When I first saw Oceanhorn a year or so ago my initial thought was “Oh christ, here we go with another Legend of Zelda clone”.
It is my job to be completely honest and open with my opinions of the game and everything surrounding it, with that being said, Cornfox & Bros’ Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is a direct clone of the Legend of Zelda, and rarely strays from that feeling. Originally released back in 2013 for PC, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas picked up a very big following online and now has a sequel in the works.
Following on from its release in 2013 on PC, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas has now made its way onto consoles with Xbox One and PS4. So how does it fair?
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas: PlayStation 4, Xbox One [Reviewed], PC (2013)
Developer: Cornfox & Bros
Publisher: FDG Entertainment
Release Date: 7 September 2016
Price: £11.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
Aside from its unique opening scene which tells us the story of the player characters father, Monster of Uncharted is very Zelda like in essence. Players wake in a tent with no equipment to speak of before the game swiftly opens itself up for players to find their own way around the games beautifully developed world. Players are quickly introduced to a Hermit character who will be a guide for almost the entirety of the story. Monster of Uncharted Seas is navigated or traversed with the use of a boat very similar to the one found in Legend of Zelda Windwaker however, the player doesn’t actually control the boat at all while riding across the ocean, in fact all the player can do whilst aboard the small wooden vessel is fire a pellet gun in order to eliminate various sea monsters and any other obstacles that stand in your way. Despite having no loading screens to speak of in a readily accessible picturesque open world, sadly moments of travel by boat act almost as an interactive loading screen.
Perhaps my biggest complaint with Oceanhorn is the fact that it lacks any sense of originality and risk, with the game sticking very much to the success and riches of the formula used in Legend of Zelda. Overall it feels as if the developer has played it too safe with the game and while it does undeniably make for a fun game in short bursts it eventually becomes repetitive and boring which is a real shame because it is such a beautiful game on the eye. My time spent with Monster of Uncharted came to be roughly around 12 hours total, had the game tried to be innovative I would of have said it was the perfect time frame for a game of this scale and nature. Despite its obvious similarities to Zelda, Oceanhorn does manage to replicate the charm of the classic games very well, with the player’s arsenal of weapons being very similar to that of Zelda with Sword, Shield, Bombs and a Bow just a few of the weapons and gadgets available in-game.
Monster of Uncharted Seas world itself is split into several different islands, each with its own theme and mechanics. The island itself acts essentially as a mini-dungeon with most containing an actual dungeon inside which is accessible after progressing throughout the island. Once inside a dungeon, the gameplay is again eerily similar to that of past Zelda games. Each dungeon is locked off by doors from which in order to unlock you must first find a regular key either by killing the games differing enemies or through the opening of chests. Once past all of the regular doors, players must then find the master key which can be used to open the boss door and any other things on the island that may have been locked off before. The game also contains quirky fishing mini-games in an attempt to keep you entertained throughout the playthrough when away from dungeon crawling.
Aside from its gameplay Oceanhorn: Monter of Uncharted‘s soundtrack is truly something to behold. Created with a major contribution from famed Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu, who really does a great job of making the whole experience and brings the game to life.
With the game being such a blatant clone of a Zelda game it would feel wrong to score Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted highly, the game shows no innovation and little to no risk was taken with its development. On the plus side, Monster of Uncharted is definitely gorgeous to look at and an enjoyable experience throughout a fair percentage of time spent with the game. Monsters of Uncharted Seas excellently captures the wonderful charm and unique feel of the established Zelda franchise with a delightful soundtrack that encapsulates the world brilliantly. I only hope that the developer takes more risk with the next title in the series because it is definitely one to look out for and for the small price of £11.99, definitely worth purchasing.