Oceanhorn is an exciting adventure game focused on exploration and battle interlaced with a fantasy story. You play as a boy who is searching for his father and tasked with discovering more about the monster called "Oceanhorn." The narrative draws the player in and provides motivation for the character's actions. All of this is enhanced by breathtaking visuals and inspiring music. Oceanhorn is compatible with all iOS devices running iOS 5.1.1 or later and costs US$8.99.
At the start of the game, you are transported into the world of Oceanhorn as a boy who has been given a book of his father's travels and his late mother's necklace. The father has recently disappeared in search of Oceanhorn. Early on, you will run across a hermit who will tell you about three sacred emblems that you must find. These emblems are found on different islands, which introduces an interesting mechanic: sailing.
You can sail to different islands by plotting a course on the map and then following your character's journey across the ocean. This journey is in no way uneventful as enemies and other hazards can spawn in the water. You must shoot them to avoid loosing health.
Exploration is a big part of what makes Oceanhorn fun and exciting. The player gets to choose where they would like to go next. However, deciding on a course of action is often tricky, as the game does not explicitly say where to go or what to do next. Players might search the same areas repeatedly before realizing the solution. One way players can figure out the next goal is to talk to the people on the island. A lot of times the information you receive is a hint as to your next possible goal or even a new location to explore.
Puzzles are used quite often in Oceanhorn to hide either treasure or the next location. In the earlier locations, the puzzles were not too difficult and after thinking about the puzzle for a while, the solution was clear. However, some puzzles are not as obvious in their solutions and this could cause a player to spend a lot of time combing the area in frustration. The variety of the puzzles was refreshing. You could be moving crates to make a pathway and the next minute using bombs to open up a passageway.
There were numerous types of enemies to deal with. The ground troops are fairly consistent in their attacks while those in the air are hard to hit. Nasty beetles appear early on and seem fairly easy to beat, dying in just two hits. However, when a hoard of beetles storms a single room, these "easy" enemies require quick thinking to avoid being overrun. The bomb is an effective and a strong attack paired with some rapid back-and-forth for such situations.
Boss battles require a combination of skill and planning. Players must consider which of their character's attacks will affect each boss, because some strikes take longer to perform and leave you vulnerable.
The controls are usually solid, however the swipe controls would occasionally cause me to accidentally use a bomb when I didn't want to. Also, throwing items wouldn't always work. This didn't seem to cause too much trouble in completing the game.
With over ten hours of gameplay, a fantastic art style and amazing music, Oceanhorn is a great game for those who enjoy exploration and adventure games. The experience is greater in scope than most mobile games, more in the style typically seen on consoles for a much higher price. Oceanhorn is enthralling and enjoyable, worthy of its US$8.99 price tag.
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