So a little game called Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas sailed onto Sony’s handheld very recently, and for better or worse there’s no hiding the fact that whenever this particular game comes into discussion, an elephant enters the room. In particular, a silent one bearing a trusty sword and shield, utterly brimming with a sense of adventure.
Oceanhorn’s resemblance of Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda series is vast and near-endless, but if you look past the mute hero-fronted exterior, there’s still a well-crafted adventure here. And one that’s ideal for those looking to scratch that Link to the Past type of itch, who were perhaps turned off by the risk of brushing up against Breath of the Wild’s sheer unpredictability and openness. Now available portably on a dedicated handheld system for the first time, how does Oceanhorn play on Vita? Quite well actually!
Considering Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas originally started out life as a power-pushing iOS title way back when in 2014, immediately upon loading it up, the game never makes its true roots known, its full 3D visuals fitting right at home on the Vita as if it was always destined to be released here. The game has come full circle, letting players explore dungeons, battle creatures, and discover hidden heart pieces all on a noticeably much more bitesize scale, and the duel analogue controls work a treat.
All the hallmarks of a traditional iOS/Android to Vita port are here. Gone is the game’s original need to mar the screen with obtrusive icons, tap inputs, and swipe controls, placing Oceanhorn’s inherently beautiful, if somewhat derivative, art-style truly front and centre in the fullest of views. If ever you’ve made the transition from mobile device to Vita with the likes of Jetpack Joyride or even Minecraft, you’ll know exactly what to expect, and all in all, the folks over at FDG Entertainment have done a commendable if not game-changing job when handling this port.
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas on Vita isn’t going to change the mind of its most unforgiving of critics, but at the same time it’s not trying to. As touched upon in our original review, “It’s a completely fine and competent game”, but unfortunately one that will never be able to avoid the pitfalls that come when hearkening back so overtly to Nintendo’s beloved franchise.
With its well thought-out dungeons, fair sense of discovery, and whimsical visuals, Oceanhorn Vita is primed to thrill anyone looking for their portable Zelda fix before picking up a Switch or indulge themselves in a much more traditional approach to the formula which Breath of the Wild so unabashedly throws out the rulebook. In other words, it’s not quite the main course with dessert, but Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas on Vita is a more than serviceable starter.