The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is my favourite Zelda game, by far. So I guess it's easy to see why Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas piqued my interest when I first saw it on the Xbox One store, this game bares more than just a passing resemblance to Wind Waker, it also appeared to play like Wind Waker from what we could see.
Now this had me extremely excited, but I know that there are a number of gamers that hated Wind Waker and saw it as a complete removal from the Zelda series. I'm guessing they were as turned off by this game as I was excited, but hey, you can't please everyone right?!
Now if you're here hoping to hear that although this game looks like Wind Waker it is in fact a polar opposite then I'm afraid you should probably just stop reading now. There are so many factors to this game that are borrowed from Wind Waker. You play as a young boy (check) whose parents aren't around (check) and you're going to go sail the seas to find someone (check). You even have to find an old sword and shield on the island to help you on your quest and all of this happens in the first ten minutes.
The thing is you can draw similarities between most games, very few games are truly original these days. There is nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from other games as long as it is done well and Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas has that down pat. This game is so close to perfection that it makes the problems I have with it seem so much worse. The graphics are absolutely stunning, the music is enchanting (but obviously we were expecting that seeing as it's Nobuo Uematsu and Kenji Ito at the helm) and the game is incredibly polished. But yeah, I have a few gripes.
First off I was incredibly disappointed with the sailing, at first at least. I've made my peace with it now, but have to admit to feeling completely disappointed when instead of being able to steer my vessel through these uncharted waters I just had to set a path to an island I'd heard of and automatically make my way there. The first few journeys are the worst because literally nothing happens, but eventually you unlock a cannon and can shoot monsters and boxes on your way to the next island. When I think back to how many hours I whiled away just sailing in Wind Waker this is probably a good thing to be honest, otherwise I might have been attempting to write this review based purely on how many mini games I had found whilst sailing.
The menu is a little bit pointless in all honesty. You level up automatically, the new skills and items you find map themselves to the face buttons (and are interchanged with a quick press of the d-pad which is brill) and there is NO REAL QUEST LOG OR MAP. This was by far my biggest gripe with the game, something that still annoys me now. There is a log, I guess, but it also keeps track of every conversation you have had so it is pretty impossible to find the snippet of information you need about where you need to go. It'd have just been nice to have a clear quest log with even small details of what you were meant to be doing. I found that after turning it off for the night, I had completely forgotten what I was supposed to be doing by the time I had turned it back on in the morning. But I have a really rubbish memory so maybe that's my problem. The desire for a proper map is probably down to my crap memory too, see as you continue you unlock new items and skills that allow you to explore more of each island. And I can always remember that there was somewhere that this new skill would come in handy but I can never remember where. A world map where you could then look closer at a map of each island would be invaluable for me. You do have a minimap when you're on an island, that colours in as you walk around, which is nice, but I'd like to be able to see a birds eye view.
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is a fantastic game. Even considering the quibbles I have it with I am completely in love with it and I know I will spend many more hours playing it. At £11.99 it's a complete steal. Go get it guys.
9/10 BUY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.