• While Oceanhorn originally released on iOS and Android devices, it received a PC port not long after. But the console releases game quite a bit afterwards. But once they did, they came in short order. First, the PS4 and Xbox One, followed by the Vita version earlier this year. And now, only months later, the Nintendo Switch version has finally made landfall. And out of all the versions released, this is likely the best edition of the game to date. Although this review in particular will be addressing both hand-held versions.

    The game wears it’s inspiration on it’s sleeve, borrowing quite a bit from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Wind Waker. The protagonist’s father left your camp on an island to attempt to defeat Oceanhorn, the evil creature terrorizing the seas and the settlements on the islands scattered across it. But, unable to wait for their return any longer, you take his spare sword, and seek them out yourself. Of course, this leads to the hero trying to destroy Oceanhorn yourself. But to do this, you’ll have to seek out the game’s mcguffins. The game also borrows from Alundra in it’s bleakness and puzzle solving, and Landstalker with it’s isometric perspective. You can only slightly move the camera to the left or right to see what ahead, otherwise it remains locked into place. This makes it hard to find secret areas, so you’ll have to explore in old school Zelda style, with experimentation with walls and bombs.

    The gameplay also liberally borrows from the game series mentioned above, with the protagonist being able to do a spin attack with their sword, use bombs, arrows, and magic. There’s also gear to traverse terrain, and you can even dash. Although it’s unfortunate that the developers decided that dashing and throwing pots needed a stamina meter. Out of all the things to borrow, this game didn’t need to take the stamina meter from Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild. Stamina meters aren’t that fun, especially when there’s not a way to upgrade it. The one interesting thing about this game is that it has this built in achievement system which offers in-game rewards, along with a level-up system. The levels don’t offer much in the way of stat boosts, but you do get some nice rewards out of it. Money is especially hard to come by, and the things you can purchase which are useful but expensive.

    As for port quality, the Vita version runs surprisingly well, operating at a mostly smooth 60 frames. It’s well optimized, but it might help that the game has rather simple looking graphics to allow for that. The load times are longer than the Switch version, and unfortunately is neither cross-buy or cross-save compatible with the PS4 version. The Switch version on the other hand, looks and plays better, although any version of the game suffers from a meaningful map feature. It’s so simple that there isn’t a legend to point out places of interest. At the end of the day, the game is clearly a mobile game ported to other platforms, so the amount of depth in the game is lacking. But it will fill that itch for a traditional Zelda game while we wait for the next entry from Nintendo, or the sequel for that matter.

    Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas - Review
    The handheld ports of this smartphone game are surprisingly well done, but the Switch version edges out over the Vita release.
    Our Score7.5
    Positives
    • The gameplay is a nice blend of Wind Waker, Alundra, and Landstalker.
    Negatives
    • The map is too simplistic to really be useful.
    • The Vita version has longer load times.
    7.5Overall Score
    Reader Rating: (3 Votes)
    -1.3

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