Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas (PC) Review

By Shanker Varma 23.03.2015 3

Review for Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas on PC

It's easy to see that Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas has been inspired by The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker as the music and art style are immediately reminiscent of Nintendo's classic adventure title. The gameplay itself also borrows some hallmarks from the Zelda series and it is a worthy tribute to such a highly regarded franchise. Unfortunately, the gameplay does little to expand the ideas that it borrows and ultimately shows its iOS roots through its very simple combat. Nonetheless, Oceanhorn is still an enjoyable adventure for anyone seeking a relatively straightforward affair.

Upon starting Oceanhorn, players are free to explore the first of the game's several islands at their own will. Certain parts are cordoned off until specific items have been acquired but it's easy to see an immediate reward to curious exploration. Sadly, these rewards aren't as fulfilling as they are in other games as the majority of them take the form of experience points that level up the main character. While the ultimate result is the same - like upgrades, such as the ability to carry more items - the endeavour doesn't feel as fruitful as it would if the reward were more immediately apparent. This is slightly redeemed by the fact that heart pieces are hidden throughout the world, to increase the hero's total health, but they are not prominent enough to completely dispel the disappointment of yet another bundle of experience points.

Initially, there are very few NPCs to interact with but the world soon shows its inhabitants upon journeying to new islands. Different people have their own stories to tell or items to sell but there is little to be found in the way of side-quests when speaking to them, with these usually found instead by reading messages in bottles that have washed up on the shores of some of the islands.

Screenshot for Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas on PC

Oceanhorn takes place on a vast ocean that is littered with a number of small islands. As a result, players must sail between destinations, although this is not as enjoyable as it may first appear. Sailing boils down to simply marking a destination on a map and letting the game direct the boat on the shortest possible route. It tries to maintain engagement by creating hazards that may be shot down, yet this does little to mask the disappointment of being unable to freely explore the vast watery expanse. Instead, new islands are automatically marked on the map after hearing about them from NPCs or via written messages.

Also much like the Zelda series, dungeons are very prominent. The puzzles contained within them, and some parts of the overworld, will be very similar to fans of Nintendo's games - moving blocks around, for example. Sadly, this adventure does little to expand or revolutionise upon these ideas and so the majority of its teasers are very simple to solve and challenge patience rather than wit. Even special items offer little to excite and are often underused in puzzles and enemy encounters. The majority of the game can easily be completed by engaging enemies with a sword and shield.

Screenshot for Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas on PC

Zelda games have never had impressive stories and Monster of Uncharted Seas follows its cue here with a simple scenario of a young boy who must set out to save the world. The small amount narrative is delivered well through voice actors, although it is strange that the protagonist remains silent at all times, even when NPCs speak aloud to him. It is very easy to forget about the overall story but hearing people tell the hero about the world and their own exploits does add a small part to the overall appeal.

Oceanhorn's simple art style means that it runs well, for the most part, once V-sync has been applied to get rid of some very distracting screen tearing. The game won't astound anyone with its visuals but they are still very appealing to the eye. There are touches of unfortunate slowdown but these are few and far between. Also, the music complements the world very well and is incredible in its own right. Sadly, the dungeons don't have a very varied soundtrack, which leads to hearing the same themes throughout most of the game. While the music is wonderfully composed, even the best of tracks can be tiresome after a while.

Screenshot for Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas on PC

iOS titles don't have the luxury of traditional controls but Oceanhorn adapts itself well to both a controller and the keyboard and mouse combination. The game plays well with either method but the lack of customisation options will leave some gamers feeling hampered as it is not possible to invert the Y-axis. This is a problem that is mainly confined to naval combat but it is a disappointing oversight.

The freedom to use a controller or keyboard and mouse is a welcome one and both methods work well when it comes to the game's combat. However, it shows its iOS roots as combat remains a simple affair with most enemies succumbing to a few strikes of the hero's sword. While this means that either control method works equally well, it does make it very tempting to simply dash past enemies instead of engaging them.

Screenshot for Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas' comparisons to the Zelda series amplify its shortcomings, but, as a standalone title, the game delivers a very enjoyable adventure. Gamers looking for a simpler challenge will relish this, while those after something more engaging may be put off, but it remains a very well developed experience. Recreating the magic of a Zelda game is a tall order, but Cornfox & Bros. has made a valiant effort to do so.

Developer

Cornfox & Bros.

Publisher

Cornfox & Bros.

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Your review reads so much better than mine. XD

Its a pretty good little game for what its worth.

lol I know the tagline is in reference to that Ocarina of Time advert, but I know a few girls who'd have something to say about that!

Decent looking game. Shame it sounds a bit too simple. Could do with more great Zelda-clones to keep the long waits between releases more bearable.

I remember that commercial... It was maybe not the most bright day at Nintendo's PR department nor something I think Nintendo look back at with pride. Smilie Nice reference though. x3

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

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