Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas

Here is a special title out I stumbled on for originally IOS and later ported to PC. It seems to have the aesthetics of Wind Waker with the charm of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past as well. At the heart of it all, it is a pure Zelda clone, yet a very good one.

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The developers seem to be new as I have never heard of Cornfox & Brothers, but they do have some talent on board especially in the composer department as you will hear tunes by the likes of Nobuo Uematsu, Kenji Ito and more. So what sets this apart from just being a Zelda clone? Not much, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

images    *Review based on IOS build*

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The story is quite simplistic and nothing to really write home about. A boy setting off to save the world from a Monster known as Oceanhorn. You will start off on an island known as Hermit Island where you will be instructed on how to go about saving the world from Oceanhorn and the basic mechanics involved in playing the game.

If you have never played Zelda then the gameplay is basically walking around in an isometric view, quite similar to Wind Waker, and you will start off basically with the ability to lift and throw objects. Venturing onwards you will acquire a sword and the ability to use secondary weapons such as a shield. Holding down the sword attack button will allow you to build up strength and unleash a world wind attack upon release. Your health will consist or hearts which can be increased as you collect heart containers and gather heart pieces. Magic will allow be at your disposal with an MP gauge which will deplete as you use magic. Enemies on screen can be defeated with your sword or some will require additional items which you will acquire later.

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The game will have you venturing to different islands on a boat and utilizing a shooting cannon mini-game as you sail across the ocean attacking enemies and blowing up barrels of money and items. Some islands will host villages where you can interact with the townsfolk and find various clues on where to go next or stock up on items at a shop.

There are various caves and dungeons to explore which will have you dodging fire-breathing statues and arrows shooting from walls. Dungeons will involve finding keys to open to pathways as well as flipping switches here and there to move objects. Puzzles involving pushing blocks in certain locations or in order to not obstruct your path will also be present. The real fun in any Zelda based game is collecting new items in order to solve new puzzles and defeat new enemies and you will find quite a few items to play around with as you venture forth.

Bosses are quite well done as they will require various attack patterns and strategy to overcome. Expect to encounter at least one boss at the end of each dungeon. The IOS version of the game does suffer from a bit of slowdown from later bosses where you will at times see the frame rate slow to a crawl, but should hopefully not be an issue in the PC version.Oceanhorn-abandoned-pier

Graphics are quite lovely to look at with its bright colour palette and cartoony aesthetics which will surely keep you glued to your screen. To further add to the experience there are voiced cut-scenes as you come to important parts of the adventure involving story progression. Rest assured the voices are quite well done, although don’t expect any voice acting from the main protagonist himself.

Music and sound design is very well done overall. Scores my Nobuo and Kenji will come across as quite catchy and certainly helps with the ambient atmosphere of environments you will encounter along the way.

The game of the year edition which was released late 2014 added a new island to explore and additional items as well so expect this adventure to last you quite a while especially if you want to collect all the optional items.

Divider (1)While the formula doesn’t stray far from your average Zelda title, the design of each island and dungeon alone make this a more than compelling experience. Whether played on your Iphone, Ipad or PC you are sure in for a treat. If  I didn’t know any better and someone told me this was Zelda created by Nintendo I would surely believe them. Why wait, go play now!

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