Originally an Apple Arcade exclusive, the gorgeous Oceanhorn 2 is finally available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC. It’s been a long wait, but if you’re a fan of Zelda-like adventures, it’s well worth jumping into.
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm wastes no time in getting going. Your adventurer might start out sorely unprepared and under-equipped, but within a matter of minutes you’ll have found yourself a sword and shield, and will be swatting off low-level enemies. Exploring an old pirates’ hangout, you’ll learn the basics of the game: dodge rolls, targeting enemies, throwing items and jumping. There are keys to find, doors to unlock, and switches to be pressed. It very much feels like an old-school Zelda experience, wrapped up with beautiful, modern visuals.
Indeed, it’s very clear where Oceanhorn 2’s inspirations lie. Your adventurer even resembles Breath of the Wild-era Link in his blue tunic. But Oceanhorn 2 is far more than just a copycat. There’s plenty here to make it stand on its own two legs: its gorgeous world, for example, that simply begs to be explored. And its weird and wonderful cast of characters, including the helpful robot Gen, who are a pleasure to talk to – and rather useful to have on board.
There’s a lot of combat to get to grips with in Oceanhorn 2, and don’t let the cutesy, family-friendly art style of the game lure you into a false sense of security: even the smallest of small fry enemies can kick your ass if you’re not prepared. You can’t simply swing your sword and hope for the best here. You’ll need to make use of your dash manoeuvre as well as learn to successfully block incoming hits with your shield. Thankfully, you have a decent amount of health points to begin with, and you’ll earn more as you progress through the game – so you’re never at risk of being one-hitted out of existence. It’s not quite that tough.
Like any good action-adventure game, Oceanhorn 2 has its fair share of bosses. Indeed, we’d practically only just got acquainted with our weaponry before we were facing off against a giant octopus. We’ve not faced off against every boss yet, of course – we’ve plenty more still to play through – but each fight so far has been rather epic, with giant, well designed beasts whose attack patterns need to be observed and learnt before you can successfully take them down.
It’s the puzzles that really shine for us, though. Oceanhorn 2 feels old-fashioned in its sensibilities, despite looking wonderfully modern with its decidedly next-gen graphics. (Seriously: it’s gorgeous. You wouldn’t guess it begun life as a mobile game.) If you’re a fan of classic adventure games you’re going to find a lot to love here, whether it’s simply exploring a dungeon to discover a hidden switch, or clever puzzles that require a bit of thought to get past.
As you progress through the game, your arsenal will grow beyond your basic sword and shield and, like Link, you’ll have a range of tools at your disposal. A grapple will allow you to swing across gaps and a Caster Gun will come in handy in a variety of situations. Your sword will remain a staple, though, and swinging it – even just to cut through long grass or smash a pot – feels great.
If you’ve ever wondered what the likes of A Link to the Past might feel like as a modern game, Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm is likely the closest we’ll ever get. Well, unless Nintendo decide to remake it, that is. But if you don’t have a Nintendo console, this really is the closest you’ll ever get to a Zelda game on Xbox and PlayStation. And it does a very good job of capturing the magic of getting lost in a good, old-fashioned adventure.
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm is available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, iOS and PC.