The App Store is filled with all kinds of games, but there’s one niche that it really hasn’t covered, and that’s the deluxe 3D adventure. Oceanhorn has now set sail on iOS, and it has been over two years in the making to try to deliver a Zelda style game experience for mobile touch devices. We now have the result to see if they’ve succeeded, and when you first launch the game you understand why it took so long in development. There’s a deluxe 3D world to dive into composed of a series of multiple islands filled with enemies, and puzzle scenarios. The entire game revolves around exploration as you slowly unveil the world map, and the story behind the mythical sea creature, Oceanhorn.
The game takes awhile to get into as you battle through the simple beginnings, and it is a bit lackluster to start. Once you reach the third island, you’re tossed into the heart of the game, and from there you will be absolutely hooked. Every single island is intricately crafted with forking pathways, hidden areas, and different elements that tie each island together. Everything you do is strung together as you battle your way forward to unlock bombs, magical spells, arrows, and more with each one providing a new ability to unlock a new pathway. The islands continue to lead you ahead, and once you embark on this adventure you will be totally immersed in the experience to want to finish it. The developers claim over ten hours of gameplay, and you will easily reach that total because there’s so much exploration, and figuring out what to do next.
One of the most noticeable aspects is that there’s a Nintendo air surrounding the entire experience, and that’s quite an achievement for the developers. It’s not on the level of a Nintendo game like Zelda, Mario, or Metroid, but the essence is there, and it’s great to have on iOS. The game consistently calls you back to it, as it continues to build upon the base to make grander and grander situations. The enemies become more complex, boss battles are introduced, and the puzzle intricacies of the island are extended. The first couple of islands are relatively mindless with virtually no challenge to the puzzle, or enemies, but once you unlock the bomb power-up, you will then appreciate the challenge that ensues. The boss battles offer grand challenges that offer sword combat, or huge entities that require tons of hits with multiple techniques to defeat.
Everything grows on you to the point that you enjoy the whole thing from sliding blocks into position, slicing up skeleton guards, dropping bombs to reveal hidden passages, discovering switches to change the environment, or even sailing between islands. Once you start, you will want to reach the finish, and that will give you so much enjoyment for the premium App Store price. All of the action is presented exquisitely with detailed 3D environments, again with that Nintendo-esque style. Part of the enjoyment is exploring these detailed environments with few indicators of what to do next. There are a few glitches in the environment that can leave you stuck in a gap, but with such an expansive world that is somewhat expected. The controls are another potential issue as the basic actions couldn’t be smoother, but as you unlock new abilities it can be a hassle to manage them as you need to keep tapping on the item button to switch between them.
Oceanhorn ($8.99, Universal) is a full featured experience that is not to be missed on iOS making it a must buy that makes the App Store a better place with the exquisite adventure it delivers.