Oceanhorn is a lovely little adventure game and it finally has a sequel that completely outdoes it in almost every conceivable way.
When I first started playing Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm, I couldn't believe how awesome it looked. There have been a lot of indie games that try to offer grand-scale 3D adventures which are clearly inspired by Zelda yet few of them have the visual prowess of Oceanhorn 2 which is especially surprising considering it's on Switch which, let's face it; rarely wows when it comes to graphics. I'm not saying that Oceanhorn 2 looks realistic but it's definitely stylish and gorgeous to take in complete with fluid animations, detailed environments, and a soft colour palette that makes its world easy on the eyes. On top of this, it features an incredible soundtrack that's full of whimsical and atmospheric tunes as well as an English voice cast that consists of talented actors who bring each character to life. It's not quite as refined as a first-party Nintendo game but it's impressively close and definitely captured my imagination.
Presentation aside, Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm is played as you would expect a 3D adventure in the same vein as Ocarina of Time to be played. You run around large and often intricate dungeons as well as open environments while slashing a sword, raising a shield, climbing, and leaping from ledges. However, there are a few elements that set this apart such as the ability to command a couple of followers who can help with combat and solving puzzles. You're also equipped with an elemental gun that is used with both combat and puzzles. That's something that Oceanhorn 2 does extremely well; seamlessly transition between combat, puzzles, and plenty of other scenarios. Speaking of which, there's a ton of variety throughout and whether you find yourself exploring for treasures, stealthily sneaking around, smashing pots for a quick refill, or soaring around on a hoverbike; you're bound to have one heck of a good time.
Another aspect of Oceanhorn 2 that adds to its sense of accomplishment is its RPG elements. As you play, you'll earn cash and experience points as well as upgrade crystals that you can assign to various equipment in order to enhance it in interesting ways. For example, you can have abilities take less time to charge or increase your sword's attack power. As a result, exploring every nook and cranny is rewarding stuff as you can discover plenty of worthwhile upgrades that may even extend your maximum health which is always helpful.
Although the journey got its hooks in me and I thoroughly enjoyed every scenario that I found myself within, it must be said that Oceanhorn 2's combat isn't all that engaging. For starters, enemy attacks seem to just happen abruptly so it's sometimes hard to know when to hold your shield. Other than that, you primarily just swing your sword around willy-nilly until you win which isn't as intricate or as strategic as I would have liked. One thing I did enjoy was planting bombs then running away in order to hopefully blow up a gaggle of foes which is pretty fun. Plus, the Caster Gun is undeniably nifty with its devastating elemental attacks.
Finally, something that I noticed after playing for a few hours is that there really isn't much challenge throughout Oceanhorn 2's adventure. At the start, there may be a bit of difficulty as you adjust to its gameplay systems but once you realise how everything works, it's fairly easy stuff and even the bosses can be quite the pushovers. On the other side of the spectrum, some situations can be rather perplexing as they require unintuitive solutions. For example, you have to throw something at a faraway switch at one point but I assumed that you had to find a way to climb up to it so I wasted a lot of time wandering around aimlessly. Throw me a bone!
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm offers a top-notch adventure with clever situations and mechanics being introduced at nearly every turn. It's also an impressive step up from the first game so I'm looking forward to what Cornfox & Bros. create next.
- + Fantastic 3D adventure with loads of variety throughout
- + Wonderful visuals, voices, and music
- + Rewarding RPG elements and unlockables
- - Not very challenging once you learn how everything works
- - Combat isn't all that engaging
- - Some parts can be rather confusing