Last September, Sam reviewed Oceanhorn on the Xbox One, offering an insight as to how the game that began life as a mobile app had fared in transitioning to a home console. With the release of the PS Vita port earlier this month, FDG Entertainment’s colourful action-adventure title returns to its handheld roots - but does it still hold up?
The pairing feels like the lesser-realised equivalent, the intimate experience a perfect fit for such a personal peripheral. The ability to pick up and play anytime, anywhere, delving into these worlds at your convenience, is why the Vita and Oceanhorn’s bite-sized design complement each other so well.
The game’s beautifully rendered on the Vita, making notable improvements over its mobile counterpart, which had previously suffered from muddy textures and poor frame rate as a result of restrictive mobile hardware. A crisper presentation and richer colour palette make it more visually seductive, while a smooth frame rate sees to it that the love-in is never interrupted.
Naturally, the Vita’s twin joysticks give players more responsive control than a mobile touchscreen ever could, but, while this is a godsend when it comes to manoeuvring (provided you aren’t clipping through corners after taking them too quickly), it doesn’t make much difference when button-bashing your way through combat. That said, some tougher enemies will need to be parried in order for you to stand much of a chance, which adds finesse to those occasional encounters.
While Oceanhorn is packed with playfulness, my enthusiasm gradually began to fade over its course thanks largely to the tentative narrative and general simplicity of its world. More confidence and interactivity would really have enriched the adventure, imbuing it with some more personality of its own.
Regardless, the PS Vita feels like a natural home for Oceanhorn, due to its convenient portability and superior control over the similarly accommodating mobile version. Minor criticisms aside, Oceanhorn and the Vita share a complementary chemistry that fondly reminded me of playing Zelda on the Nintendo DS, which is, by all counts, a very good thing.
If you’re interested in trying Oceanhorn on the PS Vita, make sure to check back next week, as we’ll be giving away three EU region download keys.