Being a big fan of the PS Vita I was disappointed when the announcement for Oceanhorn 2 didn’t include a release on PlayStation platforms. Its predecessor was put on my radar by none other than 2015 Trending Gamer – Greg Miller, who had a lot of love for the original which came to PS4 and Vita.
Oceanhorn 2 – A Tearless Kingdom
Developed by indie studio Cornfox & Brothers, Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm initially launched on Apple platforms in 2019. This was followed up by a Nintendo Switch release in 2020. The game finally arrived on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on August 2nd 2023.
This follow-up in the Oceanhorn series is actually a prequel to its 2013 counterpart. Set 1,000 years prior to the events of the first game, the isometric style is switched up in favour of a full 3D presentation.
Playing as the young knight, aptly named Hero, you must journey across the vast world of Gaia. In this adventure, you are no longer solo as you are joined by Trin and Gen in your fight for the fate of the world.
The game follows mainly the same format as the first game. The trusty sword and shield return and thankfully weapons are not breakable. Players also have a gun that can fire a multitude of projectile types. It comes in handy for figuring out some of the puzzles that are thrown at you. Explore, collect items, solve puzzles, fight enemies, upgrade weapons, and take on quests. It very much is faithful to the gameplay loop of the original Oceanhorn.
The outlier though is that the perspective shift to 3D means that while the combat is much the same, it just feels very one-dimensional. You can instruct your crew Trin and Gen but they rarely take part which extenuates the feeling of things being a bit flat.
The story is fleshed out but it just never got its hooks in me to overly care too much about what was going on.
Graphics & Audio
While Oceanhorn 2’s switch to 3D loses some of the charm of the original, the visuals on show are impressive. It features a detailed world and some really nice character designs. The lighting throughout is really well done giving a believability to everything. The implementations for both the sky and bodies of water are particularly standout.
With the design choice of not having a player-controlled jump, some of the animations are left with the feel of being a bit wooden and robotic. Climbing in particular just feels out of step with the rest of the character movements.
On the audio side, Oceanhorn 2 again delivers another top-notch score that beautifully accompanies the adventure. It is impressive work again from Kalle Ylitalo after delivering so brilliantly on the first game.
The main character voice-overs are also well done and appreciated as you don’t often get voiced characters in indie titles. Gen’s commentary is often reminiscent of K-2SO from Rogue One and Fryda Wolff as the opinionated Trin added nicely to the overall enjoyment of the adventure.
12hrs for the main story with around an extra 6hrs of side quests make it quite a chuck longer than the first game. There’s also the addition of the in-world Arcandian Tarock card game which, while not for me, may be an avenue to extend the time players spend in this adventure. It offers a collection of 50 cards to acquire throughout the journey with quests to take on and lore to uncover.
Trophy hunters can expect to spend about 25hrs grabbing all the achievements. There are 35 trophies including 18 bronze, 11 silver, 5 gold and a platinum.
It sits at a nice price point offering pretty good bang for its buck.
While I prefer the design of the first game it has to be applauded what the team has pulled off here. With impressive visuals, great voice-over of characters, and a beautifully realised world, it’s easy to forget this is a port of a mobile game.
There is a lot of world and lore here for RPG fans to get lost in and a smashing score to boot. For me, the game just lacks that je ne sais quoi.
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm is an enjoyable action RPG that slashes its way to the Thumb Culture Silver Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.