GAME REVIEW: OCEANHORN: MONSTER OF UNCHARTED SEAS / DEVELOPER: CORNFOX & BROTHERS / PUBLISHER: FDG ENTERTAINMENT / PLATFORM: PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is definitely an enjoyable game, but it’s not one that can claim to be original. An action-adventure game set in a fictional land of magic, secrets and danger, Oceanhorn: MoUS isn’t just paying homage to Nintendo’s classic The Legend of Zelda series – its similarities, style of gameplay and storyline can occasionally run a little too close for comfort.
The game begins with a father leaving his son to battle the legendary Oceanhorn, the last of three sea monsters who once terrorised the land. After finding Dad’s sword and shield and Mum’s special necklace, it’s now our boy-protagonist’s job to find out what happened, collect three Sacred Emblems from around the world, and defeat Oceanhorn. With islands, temples and caves to explore, emblems to collect, and the legendary Triloth of power to find, MoUS follows the tried-and-tested formula seen in most Zelda games, and although it’s something a lot of gamers are going to be familiar with, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
One of the most striking things about MoUS is its stunning visuals. With bright colours, beautiful textures and a look of complete smoothness, the game doesn’t fall short on appearance. Yes, it does look a little bit like Zelda’s Windwaker, especially when you’re travelling on a boat across vast ocean landscapes, but it is a beautiful game nonetheless.
Combat in the game is pretty smooth, and fighting enemies is actually a lot of fun. The simplicity of the controls make it easy enough to attack and shield yourself, but enemies can still knock you off guard, forcing you to think before you slash and making for fun yet occasionally challenging battles. Another of the game’s biggest elements is puzzle-solving. From moving blocks onto switches to finding hidden keys, solving puzzles in MoUS is incredibly easy if you’re familiar with any Zelda game. Puzzles work well here, but they’re about as much of a challenge as smashing pots or chopping grass, which are actually things you can do in-game too.
Exploring the many islands, discovering secrets and hidden locations, collecting coins, items and more make this game incredibly compelling. It might not be something new, but it’s nice to see some of the best elements of gaming, like exciting and intuitive level design and interesting enemies, come together in a setting that isn’t Hyrule. Sure, it’s pretty close, and true Zelda fans might have a few issues (Triloth does sound a bit like Triforce…), but once you get past that, MoUS has a lot to offer.
Despite its many similarities to one of Nintendo’s best-loved franchises, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is still highly enjoyable. The smooth gameplay, beautiful graphics and huge areas to explore make it a game that’s really fun to play. Fans of The Legend of Zelda might not find anything new in playing it, but with so much to offer this is a game that’s sure to please a lot of gamers.
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