Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas was originally a mobile title released for iOS devices in late 2013. At the time, Oceanhorn was regarded as fantastic mobile title that gave many users a ‘console-like’ experience. Now, in 2017 Oceanhorn has made its way to the Nintendo Switch and we are going to take a look if it’s worth its 14.99$ price point.
Right off the bat, it has to be said, Oceanhorn draws clear inspiration from the Legend of Zelda franchise. This inspiration can be seen in most aspects of the game, from the combat to the exploration and even the art style in some aspects. The inspiration is clear, but this game does manage to create it’s own unique space, especially for those who crave more ‘Zelda-esque’ titles on the Switch.
Oceanhorn has a pretty basic story, a boy wakes up one day to find out that his father has set out to kill the Oceanhorn monster (from the title of course). You meet an old man who helps you find your fathers sword and shield, and then you set sail across various islands to find your lost father and defeat the Oceanhorn monster.
Basic? Yes. But Oceanhorn features some quality voice acting that was unexpected given it’s price point. The voice acting makes the player more engaged, and overall is a great addition to what is otherwise a plain story.
The gameplay in Oceanhorn is also, quite simple on the surface. The combat is the game is very one-dimensional. You simply run up to your enemies and attack them until they die. Also available to help you in you combat are a shield and a bow that do provide some variety to the rather bland and disengaging combat. This is perhaps the fault of the mobile origins of the game, but nevertheless should have been considered for a minor revamp when releasing the game on console.
Combat is only half of the total gameplay however, as this is also a puzzle game. Many of the puzzles you encounter at the beginning are pretty basic and the game takes it’s time to ramp up the puzzle difficulty. However, later in the game, puzzles engaged me much more and required some thinking to properly advance throughout the game. By the time the puzzle creativity increased, my adventure throughout the islands in the game was over.
Visuals & Audio:
Oceanhorn runs at a smooth 1080p 60fps in docked mode, while downgrading to 720p 60fps on handheld mode. The game has a variety of islands to explore, with some decent variety in terms of presentation. The game had nice visuals, and an extremely nice water texture that just makes me want to swim in it. Alongside the positive game visuals, the audio and music in the game is also a major contributor to the quality presentation. The superb game theme by composer Kenji Ito and some of the island themes really engaged me throughout my adventure, even if it became repetitive at times. Overall, Oceanhorn has a promising presentation that is sure to capture players.
While the combat gameplay can get stale at times, puzzles and a very delightful presentation make Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas the next destination for any Zelda fan looking for a little more adventure on their Switch.