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Hamumu Revumu: Oceanhorn02:37 PM -- Tue November 10, 2015

Oceanhorn

TL;DR: A modern Zelda clone! Cute.

Gameplay Gist: Top-down action-adventure. If you know Zeldas, you know this - you travel from island to island, and on each one you encounter a dungeon, during which you gain a new item that lets you do something new, then you have to beat a boss using this item. You can then move on to the next dungeon, or go back to earlier places to use your new item to reach various bonus items you couldn't get before. I didn't realize until I wrote that how Metroidvania-ey Zelda games are.

But this has all the other Zelda stuff too - when your life is full your sword shoots, there are little bloopy enemies that look like Zelda enemies, your life is made of heart icons, there's a little tune for secrets (although it seems to play at all the wrong times in this game), you smash pots and chop grass for gems, dungeons have regular keys and a master/boss key, bombs and arrows are a major element, etc. All sorts of little touches ripped straight out of Zelda. Intentionally though. This is an homage more than a rip-off.

Kombat Kuality: The combat is not great. Like older Zelda games, it's basic and not super compelling. It's also super easy. Mainly the enemies are just there because running through empty dungeons to get to each 'puzzle' would seem much more dull.

Story Stupid? You bet. It's right out of Zelda, just the most basic Macguffins to pull you along to collect all the pieces of the Triforce (not called that in this game, but yeah, that) and reach the final boss. It's a little bit compelling, in that there's definitely a sad feeling to the whole thing, like this is a run-down world that is sort of falling to pieces, and everyone you meet is the last of their tribe or something similar. But no, not much of a plot.

Wrapid Wrap-Up: All in all, I was honestly quite hooked. In hindsight now, I say the things I wrote above - not super interesting, nothing compelling about the gameplay, the puzzles are as mindless as in any Zelda (the definition of a puzzle is basically "you have to recognize that you need to use a certain item", as opposed to anything you truly have to figure out). But like any Zelda, those little rewards and cute animations keep you hooked. You just have to know what the next new item will be, and you get a thrill out of completing each dungeon, even though it feels equivalent to successfully moving the beads around on one of these:

You know? Like you solved a puzzle made to challenge an infant. But it's still solving something, and triggers that endorphin hit. So I'm hard-pressed to "rate" this game. I don't have anything great to say about it, but it was a very polished work of art, and it did its job as a game - hooked me in and kept me playing non-stop to the end. So why don't I love it? I don't know. I did when I was playing it, but that was a month ago. I guess you should play it. It's a nice game. Just don't expect anything groundbreaking or life-changing. Just some simple fun.
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