When you first see Oceanhorn, you will immediately think, “Zelda”, and I’m sure the developers won’t deny that it was an inspiration for the game. While the game is a nod to one of the greatest game series of all time, it does have some differences.
There is a lot of good happening in Oceanhorn. It is an 8-12 hour epic ride (depending on how much exploring you do, and how good you are at puzzles), where you travel to many islands on your quest to save your father. The game sends you on your main quest, but does offer some side quests that you can do later on to pick up additional collectibles. You are encouraged to talk to the various people inhabiting the islands, as they give you tips on where to go, and what to do, as well as unlocking new islands. Boss battles happen now and then, and most are not overly difficult, but if you do happen to die, the game has a very forgiving checkpoint system.
The music in this game is great, and each track goes with the theme of the island or boss fight.The music reminds me of the old days of playing video games, and the many great tracks that went along with that.
As you continue your quest and unlock emblems items, you gain new powers that help you on your way, and allow you access to new areas you could not reach previously. The islands you find are rather small, but they have many levels and depth which increases their size. The goal is to island hop, fulfilling missions as they are handed out, and ultimately complete the main quest, and find out the fate of your father, as well as save the land from the evil invading it.
While the game overall is great, there are some things I had issues with. The main thing you must get used to, because the game has a set camera angle, it can be hard to distinguish what you can and can’t climb up, or jump off of. Some of this is due to invisible walls that the developer put when creating the game to keep you from falling off ledges, but there are some low drops that are blocked to keep you from progressing further in the game too early. I’m sure this was a decision they made to keep the game flowing forward, but is sometimes annoying, but you get used to it.
The voice acting in the game, although a nice surprise, feels flat. I feel the game could have been just as powerful with text, or a made up vocal language. Most of the game is text, so when a voice over happens, it is startling. This is minor, but something I noticed.
One final gripe with the game is that once you pick a new island to go to, you move on a boat, which is fine, but you have no control over the boat. This is overlooked for the most part, since you are required to shoot things on your path to the new island, but could have been more fun if free roaming the seas was allowed.
The achievements in this game, besides the final few, will be obtained by progressing through the game. They are usually tied to challenges or game feats, and the game throws them out at a steady pace. The collectibles and challenges don’t seem to be missable, so you should be able to play through the game, and once you beat the final boss you are allowed to continue exploring.
Overall, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is a magnificent game, that shows what an indie title can be. The game started as a phone game, so there is simplicity there, but it still is a great action/adventure title that no Xbox gamer should miss. Priced at only $14.99, it has a huge amount of content compared to other indie titles, and with 8-12 hours or more of gameplay, you can spend some time with this. The unlocks progress at a steady pace, and unless you are stuck everything moves quickly, so you won’t get bored. If you are a fan of the Zelda games, this is an insta-buy, and even if you aren’t, I’d suggest giving it a try. I don’t think you will regret it.
Developed by: Cornfox and Bros.
Published by: FDG Entertainment
Xbox Marketplace: https://www.microsoft.com/store/p/oceanhorn-monster-of-uncharted-seas/c1zsx0z50vw2
Steam Store: http://store.steampowered.com/app/339200/