OCEANHORN: MONSTER OF UNCHARTED SEAS
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on March 17, 2015
These are dark times for the once radiant empire of Arcadia. This once thriving society is now living in constant fear of a behemoth-like artificial creature called Seahorn. Born of the dark energy known as 'TRILOTH', this monster, who is the last surviving member of a trio of artificially created 'living fortresses', terrorizes the seas that surround the islands of Arcadia. These three machines were originally created by Archimedes to battle the Evil Emperor Mesmeroth's forces in the Direfolk wars; an epic battle between good and evil, waged many years ago. Somehow they turned against the people of Arcadia, destroying everything and everyone that got in their way, leaving the empire in ruins. Although they were near invincible, the forces of Arcadia managed to destroy two out of three of these fortresses. Now only one remains: Seahorn, Monster of Uncharted Seas. After the disappearance of your father (whose fate was said to be tied to that of Oceanhorn, you set out to find and defeat this mechanical beast and perhaps even find out what happened to your old dad.
In Seahorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas, you play as a young boy who people just refer to as 'the Kid'. When you wake up one day, you find a letter from your father, who briefly states that he must venture forth and slay the mythical creature Oceanhorn. Instead of clarifying the reason for his departure, father's note raises even more questions. Questions that need answering (which is a good thing, or else the game would have been very short indeed). So the Kid sets out to unravel the mystery of his father's disappearance. His only two leads are an old notebook, that once belonged to his father, and a strange medallion that his mother used to wear (who is absent from the beginning of the game, which is not an uncommon practice in games or movies, if you think about it...). This medallion starts our young hero on his quest when it suddenly begins to glow and leads the Kid to a specific spot on the island, where he finds his father's sword and shield.
After recovering these items, our hero comes across an old hermit, who tells him about the history of Arcadia and of three ancient relics. These relics, when combined, are rumored to grant a true hero the power to restore this ruined kingdom to its former glory. So off we go! As the Kid, we travel to various islands, defeating enemies and solving puzzles as we go. The journey between the islands is not, as you may expect, a cutscene, but rather a real time event. We are not able to actually steer the boat so much as we are able to rotate the camera. At first the purpose to this mode of travel didn't make any sense, because it took quite a bit of time to travel from one island to the next and it seemed a bit dull. After playing the game for a while however, you receive a seed-gun for your ship, and that's where things on the high seas get somewhat interesting. Instead of just sitting and watching, you can destroy floating barrels and defeat sea creatures for coins or XP.
The first thing that came to mind when I played this game was the uncanny resemblance to Legend of Zelda Games, specifically the Windwaker and Link to the Past games. The art-style, the music, the game-mechanics, everything seems to be heavily influenced by the Zelda universe. You could even go so far as to say it looks like they copied it at some point. Not that this is a bad thing however. Oceanhorn does nothing to hide even the most obvious of similarities. On the contrary, Oceanhorn's developers, Cornfox & Bros. seem to embrace the Zelda principle and fully intend to use every little thing they can to make Oceanhorn a testament to this much beloved game series. Our hero wields a sword and shield, fires arrows, uses bombs, etc. You name it, he does it. All the while, you collect coins by raiding treasure chests and searching through bushes and the likes, buy supplies from shops across the kingdom and collect crystals to increase your Adventurer Level . Your health is represented by hearts, is refilled by finding hearts, and is upgraded by finding... you've guessed it: Heart Pieces. Four Heart Pieces make on extra heart that is added to your health bar.
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas was originally released for iOS in November 2013. Now the time has finally come for us to play this epic adventure on our PC through Steam. Overall, Oceanhorn is a very well thought out game. Its story is quite captivating, although its characters are somewhat bland, they do the job and keep the story going. The enemies are nicely designed and well balanced out throughout a stage. It's a colorful game with nice-looking graphics and a quite cheerful soundtrack. It boasts 15+ hours of story-driven gameplay, breathtaking 3D visuals and an epic action-adventure experience, filled with dangers, puzzles and secrets. So if you liked the Zelda games, you might want to give Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas a try. And although I know I cannot speak for everybody (trust me, I've tried numerous times, and have subsequently failed miserably...), I personally don't mind the resemblance, I applaud it! Now it's time for me to pick up my father's sword and shield and finally unravel the ancient mysteries of Arcadia and vanquish Oceanhorn.
OCEANHORN: MONSTER OF UNCHARTED SEAS
Cornfox & Bros.
March 17, 2015