Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 07.01.2021

Review for Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm on Nintendo Switch

The original Oceanhorn attracted a surprising amount of attention, a mobile game that seemed a step above anything mobile at the time. It was impressive... for a mobile game. However, when the Zelda clone came to Switch, the issues were brought heavily into light. Now the prequel/sequel is making the jump from mobile to Switch, giving players the chance to jump a millennia backwards from the original story. In the six years since the original release, mobile gaming has come by in leaps and bounds, to the point that it doesn't look quite so special anymore. However, for the Zelda fans out there, this looks like an experience that could capture the magic of Nintendo's legendary series.

The story in this instalment sees a group of knights undertaking a quest for their king, returning artifacts to their original homes, but a dark warlock known as Mesmeroth is leading his army of mechanical warriors across the land for some unknown reason. It's a simple enough hero's journey story, with a few heavily telegraphed twists throughout. At the heart of these knights is a young boy.

A young boy, armed with just a sword and a shield, is off on a quest, set in a mixed-up fantasy land where high technology stands side-by-side with classic fantasy settings. He slashes grass and pots to collect health and cash. He travels around the world, taking special artefacts to a series of elemental dungeons. As he does so, he finds items in each, granting him new methods of getting around and solving puzzles. He finds a hook-shot style grappling claw, a helmet to breath and swim underwater, etc. Yes, Oceanhorn 2 wears its Zelda inspirations more than plainly on its sleeve, as did the original game in the series. But, that doesn't mean that it doesn't try anything new.

Screenshot for Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm on Nintendo Switch

This time, Oceanhorn has aimed for a 3D action title, but it's keeping its hero's feet firmly on the ground. No climbing and stamina here. In fact, no jumping other than by running towards the edge of a drop to perform a little hop or scrambling up to waist height . It adds an extra feature to the proceedings, by adding a party. These party members can be sent off on tasks, regularly needed for accomplishing simple puzzles, such as instructing them to stand upon pressure switches.

These types of puzzles are common in the dungeons scattered through the world and these stand out as the best parts of the game... the problem is what comes between them. There's a main quest to progress through, which takes the party to a series of these dungeons, but in reaching these dungeons, there is a decent sized open world to explore. This is usually a highlight with these types of games, a world to find all those little collectables and power-ups, but that needs a fine level of design; balancing the investment of the time with the reward of the items for the everything found, keeping the puzzles interesting, and ensuring the world is not overpacked but not too sparse. Sadly, Oceanhorn 2 achieves none of these. The world feels absolutely barren. There is the odd little sidequest and occasionally a few enemies but the size combined with the lack of activities leaves the exploration feeling really dull. When enemies are encountered, the camera angles do everything they can to interfere with the combat. No real lock on facility makes for a messy fight filled with blows that feel weightless.

Screenshot for Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm on Nintendo Switch

Where the enemy fights do feel enjoyable is at the conclusion to each dungeon. Again, in classic Zelda inspiration, there are some big boss battles that often require the specialist item of the dungeon to be utilised to overcome them. One of the highlights of these equipment items is an elemental gun that can shoot different types of elements. This is key in the boss encounters but also back out in the world, revisiting previous areas to now reach the items hidden away there. This along with the other special equipment items are another example of a glimpse of how good the game be, in combat it actually improves the messy experience, but would massively benefit from locking on or gyro controls. In the open world, it leads to puzzles, but just not enough and without sufficient reward. Another glimpse of promise that never really fully materialises.

Screenshot for Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm on Nintendo Switch

Oceanhorn 2 looks very impressive for what was originally a mobile game. The port has really improved on the original, especially in regards to the controls, but there needed to be more thought into the port. The lack of lock-on in combat and extra features makes for regular disappointments.

On the presentation front, the game runs at 30fps, but a noticeable 30fps. It's crazy that this is available on iPad for a fraction of the price but running much better. A common performance issue across iPad and Switch is the comically bad voice acting on display. There are many FMV scenes where the actors come across without any sort of heart or emotion. One, in particular, has a character scream "Mesmeroth!" He mutters it, almost conversationally, without any inflexion or feeling. The character of Trin seems to be the only VA that isn't phoning it in. The FMVs in general just seem off, constantly stilted and hollow. Like something still in production, everything from the lack of sound effects to the camera work, to even the way the models move just leave a lot to be desired.

Screenshot for Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Oceanhorn 2 has the odd moment which is really enjoyable, mostly limited to the puzzles and bosses within the dungeons. But there could be so much more here, there are glimpses of a game that could be really special, but it regularly loses the attention of its audience due to the barren open world. The presentation feels low quality and dated, the combat clunky, the world empty. This looked so promising, but is quite the disappointment.

Developer

Cornfox & Bros.

Publisher

Cornfox & Bros.

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

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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