Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is a beautiful adventure game.
Developer: Cornfox & Bros.
Publisher: FDG Entertainment
Release Date: Jun 22, 2017
Platforms: PC (Windows and Mac OS), Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Platform Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is a gorgeous single player port that resembles one of the most iconic franchises of all time: Zelda! This indie has you start off on a beautiful little island with nothing but a simple tree branch.
When you first start the game, the player character receives a not from their father stating he’s left on a mission. The father has gone to slay the Oceanhorn which is destroying the world. Naturally, the player character also leaves on their own journey to find the creature and defeat it.
The game will lead you to a series of islands as you solve puzzles around each location. In addition to this, there are strange creatures living on each island for you to deal with as they appear. It’s possible to attack using melee and magic or to even dash but outside of that, there are limited commands. There’s no actual jump button and the controls feel very similar to a classic Zelda game so don’t expect too much freedom. However, the controls are very simple as a result and easy to get the hang of which is nice. As a bonus, it works perfectly on the Nintendo Switch.
Each island has a different setting which is nice and does require you to think much more. You will be pushed to search for ways to progress however, it’s possible to explore each island freely. Just don’t forget to search for the different ways to reach a new section.
While you don’t get to control the oat as you travel to a new island, you do get a gun to shoot things. You’re able to look around your line of sight using the Joycons as the boat takes you forwards to the next location in the game.
Oceanhorn is now a very difficult game but it does require some thinking in order to progress through it. Especially for some of the puzzles in the game which are very nice to have. While the gameplay is nothing special, it’s still very enjoyable.
It’s the classic gameplay we all come to expect from an action-adventure. Lots of enemies, plenty of dungeons, pushing boxes around and activating switches to progress through the game. Pretty standard stuff really.
I did find the combat to be a little lacklustre overall where enemies weren’t really a threat to me. They will chase you relentlessly but when it comes to actually fighting them, there’s no real resistance. Most encounters just require you to mash one button so they’re not challenging at all.
However, bosses and mini-bosses provide much more of a challenge. Sounds good right? Well, they’re also simple to defeat. They attack using patterns and once you learn it, there’s no actual challenge.
Advancing through the game will unlock new abilities and skills to help you on your quest.These will range from being able to cast elemental spells, to unlocking a limited jump ability to hop short distances, to blowing up obstacles with bombs. In true Legend of Zelda fashion, you also get a bow and arrow, which you can use to mow down enemies and hit path opening targets.
In addition to the main quests, there are little side quests. They seem to resemble an attempt at achievement hunting which does add some replay value to the game. These side quests even get a pop-up notification on the screen when one has been completed. Completing these quests will also give you an experience boost, just like you get from defeating enemies. Collecting enough experience will allow you to level up and the game will reward you with different upgrades as a result.
The Nintendo Switch edition offers a smooth and very clean game. It runs at a flawless 1080p 60fps in docked mode and a nice 720p 60fps in handheld form. So no matter how you play this game, you know it will always run in HD. In conclusion, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is a beautiful one player adventure game which plays amazingly on the Nintendo Switch.
- Simple controls
- Amazing visuals
- Great soundtrack
- Gameplay isn’t particularly challenging
- Weak enemies
- Doesn’t bring anything new to the genre