With very clear inspiration taken from The Legend of Zelda series, does Oceanhorn live up to the games it wants to be? Or are the “links” too much for it’s own good?
Before I started playing Oceanhorn I was presented with the unique opportunity of doing a little research into the game due to it having been released beforehand on Mobile platforms. The main complain I read about this game I could find when digging around was that it was basically a Legend of Zelda clone released on platforms outside of Nintendo, upon reading this I couldn’t help but think, What’s to complain about?
So I booted it up, expecting a Legend of Zelda clone that would not live up to the series it takes inspiration from due to the mere fact that Zelda games are consistently some of the best games released.
Boy, was I surprised!
I cannot review this game without making a note to the somewhat obvious “Zelda-like” attributes that Oceanhorn possesses, and there are many, but instead of focusing a large chunk of this review noting them; I have made a list:
- Collect 4 Heart Pieces to gain additional health
- Bow and Arrows open doors by hitting targets
- Mirror Shield
- Wind Waker like traversing of the world.
- Spin-Slash ”secret” attack
- Fish people that live in an underwater fortress
There are loads more but these are the most notable, this is the closest that non-Nintendo players will get to a Zelda game without getting in trouble from Nintendo Lawyers.
As a huge Zelda fan, I was apprehensive to begin Oceanhorn but everything from the charming aesthetic to the puzzles and right through to the combat was a huge throwback for me; and I loved it.
You play through the game as “The Kid”, a pretty generic character who is searching for his father and in turn is embroiled in the quest to take down the Oceanhorn, a living fortress that is awakening and primed to bring the world, once again, to the brink of destruction. Whilst the story brings nothing new to the table, the characters you meet along the way shine through Oceanhorn’s fairly generic save the world plotline (especially the Gillfolk, a grumpy fish species).
One element of the Legend of Zelda series that always resonated with me throughout my adult life, listening to the Zelda soundtrack always brought back that familiar feeling of escapism and joy. With this in mind, I feel the decision made by Cornfox & Bros to bring in Nobuo Uematsu to handle the soundtrack was an incredibly wise decision, whether doing battle or exploring one of Oceanhorn’s villages, the music was consistently great and has recently made it to my list of favourite video game soundtracks.
I loved the presentation of this game, the charming art style struck more than a few nostalgia chords with me, but don’t just take my word for it, see the gameplay video below:
The only thing in Oceanhorn I didn’t bother with was the fishing minigame, I found this a bit throwaway and not really much point to it.
Okay okay, I understand I have not really touched on the actual gameplay elements of Oceanhorn but I mean, have you played A Link Between worlds? Well, that!
The main gameplay is a top down in the same vein as the aforementioned games and plays smoothly, the boat sections of the game allow you to shoot bombs at bombs and enemies but these rather fun sections are all too brief.
I understand that in this review I have just compared the similarities to Zelda, but Oceanhorn is basically another Zelda game that allows people who didn’t buy into the Nintendo consoles have such a wonderful experience and I personally really enjoyed my time with it right down to the final moments and hunting for all those pesky heart pieces. Bring on Oceanhorn 2!