Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas Vs. FIST OF AWESOME

So when I first saw Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas come about (Oceanhorn from here on out), I couldn’t figure if I was more intrigued by the familiar look or bothered that it didn’t try to be something other than an Indie version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. In the least, it looked like it would be a fun ride. Given the opportunity, I really wanted to see for myself if Oceanhorn could stand on its own. After a few hours at sea, I’ve come ashore to tell you how it all came about and how my voyage went. The real question here is: will you be able to punch a bear in the face?

There are a good bit of references in FOA and while that may make some roll their eyes, I loved it.

There are a good amount of cultural references in FIST OF AWESOME and while that may make some roll their eyes, I loved it.

Oceanhorn is a good-looking game. The way they used the land blocks is a good way to create unique islands and dungeons and the color scheme sets an inviting and cheerful mood. It looks a lot better than the pixelated scheme chosen by FIST OF AWESOME (FOA from here on out). On the same note, the pixel look does create a great retro look. Both games take me back in time, FOA just takes me back farther. The levels here feel a bit more organic than those of Oceanhorn. By that I mean the levels seem to flow better and in Oceanhorn it feels super modular. Dungeons and houses all look good, but the lands themselves feel funky to me. There’s something to be said about utilizing that method because it does let you get a lot of work done with less effort (not minimal, simply less, if that’s truly how they developed it). FOA had less level to cover in general so they didn’t need to create as much art, but there is some good skill with the pixels shown even if the levels are extremely small by comparison.

You're on a boat and all you can do is go along for the ride... and shoot this gun at random stuff. I can see that giant floating island along with other islands that are not flying; why can't I drift over to them? Maybe if I couldn't see them before I "knew" about them I would be less bothered... maybe.

You’re on a boat and all you can do is go along for the ride… and shoot this gun at random stuff. I can see that giant floating island along with other islands that are not flying; why can’t I drift over to them? Maybe if I couldn’t see them before I “knew” about them I would be less bothered… maybe.

Both games are linear; there’s no way to get around it. If you want to argue that FOA has some bend on that because you can choose to go to an arena instead of playing the campaign over again… well that’s weak. It’s an old-school brawler like Double Dragon and that’s as left to right linear as you can get. Oceanhorn’s linearity is less obvious until you get to the water and while you can choose which island to go to of the ones you’ve been told about, you don’t control your boat, just a gun that you can shoot random baddies and floaty-bits. I guess you could call it a mini-game of sorts, but I think I would have preferred a cut-scene instead of this because it felt like a waste of time masquerading as gameplay. I have nothing against linear gameplay unless it feels constrictive. What some people see as lack of choice, others can see it as a more direct way of telling a story so as not get be bogged down with other details. I can totally get behind that.

Boss fights can be difficult, but for some reason, the biggest issue I have is with the controls here. The buttons are all assigned in a reasonable spot, but the execution of the actions feel clunky.

Boss fights can be difficult, but for some reason, the biggest issue I have is with the controls. The buttons are all assigned in places I would assume they would be, but the execution of the actions feels off.

FOA’s controls seemed to be more on point as far as getting the character to do what I wanted it to. I was able to punch and kick bears in the nuts to my heart’s content. There was nothing really to stop me. Oh, well other than when two enemies had you surrounded and stun-locked you to freedom like Rogues did in World of Warcraft, I didn’t want that. Other than that, once you got the spacing and timing down, the rest was simply timing and tactics. In Oceanhorn, the controls felt rigid and clunky. The dash move was awkward for me and felt like it was only implemented to give some “diversity” in gameplay. FOA had basic controls, but the fights were basic so they played well with each other. In Oceanhorn, the controls are clunky, but the fights seem overly simple which could explain some things. If the controls aren’t going to be fluid maybe the fights were made simpler to accommodate?

Here we go with the people getting upset because I'm punching a deer wearing a Boba Fett helmet.

Here we go with the people getting upset because I’m punching a deer wearing a Boba Fett helmet. It was just so easy compared to punching a bear. I’d punch a faux Boba any day of the week!

Music is usually something that stands out to me in games. Oceanhorn did me no real favors here. FOA comes out on top, which honestly pains me to say because, come on: Nobuo Uematsu! The intro music for Oceanhorn and others like it are very nice sounding, but the in-game music is meh. Is that done by another composer? It’s the main music you’ll listen to and it’s either too quiet or so nondescript. I would hope for something a bit more epic for a seafaring adventure game. In FOA, while I do enjoy the occasional chip-tune, the music got kind of repetitive. On the same note, it was energetic so that the repetitive gameplay was kept mostly entertaining.

Leveling up felt better in Oceanhorn because it didn't give incremental increases in stregnth or speed. It gave you noticable buffs to things like the number of bombs you could carry. FOA's stregnth upgrade gave you one more point of damage on a small boost to damage and I almost second guessed most of my picks.

Leveling up felt better in Oceanhorn because it didn’t give incremental increases in strength or speed. It gave you noticeable buffs to things like the number of bombs you could carry. FOA’s strength upgrade gave you a small boost and I almost second guessed most of my picks due to the lack of awesome.

Winner: FIST OF AWESOME

More Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas info: FacebookPlayStation Store / Official Page / Steam
More FIST OF AWESOME info: Facebook / Official Page / Steam

Oceanhorn is a solid game and allows for much more freedom than does FIST OF AWESOME. FOA was going for something a bit more simplistic, but still comes out on top because of one main factor. Had I never played The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Oceanhorn would have probably been a fantastic adventure. The world, basic character design, move/item set and even some of the mobs kept reminding me of Wind Waker and coming up short in comparrison. Oceandoes departs in a few great ways, namely the level up system. I like that approach. But as ideas in and of themselves, FOA comes off as unique even though it's easily inspired by some old-school brawlers, but does enough to differentiate itself. I'm excited for where the sequel to Oceanhorn is looking like where it's going, as it seems to be more of what I wanted Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas to be: a inspired by, but not mimicking something else.

Oceanhorn is a solid game and allows for much more freedom than does FIST OF AWESOME. FOA was going for something a bit more simplistic, but still comes out on top because of one main factor. Had I never played The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Oceanhorn would have probably been a more fantastic adventure for me. The world, basic character design, move/item set and even some of the mobs kept reminding me of Wind Waker and coming up short in comparison. Oceanhorn does depart in a few enjoyable ways: the story and namely the level up system. I liked both and that approach to progressing your character was very cool. But as ideas in and of themselves go, FOA comes off as a more unique title even though it’s easily inspired by some old-school brawlers. It does enough to differentiate itself from them. I’m excited for where the sequel to Oceanhorn seems to be going, as it seems to be more of what I wanted Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas to be, inspired, but not coming across as mimicking something else.

Ratings Explained

Jonathan Amarelo Sig


Love it or hate it, let me know!