iOS has consistently evolved as a gaming platform with grander entries continuing to hit the App Store. One of the biggest recent releases is Oceanhorn, and it scratches a niche that hasn’t really been touched before. Oceanhorn provides a grand scale adventure akin to Zelda, and it has some essences of a Nintendo style game. We made a gameplay video, and reviewed it, and yet it was worth coming back to now that we completed the game. You have a whole new perspective once you actually reach the conclusion, and it also shows the alluring nature of the game. We get many games across our desks, and it’s tough to go back to old ones, as there are always new releases the next week. Oceanhorn called us back to it, and proved its value not only for an individual $8.99 purchase, but for the entire iOS platform.
Oceanhorn has been over two years in the making, and that time shines through everything that you do. There are 16 discoverable islands with some expansive lands to come across complete with forking pathways, numerous enemies, unique puzzle layouts, and some hidden areas. Each island works to progress the storyline, and your characters ability as you unlock magical powers, a new sword, a new shield, bombs, arrows, jumping, and more. There’s such a well designed progression system, and as you gain these new abilities, you can then reach different sections of the islands that were previously blocked. Everything you do contributes to hunting down the mechanical fortress known as Oceanhorn, and there are four major boss battles in the mean time. There’s also incentive to go back, and explore the old islands to try to unlock 100% of their secrets with treasure chests, blood gems, and more.
The developers promise over ten hours of gameplay, and our complete adventure of defeating Oceanhorn lasted 12 hours with 83% of the game completed. We can confirm the developer’s claims of play time, and again you will want to make it through the entirety of the game as soon as you begin. There’s simply so much to discover in these finely crafted worlds, which represent each of these islands. There’s a great 3D visual design, excellent soundtrack, and smooth touch controls to further deliver the total package. Everything comes together to make for a memorable experience that is on a scale that is unrivaled in the App Store when it comes to adventure games.
The iOS platform is now a better place with Oceanhorn available, as it’s just another piece to legitimize the current gaming catalog beyond endless runners, matching games, and freemium building games. Oceanhorn might not be for everyone, but even if you’re not interested in a lengthy action packed adventure, its mere existence will invite similar games of that quality to come to iOS. A $9 purchase of Oceanhorn gives you an amazing game, but it also offers an investment in the App Store to tell all developers that we want to see more games of this scale. Many iOS games are enjoyable in the moment, but don’t leave a lasting impression, but Oceanhorn has broken the mold, and can change our collective expectations of what games are possible on iOS. It might not be a full on Zelda game, but it sure is a deluxe adventure that you can’t help but marvel at as you play on the go on your iPhone or iPad. It also offers a level of satisfaction on completion that hasn’t been available on iOS yet.
Oceanhorn ($8.99, Universal) is one of the best gaming experiences you can partake in on iOS, and hopefully it ushers in a whole new wave of games to push what’s possible on iOS.