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Oceanhorn: Phantom Hourglass 2

Posted: Thu May 18, 2017 9:33 am
by OrangeRakoon
Or to give it it's proper title, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas.

This is a 2013 ios game more recently re-released on other platforms, and one I hadn't heard of until yesterday when I was browsing new releases on the Vita. It caught my eye when it mentioned music by Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy, The Last Story).

The game is essentially a top-down Zelda clone. You find items and equipment in large chests. You cut down grass for money and hearts. You break a lot of pots. From playing last night I got bombs, which of course let me destroy crumbling rocks and blast open entrances to caves. It's all very classic Zelda, although lacking the polish.

More than just classic Zelda though this game is clearly Wind Waker influenced, although overall mechanically I would place it a lot closer to Phantom Hourglass. Setting off from a small place not called outset island, the game is divided up as islands across an ocean that you sail between in a small boat. The sailing is automatic once you set your destination, and you quickly unlock an on-board gun for shooting at seaborne enemies, floating barrels and hazards. I believe there is fishing to come later too.

The Zelda comparisons don't end there. The basic premise set up in the beginning is for the main character to travel to three different islands and retrieve three sacred seals that have been guarded by three different races (humans, the aquatic notzoras, and the flying notrito). Doing so should help you defeat the great evil and restore peace to the world. Unfortunately the plot so far has been badly set up and delivered, but there hasn't been much to it so it's easily passed through to get to the gameplay.

Aesthetically the game is clearly a mobile game from some years ago, and while it attempts a 3D cartoon-like style this is no Wind Waker visually. The models are basic, the animation is stilted, and the mobile-style UI detracts from the experience - large icons mark out any people and signs that can be interacted with and regular challenge-complete messages pop up in front of the action. It also has something of an annoyance-curve in working out which ledges are climbable and which ledges can be dropped off - often the distinction seems entirely arbitrary, leading to a lot of running up against invisible walls.

If I were to compare the visual style to any other game it would be Dragon Quest Builders (if Dragon Quest Builders had been made four years ago for ios), which is apt as the combat is also similar in being a jankier Zelda.

To summarise:

+ Classic Zelda gameplay
+ Some great music
+ Wind Waker inspired world
- Janky combat
- Badly executed plot
- Disruptive mobile stylings
- Basic visuals

So yeah, after a couple of hours I'm enjoying the game. It's a competent Zelda clone, and as a Zelda fan this pleases me. Has anyone else played the game?

Re: Oceanhorn: Phantom Hourglass 2

Posted: Thu May 18, 2017 11:43 am
by Nofes
That game starts off nice and gradually turns into a mess as time goes on. Played it on PC about a year ago and I'll happily never play it again.

Re: Oceanhorn: Phantom Hourglass 2

Posted: Thu May 18, 2017 11:47 am
by OrangeRakoon
Sounds like I have a lot to look forward to then

Re: Oceanhorn: Phantom Hourglass 2

Posted: Sat May 20, 2017 6:45 pm
by OrangeRakoon
I finished it last night, the game held up throughout imo. Not sure if I'll try to 100% all the islands/chase down the secrets, but I thought it was a fun game. My assessment as a competent Zelda clone still holds.

Took about 9 hours total.

Re: Oceanhorn: Phantom Hourglass 2

Posted: Sun May 21, 2017 10:38 am
by Nofes
you liked skyward sword though so

Re: Oceanhorn: Phantom Hourglass 2

Posted: Mon May 22, 2017 8:49 am
by OrangeRakoon
Everyone likes Skyward Sword

EDIT: Just platinumed this game. So I guess I enjoyed it enough to see it through!

Actually the added post-game was probably the best designed island of the lot