Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas was originally developed for iOS, but has now come to new gen consoles. Oceanhorn features familiar gameplay for Legend of Zelda fans and music from the great composers Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) and Kenji Ito (Mana series). The end result is a very familiar, yet still enjoyable adventure game.
Players take the role of a young adventurer who takes up his missing father’s sword and shield and goes on a quest to find him, solve puzzles, and fight various monsters along the way. Oceanhorn is played in an overhead perspective for the most part, switching slightly to third person for when traveling between locations in your boat. Each location has its own distinct look and is very well designed. Players travel between locations looking for items to aid in your quest, such as bombs, arrows, and various spells.
The puzzles are the usual “move this block to make a path” and “get to this lever to open a gate” but some can be very tricky, involving use of your shield or a certain spell. The combat does not require much thought and most boss battles have a gimmick or pattern that can be figured out quickly. There is no jumping in Oceanhorn and players must utilize the terrain like a puzzle at times, to get to a certain entrance, for example.
Players will find a very linear story that will take about 15 to 20 hours to complete. Unfortunately Oceanhorn does not give you a good path objective and the map is very little help. I spent lots of time just running around the same areas over and over until I happened to notice the solution leading to the next area, or in the case of the world map, picked the correct island to explore. The spells and items you acquire are usually a good indicator of the next puzzle solution and location, but it still isn’t always clear. The travel system consists of a small sail boat that players ride in that will take you to your next island location. Sadly, players do not control the boat, but can have some fun shooting barrels and enemies while they traverse the ocean.
Leveling in Oceanhorn is very basic, as players complete objectives and defeat enemies, your hero gains experience points and levels, but these really don’t seem to change anything. Some kind of customization would have helped with developing play styles or really anything to use that experience for would have been a welcome addition.
The music in Oceanhorn is by far the shining point. It is spectacular. It made me wish more games today sounded like this. The voice work however was a bit forced. I honestly don’t know why a mobile game, even converted to console, needed it. I would have rather have heard no voices and just had readable text, to be honest.
To say Oceanhorn is a Zelda clone is putting it lightly. Everything about Oceanhorn seems to mirror The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for the Gamecube and Wii U. Unfortunately, it ends up feeling like a “store brand soda” version of Wind Waker. It will do the job but leaves you wanting more.
Oceanhorn is bright and colorful, and fun to play. The music is amazing and the puzzles and boss fights are enjoyable, but the story is generic and the combat is bland. Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is very different from most games these days, though and I cannot think of any other games that players will get this kind of experience on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. If you want a fun, yet short game, at a good price, check out Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas on the PlayStation store and Xbox Marketplace for only $14.99!
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is available now on Ps4, Xbox One, PC, and iOS. This review is based on a copy provided for review purposes.