Originally a mobile game, Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas now makes its way to Steam.
Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas is clearly very inspired by the Zelda series of games. From the basis of the story, the game journey and even how the game plays. If you are a fan of the series you will almost certainly enjoy the game. Let’s get that out the way and get on with the review. The game starts with a man setting off on a journey to destroy an ancient sea monster. After some time the person has still not returned and is missed by his son. You play the character of the son and follow the path to find out what has happened and destroy the sea monster.
You start the game on a small island with only one other inhabitant, an old man who becomes your mentor as you continue on your travels. Along the way you gain experience by killing enemies and completing tasks which levels up your character and occasionally increasing how much you can carry and other bonuses. Additional skills and upgrades are earned throughout the game including spells which allow you to shoot ice and fire and weapons including bombs and arrows.
The game takes you on a journey throughout the world which consists of a dozen or so islands which are visited by travelling by boat. The boat journeys are an on-the-rails affair but you do get to shoot enemies, obstructions and items to pass the time. I did find after several trips that the process got very repetitive and wished for an option to skip it.
The islands are your traditional ‘zones’ including fire, ice and earth. The main islands have distinctive designs which match the theme of the area such as red colour schemes for fire and cool cold wastes for the ice areas. The graphics look the part with a mix of 16 and 32 bit styles which work just as well on PC as it done on the mobile equivalent. Enemies are less varied, with several types throughout the game, occasionally there is a minor difference to reflect the area they are in. A few more types of enemies would have been great to give some variety and increase the challenge as the game progresses.
The islands generally consist of an outdoor and indoor areas to explore. The outside is usually more of a combat area as you find the objectives to unlock a dungeon to progress. Once inside, the areas take on a more puzzle theme which means relatively simple puzzles to solve in order to open a door or other mechanism. The most basic are putting an item on a switch, through to slightly more challenging pushing blocks into certain spaces. I never found any puzzle too difficult and had usually worked them out in one or two attempts. At the end of each main island you come against a boss. Again, once you work out their attack pattern or weak spot it will only take one or two attempts to defeat them.
The main issue with Oceanhorn is the overall difficulty, it feels rather pedestrian and I never felt challenged during the game, the combat is extremely easy and the puzzles are basic. This leads to some repetitiveness as you push blocks around as a matter of course and not being challenged to work it out. The game definitely falls short in these places but it’s otherwise an enjoyable game with good graphics and a decent (if unoriginal) story which takes around ten to thirteen hours to get through. While not a Zelda game beater, there is enough to warrant a purchase if you don’t expect a big challenge.
Easy combat and basic puzzle solving detract from an otherwise enjoyable game.
Nice 16/32bit style graphics which suit the area themes throughout the game.
Great music throughout the game, the speech is performed well. Sound effects are average.
The game copy played for this review was provided by the PR company.0