Wednesday, 19 July 2017
You may be feeling a little deja vu reading the title for this review. Way back in September of last year I reviewed Oceanhorn when it was released on the Xbox One. I reviewed this before I stopped giving scores out of ten and I have to admit to being surprised now by how highly I scored it back then. I guess a few things have changed since then.
As I said in the last review Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas is pretty much a Zelda clone. And when I reviewed it last we were all very much in a Zelda drought, having to revisit old games to get our fix. Oceanhorn for Xbox One couldn't have been released at a better time really, it had been such a long time since a new Zelda game had been released that I (and I imagine a fair few others) was just excited to play a game that reminded me so much of one my favourite game series. But since then we have been given the gift of the Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild, a game that I am over 100 hours into and nowhere near finished or even slightly bored of it. I love it so much I'm even attempting to collect all 900 Korok seeds.
So coming down from this Zelda high to play Oceanhorn for review was quite a bump. Everything I liked about it in my previous review is still true; it still looks beautiful and the music is still a treat for your earholes. But playing it on a Nintendo console, home of the real Zelda just brings it home that this isn't Zelda.
Which should be a good thing, right? I wouldn't want to release a game for it only to ever live in the shadow of another series anyway. But unfortunately for Oceanhorn playing it on the Switch just made me even more aware of the games shortfalls. Again all of these shortfalls were mentioned in my last review; the sailing is automatic, the levelling up system is a bit crap and uninvolved and makes me wonder whether it would have been better to just not have it and there is still no quest log or world map, which just seems silly really.
I was more forgiving of these issues in my previous review, and I still stand by that decision. It's easier - for me anyhow - to be more lenient with the Xbox One version. I know that if I ever want to replay this game it will be on the Xbox. When I realised this I was really surprised. My Switch has taken over my gaming life - it has been weeks since I have played on my Xbox at all and I don't even have many games yet. But as a mum of two being able to play a game on the TV whilst the children aren't around and switching to handheld when they're home has been invaluable. I can't wait for the Switch game library to grow.
Even considering the limited number of games available on the Switch up to now I can't really recommend Oceanhorn. It's really unfortunate because I did genuinely love the game when I played it on the Xbox One, but turning from Breath of the Wild to this highlights how much of a Zelda-lite this game is. And that's not as much of a compliment as it was last year.