Let’s just come right out with it: yes, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas looks and feels a lot like a certain game we all know and love where a sole, green-clad, pointy-eared Hylian is destined to save all of Hyrule time after time. But it’s important to remember all of the things that make Oceanhorn an outstanding game in its own right. Let’s break it down!
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas isn’t new. In fact, it’s been available on iOS since November 14, 2013. Where have YOU been? The most recent iteration has just been released for Windows (Mac, coming soon!) March 17th of this year and is already making waves. Pun probably intended.
While there are some striking similarities to our favorite romps through Hyrule, there’s still more than enough to make Oceanhorn hold its own against the heavyweights. Even as a mobile game, Oceanhorn offers over ten hours of gameplay that leads players around by dangling a pretty rich storyline in front of them. When your father up and leaves in the middle of the night, you’re left to sail hot on his heels, called to the sea for some seemingly unknown reason. Pick up the pieces to figure out how your destiny, along with your parents’, is woven tightly into some pretty intense lore that dates back to, well, further than anyone can remember.
The ancient kingdom of Arcadia is waiting to be unearthed, silently goading you on as a young traveler much like your father was, in search of anything that will gain you answers and the comfort that family brings. Along the way, there are treasures to discover. Ancient jewelry, artifacts, rare shells, and strange stones litter the many islands of the Uncharted Seas. Archaic gears and pieces of machinery sleep silently beneath the sand, crumbling whispers that reflect a time of prosperity in Arcadia that is long gone. But why?
The controls are simple enough to start exploring right away. Your WASD keys move your traveler while SPACE is used to dash, pick up, or push certain objects. Once you’re able to cast spells, the F key is at the ready. Left and right mouse click to start attacking and dropping bombs on your foes, using SHIFT to defend yourself with a shield should they fire back (and some do!) There’s a mini map in the bottom right corner of your screen, useful for a quick glance and then it’s back to exploring. Oceanhorn doesn’t do a lot of hand holding, which I found to be one of the pros of the game. Hitting ESC will allow you to read over dialogue you might have missed or clicked through too fast but, really, this is sometimes the only indicator of where you should be going or what you need to be doing. For a pint sized port, Oceanhorn‘s map seems pretty massive. You have an entire ocean to traverse and most of it is, well, uncharted. “Discover” new islands by talking to locals (or NOT so locals) about lore, something they saw in their own travels, or a rumor floating around town, and those islands will pop up the next time you head back to your boat and look at your map.
So yes, Oceanhorn does indeed look and feel like one of our all-time favorite game franchises and at times you’ll certainly notice that pang of nostalgia begin to swing around in your chest with every sword strike. Breaking jars and cutting grass and chatting with NPCs who look like they have more important things to do than talk to you but really just walk back and forth moaning about the current rat infestation or why there’s a shortage of bombs going around. *Breathe!* You’ve played this game before. You’re sure of it! And yet you haven’t. It’s entirely different and addicting and you can’t stop until you figure out the riddles it presents and where exactly your father has gone and how any of this involves you. And if that STILL doesn’t strike your fancy, at least do it for the absolutely incredible game score. One of the best things I enjoyed about Oceanhorn was the beautiful tunes to explore to that feature the legendary talents of Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) and Kenji Ito (Seiken Densetsu).
If you haven’t picked up Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas yet, do yourself a favor.
-GO GET OCEANHORN: MONSTER OF UNCHARTED SEAS RIGHT NOW.
Oceanhorn: Monster ofUncharted Seas is available on Steam for Windows at 20% OFF for just $11.99!