Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas!

Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas Review

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Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is a top-down adventure game clearly inspired by many past Zelda titles. Its graphics resemble those found in Windwaker, while gameplay is reminiscent of Link’s Awakening and other top-down Zeldas. Your objective: sail the uncharted seas and discover and explore new islands a la Windwaker. But what makes Oceanhorn unique is its uniquely layered lands, which you must navigate with your own ingenuity in a puzzle-like experience.

Oceanhorn revolves around exploring a number of islands populated with interesting enemies, which include spider-like creatures, sword-wielding skeletons, and goblins. The different island types are quite similar to the various landscapes found in the Zelda franchise: forest, desert, and underwater.

Look familiar, Zelda fans? But don't worry—this game isn't *completely* like Zelda.
Look familiar, Zelda fans?

Along your journey, you’ll collect various items—like bombs, a bow & arrows, and various spells—and use them to complete different puzzles. This, too, echoes many past Zelda titles. You level up as you play by killing enemies and gaining EXP, and with each level-up comes a bonus, like the ability to hold extra bombs, arrows, or magic. This level-up mechanic is unique to Oceanhorn and helps motivate players to keep playing and reach their goals.

One of Oceanhorn's many puzzles.
One of Oceanhorn’s many puzzles.

On each island, you will encounter 3 challenges, another feature unique to Oceanhorn. These challenges let you gain lots of EXP while learning new tips and tricks that enhance gameplay. Challenges vary in difficulty and are a fun addition to the game. Each island also contains a number of bloodstones, the game’s main collectible. And here’s a tip: you have to hit the bloodstones many times in order to collect them, so don’t give up and pass them by!

A peek into this island's 3 challenges and the vertically layered landscape.
A peek into this island’s 3 challenges and the vertically layered landscape.
Beat that bloodstone!
Beat that bloodstone!

Oceanhorn runs smoothly no matter how you play, and playing with the gamepad makes available cool touch-screen features that you can’t use when playing on your monitor. The graphics are sharp, bright, and beautiful, and the menus—which enable you to check your progress, swap items, and perform other tasks—are well-designed and refreshingly simple to navigate.

Oceanhorn's menus are refreshingly easy to navigate.
Oceanhorn’s menus are refreshingly simple to navigate.

Oceanhorn offers lots of post-game challenges, like collecting all the bloodstones, leveling up completely, and fishing in the ocean. When we beat the game, we were only at 70% completion, so there’s still lots for us to do—and lots more fun to be had!

Fishing in Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas.
Fishing in Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas.

Of course, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas has its cons. For one thing, it’s a lot like past Zelda titles, which can be a con if you’re looking for something completely fresh and new. Also, the game’s vertically layered structure make navigating the landscape a challenging puzzle in itself, which some players may not appreciate. This structure means that backtracking can be a bit rough, and it’s pretty easy to get lost—but you can always use your mini map to get back on track!

Can you see how backtracking might get tricky?
See how backtracking might get tricky? Don’t forget about the minimap in the bottom-right corner!

This game is highly accessible for players of all ages (although you must have a basic reading ability to fully enjoy gameplay) and, for $14.99, it’s a great value and packs a punch for the price. We definitely recommend it to anyone who loves Zelda, and especially to those who need a new game to play while waiting for the next big Nintendo title to release. If you’re feeling adventurous and desire a puzzle-action-adventure game with beautiful and unique graphics, look no farther than Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas for Switch!

You'll have to play for yourself to see the full brilliance of the nighttime fireworks. Here's a little preview!
You’ll have to play for yourself to see the full brilliance of the nighttime fireworks. Here’s a little preview!

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