with a more classic “Press B to swing sword” preference.  Additionally, while the game is top-down like older Zelda titles, the view is shifted slightly left so you are always viewing the map diagonal. I assume this was to give the game a more 3D look, but it could be frustrating at times when press up or down causes your character to run diagonal instead of up or down.

Overall the games style and length are what you would expect from a mobile game. The new PC version does offer some improvements over it’s mobile counterpart, so if you intend to play the game I would definitely advise getting the PC version. With such heavy influences from Zelda, the game is quite fun to play. The one thing I kept asking myself though it why Nintendo didn’t block the game from being released at all, but if they are ok with it, then so am I. The game may not be worth new AAA game prices, but it’s currently on Steam for $14.99 which I consider a bargain for the fun I got out of it. As a result, I would rate this game a Buy.

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