Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm review | If I didn’t know better, I would think that developer Cornfox & Bros is angling for a chance from Nintendo to make a Zelda game. That developers take inspiration from a particular game series is nothing new but it is still striking how hard it is inspired by the older 3D Zelda games.Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm road to Xbox has been a long one. It was first launched exclusively on Apple Arcade in 2019, a port was released on Nintendo Switch a year later. Now the game finally releases for Xbox and Playstation, four years later… you could call it the ultimate version as the game runs 4K/60fps and has all the quality and content updates.
|Developer||Cornfox & Bros|
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Colourful world | From Apple Arcade to Xbox Series X|S… by reading that sentence you don’t immediately expect a visual stunning experience. Still, Oceanhorn 2 managed to attract me visually with a very vivid and colorful world. A world that contains quite a lot of detail. When you travel around in your ship or aircraft you find yourself in a different overview, one that’s a lot more simplistic. Fortunately, however, you are not in these environments too often. What really counts are the dungeons and cities, something this game really does excel at.
- Massive difference between Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas and Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm | I love seeing improvements from a developer. When you compare both Oceanhorn games it is remarkable to see how much the second has improved on all aspects. Without losing the soul from the first Oceanhorn! They really learned a lot and managed to use their talent for this kind of adventure game really well. Like I said in the introduction part of my review the game is heavily inspired by Zelda but it is done masterfully. It isn’t a Binary Domain…not familiar with that game? It is Gears of War inspired but in a pretty bad shape.
- Fun gameplay with a focus on exploration | Oceanhorn 2 hits the hammer on the nail when it comes to gameplay. While it has issues with puzzles and non-notable combat it still has something special. I was always looking forward to explore the beautiful environments, searching for every treasure or harder to find bloodstones. Level design is fantastic as it really encourages players that take the time to explore every inch. It has a good balance between introducing new content
- Sounds perfect | Each area has a catchy tune and characters sound much more charming than how they look. Oceanhorn 2 is fully voiced with good voice acting. Dialogue is a bit mundane but I’m glad they invested in voice actors, it uplifts the atmosphere greatly. Tense or magical when it should be, I have nothing bad to say about the soundtrack. Top-notch work, compliments to the sound design devs!
- Arcadian Tarock | We had fishing in the first Oceanhorn and the developers created something new for the sequel, a collectible card game. A large part of the NPC’s can be challenged for a mini game called Arcadian Tarock. This is played on a 9×9 board, in other words nine cards will be played. The task is to have more cards on the board than your opponent, this is done by a attack and defend mechanic. You have a few special abilities to spice things up and finding over 50 different cards in the world of Oceanhorn 2 is part of the fun. It is a bit challenging, actually the most difficult thing to play in the game but it is completely optional.
- Elemental spells and puzzles | I haven’t played the latest Zelda games, despite owning a Switch. But the general experience is that the puzzles present are brilliantly found. Therefore, it is a bit of a shame that the puzzles in Oceanhorn are pretty basic. When a more complicated solution must be found, it is more difficult than it should be due to poor explanations. A great example is early in the game when you have unlocked an electricity spell, you then have to solve a puzzle by connecting generators. There is no explanation at all that you can connect electricity by holding your button. So I was needlessly stuck because I didn’t know anything about the controls.
What we Disliked
- Combat is slightly undercooked | Calling it button-mashing would be wrong but there isn’t much else to do than pressing the same button over and over again to attack enemies. If the game was called Dynasty Warriors I would give it a pass, but I expected more from this kind of game. You learn all sorts of spells but there’s no real reason to use it as simply doing your basic melee attacks is faster to deal with enemies. There ain’t much variation in monster types too, I was getting tired pretty of attacking the game jelly or crab for the tenth time. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal if the combat was more interesting and not a plain three-hit combo attack. If you get overwhelmed you could use your bombs, a powerful AoE attack. Other possibilities like blocking attacks or using companion members is something I hardly ever used in my playtime. Spellcasting, that happens with the castergun sounds nice on paper but pretty useless while in combat.
- Characters could be more memorable | the only character that left an impression on me was Gen. A follower of the main character that’s a funny automata with a giant sword. Everyone else are monotonous characters that have little unique design and nothing that stands out. The playable hero and one of the other followers named Trin have bland clothes and honestly seem to have the same faces. NPC’s that you find in cities are boring, with little engagement or interaction. Owl-people, a unique species in Oceanhorn look like human-sized hugging suits with an owl-face. They should have used some inspiration from the Stewards that you can find in World of Warcaft. The first time I saw the owl-people I started laughing how silly they looked, but I guess it suits the overall disappointing creation of characters. If Oceanhorn 3 ever happens I hope the developer will pay more attention to this.
How long to beat the story | 20 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 35 hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Zelda
I was thrilled to finally see the game on Xbox and after playing it I’m happy that my Xbox friends can play it too. A colourful world and addictive gameplay makes Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm a worthwhile game to explore in. It is a shame of the slightly disappointing combat and characters but the game has a splendid soundtrack, lovely visuals and searching for the collectibles is fun.
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