Seriously, Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas may as well have started with that famous quote and dressed its main character in green, such are the clear influences from a certain series. What’s more, this is a port of an iOS game, which should lead me to a rant about how awful this game is and how it doesn’t deserve any of your hard earned money.
But beyond all my expectations, I couldn’t help but love Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas, because if you are going to make a game that sits in the same genre as a Zelda game, then you may as well go all in. Zelda is the best game at being Zelda, there is no doubt about that, there is very, very little you can do to change the format and still be good and the developers at Cornfox & Bros to their credit know this and run with it.
What stands out is that despite the clear influence, Oceanhorn has a charm all of its own; the characters are their own style, the story differs enough from the Zelda games, the worlds, whilst similar, also feel like their own thing and rather than feeling like a ripoff clone, it feels like a game made by a team who loved the Zelda games and wanted to show how much by making something themselves and you know what? They only went and nailed it.
The other fear I had was knowing this came from an iOS background, that is something that really did set alarm bells off in my head, because my past experience with iOS adventure games ported to consoles and PC has never been great. But aside from a few UI instances that feel built for mobile, the overall experience works wonderfully with both keyboard & mouse and a controller. It feels like a console or PC quality Indie game, so once again huge kudos to the devs there.
It almost feels like a pointless exercise going over the various game mechanics, because you will immediately feel at home with them. Certain actions are bound to certain keys; from melee attacks, shields, range attacks, potions, items, etc it feels very familiar and adds to the experience exceptionally well.
The length and pacing of the game is spot on too, there is around 10-15 hours of content here depending on how much exploring you wish to do and the sense of discovery and progression is finely balanced so that you never once feel bogged down in a certain area, or that you might be missing something.
The one influence that does feel a little cheap though, is the sailing sections, which are right out of Windwaker and Phantom Hourglass. It is both this and the reveals of opening chests where I sat back in my chair and thought to myself…”This is going a bit close to the sun”
Where the rest of the game feels like a loving homage, these two things come across as a straight ripoff and despite being well done, it does put a minor downer on things.
However, it is only a minor downer and if you are a fan of Zelda games but don’t own a Nintendo console, then pick this up instantly, it really is a fine game in its own right. If you do own a Nintendo console and love the Zelda games…well pick this up and enjoy something you already love!