Among all the clones of The Legend of Zelda that have emerged in recent years, Oceanhorn (Switch) has achieved prominence for executing the formula of the legendary Nintendo franchise while still presenting its own identity. Soon, a sequel was more than expected, so Cornfox & Brothers developed Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm , a title that dares more than its predecessor and expands the universe of the saga into a three-dimensional perspective.
Strongly inspired by the 3D games of the legendary Nintendo franchise, Oceanhorn 2 is an adventure of action and exploration with a semi-open world. The map is quite extensive and elaborate. All worlds are very detailed, full of side missions and secret areas to be explored. The narrative takes place a thousand years before the events of its predecessor, but it is very simple, typical of games of the genre and serves only to give some meaning to the gameplay.
On a stormy night, the demon Mesmeroth delivers a child to Master Mayfair’s care. Years later, the child (or Hero), who is now an adult, arrives on an abandoned island to find the item that is necessary to become a knight, and thus complete his training. After finding the artifact, the Hero returns to his city and is named a knight by Master Mayfair, the man who created him since he was a child.
Suddenly an aircraft crashes in the forest near the city. The Hero decides to investigate what happened with his robot, Gen. Arriving at the accident site, they meet Trin, a fearless warrior from the capital of Arcadia, who was being pursued by the Dark Troopers, soldiers commanded by the forces of darkness. Trin was on the run from the evil army because he had obtained confidential information about Mesmeroth’s plans. For this reason, the Hero decides to take it to his master.
Returning to the city, the army of darkness was threatening the residents there, who in turn had already taken refuge in the underground hiding place. The trio heads towards the secret shelter and there, they receive the guidance of Master Mayfair to proceed towards the White City, capital of Arcadia, with the objective of requesting help from the leader of the continent.
The protagonists, Trin, Gen and the Hero, travel to the White City, where they discover that Mesmeroth is planning to steal the throne and rule the kingdom. To avoid this, the hero and his companions must find the three sacred emblems: the Sun, the Earth and the Ocean. As in The Legend of Zelda games, each emblem is in a temple in some region of the kingdom and belongs to a particular race. The main mission of Oceanhorn 2 is to complete the temples to recover the emblems, and thus prevent Mesmeroth’s demonic plans.
As well as its main influence, Oceanhorn 2’s greatest strength is the exploration of the scenarios. The map design is very well done, with several points of interest, in addition to the main campaign: caves, dungeons and secret huts; who always offer some treasure of value, like money or upgrades for your character. The side missions are another factor that greatly increases the time of play and, consequently, the fun.
The experience loses its breath when it is necessary to draw the sword and go into combat, as the fighting system is disrupted and cannot be so engaging. The game has all the mechanics it should have: attack, dodge, defense and parry blows with the shield ( parry), however, there is no synchrony of these elements. The biggest problem is that it is not possible to lock the target on an enemy, unless the shield is raised, but the target is dispersed as soon as you make an attack, making the fights clumsy and imprecise. Not to mention that the camera gets in the way of several decisive moments, which can cause unnecessary deaths.
Along with that, some glitches can hinder gameplay. It will be necessary to restart the game in some cases, such as being stuck on walls or under objects, for example. It is often noted that the port lacked polishingfor the Switch, since several elements of the mobile game are present in the gameplay. Perhaps for this reason the combat seems so strange for a console title, because a more streamlined fight makes perfect sense on the mobile screen; that is, there was not much adaptation of the mechanics of the mobile version for the Switch.
In addition to the sword and shield, the Hero has other essential items to progress the adventure. The main and most important is the magic elemental pistol, which can cast spells of energy, fire, electricity and ice. The interesting thing about these spells is that they are not limited to combat only, because they can be used to manipulate the external environment as well. The shot of ice creates platforms in rivers, the fire can ignite wooden objects, such as barrels and gates; electric can create currents of electricity and conduct energy to connect abandoned machines and equipment.
You can still use the traditional bomb to open secret passages or blow up nearby enemies. The protagonist has a hook, which works just like Link’s Hookshot in Ocarina of Time (N64). The item allows the Hero to reach inaccessible areas and also solve some puzzles.
If you thought it was incredible to sail in a boat on the first Oceanhorn, you will love to know that the vehicles were expanded in the sequel. In addition to navigating the seas of Arcadia, it is now possible to fly a plane and explore the whole continent sky or even drive a motorcycle at certain stages. After a certain event in the plot, it is possible to dive into deep water, giving even more diversity to the gameplay.
Another point worth mentioning is the art direction, which was amazing for mixing fantasy elements with realistic lighting. It makes you want to photograph every corner of the scenery, even the reflections in the water, which were impressive for a low-cost game. Not only the textures and the modeling finish, but also the design of the world as a whole.
On the other hand, the soundtrack is neither impressive nor captivating, but it is also far from being unpleasant. The songs are only generic and forgettable, serving only to fulfill the table in the gameplay. However, it was a more interesting experience to play with the audio disabled, leaving only the sound effects and the environment. Speaking of sound effects, the sounds of animals and nature as a whole are engaging enough to make you prefer to play with the soundtrack off.
It’s impossible not to associate Oceanhorn 2 with The Legend of Zelda, as the inspiration is obvious. But is it fair to say that the Cornfox & Brothers title is a clone of the Nintendo franchise? Analyzing all the elements of gameplay and narrative, the answer is: yes. Even though the indie game has some identity, it brings little originality in its content, making it a generic Zelda. Not that this is any demerit, after all, it is not every day that someone will be compared to a sacred franchise in the world of video games.
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm bets all its chips on looking like The Legend Zelda, but fails to execute mandatory mechanics of the genre, such as locking the crosshairs and the camera. The simple storyline and neat setting provide a fun experience for fans hardcore from Ocarina of Time (N64) and The Wind Waker (GC), but the poor combat system and lack of polish make it a title that is not recommended for all players.
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm is a fun 3D adventure inspired by The Legend of Zelda, but fails to perfect itself in some key areas to make it stand out among the rest.