1 person found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 11.3 hrs on record
Posted: Nov 14, 2015 @ 2:16pm
Updated: Dec 21, 2015 @ 8:22pm

A Paladin’s Review: Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas. A Disappointing Sea of Content and a Boring Combat System.
  • Genre: Isometric Adventure RPG.
  • Developed and Published by: Cornfox & Bros.
  • Platform: iOS, Windows and Mac OSX
  • Business Model: Base Game.
  • Copy Purchased by Myself
Read the full & unabridged review on A Paladin Without A Crusade[wp.me]

Overall Gameplay Thoughts
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is an isometric RPG clearly inspired by the Legend of Zelda series, at least the isometric/Game Boy versions. Everything from the lock-on sword play, the story about a hero gaining three valued artifacts of power to overthrow a growing evil and much of the visual design shows that inspiration in spades. Due to that inspiration, the comparisons to the Zelda series are easy to make. I hate to say this but more often than not, Oceanhorn doesn’t compare well. Whether by limitation of the iOS platform or the inexperience of the developers, a lot of ideas and mechanics were pale imitations of what’s been done before.

Story Thoughts
The story is ok at best. It’s a traditional story of a young boy who goes out to find the three magical Emblems of the Elements and put a stop to an evil entity. At first, we’re introduced to Father, who goes out to fend off a living fortress known as Oceanhorn and what happens to him is ultimately unknown. After gathering Father’s sword & shield as well as preparing yourself for sailing, Hero goes out to gather these circles. He has Father’s journal with him which will narrate a little bit every time you visit an important island. Hero goes to a forest island, a desert island and an island in the sky to collect all three magical sources of power. Along the way, Hero meets two different races that have fallen into ruin due to the evil machinations of Mesmeroth and some of minions. So, through some dungeon crawling, Hero will eventually right those wrongs done and those races will eventually rise from defeat….in maybe another game. Once the pieces of the puzzle are assembled, with help from Hermit along the way, Hero will go to Father and fight Mesmeroth once and for all. During this quest, a few side characters will come in and out of the story but otherwise, Hero is on his own for this journey. Having only the guidance of Father’s journal and the power of the elements to “guide” him. The emblems are only in the game to push the story along, nothing else.

Combat Thoughts
The combat has the worst problems. Using a sword and shield most of the time, you’ll have a lot of slap fights with bullet-spongy (sword-spongy?) enemies in the game. They will often require a ton of hits to bring down and there are a lot of enemies per level which also happen to respawn rather quickly. It definitely feels like grinding through a level, if the experience system didn’t make that particularly obvious. Bloodstones in particular, while not enemies, seem to require 20 or so sword attacks to collect. Why? I don’t know but I thought that was a waste of time. As far as blocking projectiles/attacks with the shield, this seemed to be hit and miss on which attacks would and wouldn’t be blocked, leading to a constant source of frustration while fighting. As a whole, the system works and you can get through the game. But it’s not going to be a whole lot of fun. Oh and there are spells which are used for some puzzles and can be used for the fights. However, I found they often used far too much mana so I usually only used them for puzzles. This is thanks to the lack of an adaptable inventory system. There’s no bottles you can hang onto to replenish health or mana, everything has to be found in the levels. It makes boss fights a lot less interesting as well.

PC Settings & Port Report
It’s got a pretty OK selection of options. You have four different graphic presets including low to ultra. There’s a bunch of different options that turns various objects including clouds and soft shadows on/off. V-sync and anti-aliasing is included. Fullscreen and borderless windowed are here as well with a reasonable choice of resolutions. FPS can be set to 30 or 60 FPS locked/unlocked. In the pause screen, you can adjust speech, effects and music with individual sliders. You might want to consider lowering the music slider which I’ll explain later on. Keyboard and mouse work ok with Oceanhorn but it feels off. Not that controller is a lot better either. Some of the action keys can be rebound but the implementation limits where they can go. Mouse keys can only be rebound to other mouse keys and the same goes for keyboard ones. Why did we decide this was a good idea? No clue. It’s a big no-no.

Final Thoughts
Ultimately, the frustrating part about Oceanhorn is how much this game treads the same ground so many others have in this genre. Sure, it’s one of the better iOS to PC ports I’ve seen in a long time. There’s nary a mention about touching the screen or buying microtransactions in the App Store and I respect that. Unfortunately, the game still suffers problems inherent to the mobile platform. It’s a mechanically boring game that’s a chore to get through rather than an experience to be enjoyed. The gameplay is filled with repetitive and somewhat unresponsive gameplay that completely lacks meaningful feedback to hook the player in. The optimization is questionable too. The story, honestly, the story feels like it was missing a chunk of itself. There are two dimensional characters abound and its hard to stir myself into getting interested while I’m playing.

Oceanhorn was just a drag to get through, especially towards the end. The entire time, I was constantly reminded of what this game could have been instead of what it was doing. I was constantly disappointed every time a new mechanic was introduced or an area shown. Most of the time, what they had implemented was done on the most basic of levels, giving me nothing to sink my teeth into. Other reviewers constantly talk about how much this is like Legend of Zelda except on an iPad. This, at best, is a passing imitation to that series. I myself cannot recommend Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas.

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