Dean here and I’m doing a bit of a hybrid preview and review for the action adventure game Switch title, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas. Released waaay back in 2013 for Apple’s iOS systems, the game has been ported to various other platforms in the meantime and finally gets to grace a spot on the Nintendo Switch in 2017.
The game focuses on the young unnamed protagonist and his quest to find his father and defeat the strange sea monster Oceanhorn. As soon as the game starts and dives into it’s story you’ll instantly be reminded of the Legend of Zelda series and that’s a fair comparison: You can throw pots, collect hearts and use magic spells. Yes, as much as Oceanhorn borrows elements from Zelda it also stands on it’s own and is a very likeable experience from the get-go.
Oceanhorn’s gameplay is pretty simple; you can run, collect stuff, fight and explore. As you do all of those things you’re rewarded with money and crystals which grant you experience points. When you have enough of these, you level up and become stronger with more abilities such as being able to carry more items that you’ve acquired, for example bombs and arrows.
Alongside this mechanic is the ability to complete achievements which also give you experience points. This is a great feature and adds to the depth of Oceanhorn as they are a nice break from the main story and can be found on every island. Speaking of islands, I cannot stress enough that you need to talk to every character you come across. Why? Well, to unlock new locations the island name may either have to crop up in a conversation or be found in something like a message in a bottle, as one example.
So the main ethos of Oceanhorn is exploration and solving puzzles. The puzzles range from simple tasks such as standing on buttons to release the barriers to the next area to moving statues into specific spots. Whilst some are straightforward, others become a little bit more complex and may require you to backtrack to, say, read that note and remind yourself how to proceed.
So how does the game look, sound and most importantly handle? It looks and sounds great, with characters and enemies looking really sharp and no framerate drops at all. The controls are near-on-flawless and I’ve had no issues falling into pits or aiming the bow.
For the short amount of time I’ve had with Oceanhorn I’ve found it becoming better and better the further through it I have gotten. The nods to Zelda and other adventure games are awesome and it strays far enough away to avoid becoming a complete rip off. It’s strong enough on it’s own and is a treat for Nintendo Switch owners. Highly recommended.