Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas (PlayStation 4) Review

By Az Elias 30.09.2016

Review for Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas on PlayStation 4

The wait between The Legend of Zelda games can be difficult to endure, and whilst there seems to have been a fair few appearances for Link in the last few years, they have mostly been remasters or remakes that older fans will have played way back when. The fresh stuff takes a while for the goods to be delivered, but it's made all the more strenuous to hold out simply because there is very little else out there that does what Zelda does to the standards that Zelda does it. It's surprising, then, that few developers step up to the mantle to offer their own takes on Nintendo's ever-popular adventure series, and in turn make the wait for the next big title all the easier. Cornfox & Bros. did rise to the challenge recently, though, with Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas taking more than a few pages out of the Wind Waker textbook, and now makes its debut on PlayStation 4.

There is no sugar-coating the fact that Oceanhorn is heavily inspired by the GameCube's The Wind Waker, wearing its similar aesthetic style and maritime theme on its sleeves proudly, serving as a tribute of sorts to the 2003 adventure from Nintendo. The nameless hero in Cornfox & Bros.' title traverses the seas with his small, wooden sailing boat, visiting various islands of different sizes, which usually consist of dungeons, the odd town, or treasures. There are far fewer of them when compared to the expansive Great Sea landmarks of The Wind Waker, but the big difference is in how the protagonist explores this world.

Islands are only unlocked and available to visit on the map once heard through conversation or examination of certain reading material. Even then, travelling to the desired location is a matter of selecting it from the map and confirming to go there. The ship then sails in an automatic straight line, with no free movement by the hands of the player of any kind. Enemies and sea trash will pop up to obstruct the way and cause a bit of damage, but can be blasted with a cannon-like gun, adding some interactivity to the otherwise boring trek. This method of traversal nullifies any form of exploration and sense of wonder that made The Wind Waker so exciting, so it's left up to the on-land segments—the core part of Oceanhorn—to make up for the lack of compelling gameplay on the seas.

Things fare better in this regard, with the main character wandering the very small confines of each island, slashing away at fiends, trashing pots, hacking bushes, opening chests, and solving puzzles in order to unlock and complete dungeons. True to Zelda formula, three sacred objects must be collected from beating the said dungeons, but whilst there are some brief detours that must be taken in between to prolong the length of the game, the quest itself feels a touch on the short side.

Screenshot for Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas on PlayStation 4

There are at least a few puzzles that might get the brain thinking for a moment or two, but the majority of what's contained within are pretty simple block-pushing brain teasers that any Zelda veteran will breeze through. What's more aggravating is that some chests that look like they would contain a decent reward quite often turn out to be generic bundles of arrows, bombs, or money, which is quite bizarre when shoved inside one of the more elaborate looking chests that would normally hold something promising.

A handful of other issues also prevent Oceanhorn from getting close to Zelda tier, with dodgy camera angles, glitchy physics of objects, an unclear menu that hasn't quite been adjusted from its touch screen origins, amateur transitions of cut-scenes from gameplay, less-than-stellar dungeon designs, and annoyances in not knowing or understanding which ledges can be dropped off or climbed up. From the fixed isometric viewpoint, things look lovely, but once certain scenes show characters up close, it takes a huge turn for the worse. In addition, it seems as if one or two plot points could and should have been expanded upon, particularly with a woman who seemed to quickly fall in love with the hero and who is never heard from again after one short segment involving her.

Alternatively, there are some positives, with the very fact that it plays much like a Zelda game in itself being enough to provide some enjoyment in the brief quest presented here, and although the setting is pretty much a Wind Waker rip-off, Oceanhorn has its own mildly interesting lore hidden below its depths. A basic fishing side-quest and Trophies extend the life a tad, but also worth a shout-out is the auto-saving in every room, which is an extremely welcome and handy feature that goes a long way to reducing any frustration from deaths.

Screenshot for Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


Oceanhorn is short, easy, lacking in much extra to do after completing the main adventure, and has just one too many faults that hold it back from reaching the heights of the series that has inspired it so heavily. Despite that, it is worth checking out for any Legend of Zelda fan, and could at least function as a stop-gap that might just help pass the time whilst waiting for the next top-down entry starring Link.


Cornfox & Bros.


Cornfox & Bros.


Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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