Last year you might have read Sam’s verdict on the Xbox One version of Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas, but since the game began life as a mobile experience, it makes sense that it would find its way to the most portable of the home consoles - the Nintendo Switch.
The world is split up into different islands, which each have a few things to discover and plenty of enemies to combat, but most locations are fairly small, so you can make your way through them relatively easily in a shorter play session and feel like you’ve achieved something while on the go.
The lore, though present, isn’t intrusive either, so there aren’t swathes of detail to commit to memory when you hop on for five minutes before your significant other warns you of the imminent arrival of food. You could even get away with a cheeky session at a family barbecue and there’s no risk of any family members looking over your shoulder in disturbed bemusement at what they see - something that the upcoming and similarly Zelda-inspired Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ is at severe risk of.
Basic puzzle-solving offers more depth than the Candy Crushes and Clash of Clans of the world, without being so engrossing as to make you miss your stop.
Travelling too, there’s a relaxing simplicity to pottering around destroying pottery, and in the familiar touches undoubtedly borrowed from Zelda - from the colour-emphasised NPC text to the protagonist’s sword, shield and tunic combo - which create a comfort blanket of straightforward gameplay and basic puzzle-solving that offer more depth than the Candy Crushes and Clash of Clans of the world, without being so engrossing as to make you miss your stop.
While you can pick up Oceanhorn on the PS Vita, as Gabriella found out recently, the tone and presentation of the game definitely has a fittingly ‘Nintendo’ feel, which helps to manage expectations of a more ‘hardcore’ gaming experience Vita players might have expected, but Oceanhorn isn’t necessarily designed to cater towards.
Finally, if you fancy a big screen experience, then with a quick slide of your Switch into the dock, you can have it. This versatility is unique to the Switch, and with performance strong across both handheld and docked modes, its easy to play however you like.
With so many platforms to play Oceanhorn on at this point, it’s definitely worth giving the Switch version specifically a try, especially if you’re a fan of classic Zelda titles; I’d even go as far as to say experiencing it in this format nudges it above Sam’s initial score. It’s certainly enough to keep you entertained in short bursts, and it might even be a nice entry point for youngsters into a slightly more involved style of gaming. Never has the chance to sail Oceanhorn’s uncharted seas felt more appealing.
Are you tempted? Let us know what you think of the game in the comments.