I recently had the opportunity to spend a few minutes playing Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas running on a Playstation Vita. Oceanhorn is already available for mobile devices, PC, and consoles, and it’s coming to Vita a little later this year. Oceanhorn plays very similarly to a Zelda game and has an art style that is reminiscent of The Wind Waker. I quickly felt right at home playing through the first half hour of the game.
Oceanhorn is a top-down adventure game that focuses on interacting with the environment to solve puzzles. In the short time I spent playing, I found a sword and completed some simple switch puzzles. The first switch puzzle I remember was handled a little differently than I am used to seeing in a Zelda game. I had to press both switches to keep the path open, but there were no blocks or other obvious tools nearby. Instead, I had to pick up the nearby torches and set them on the switch. It’s a simple puzzle, but using the items in the environment — which may seem unmovable at a glance — is what set it apart.
After exploring a cave and dispatching a handful of enemies, I found myself on a boat sailing toward a nearby island. I didn’t have control of the boat as it sailed, so there doesn’t seem to be an overworld to freely roam around. Upon arriving at the new island, I spoke with some of the townsfolk there and was given information about another island. I quickly jumped back in the boat and sailed to it. This means of discovering new locations after receiving a tip from a character is not a new concept, but it’s not something generally explored in Zelda and sets Oceanhorn apart.
The third island I visited had a hidden surprise, a Heart Piece, that once again made me feel like I was playing a Zelda game.
The developers of Oceanhorn, Cornfox and Bros. have obviously taken a lot of inspiration from The Legend of Zelda while designing Oceanhorn, but they’ve also put their own spin on the formula.
Looking to the future
Oceanhorn is already available to purchase on many platforms and was well received by critics. The Playstation Vita release is planned for later this year, and it was recently announced that it will be coming to Nintendo Switch as well.
A sequel is also in development. Not much information has been shared about the sequel, but we do know that it will not use a top-down view point. It will instead opt for a fully 3D experience similar to most console Legend of Zelda games.