Oceanhorn 2 broke its exclusivity from the Apple Arcade and submerged onto the Nintendo Switch as yet another action-adventure game to dive into. It drops the stretched out chibi-like look present in the first game for more realistic visuals. Instead of the $4.99 monthly subscription on Apple Arcade, a flat fee of $29.99 will have to be paid to get your hands on the title.
The events of Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm takes place a thousand years before the first chapter. Warlock Mesmeroth has returned with his formidable Dark Army, threatening the fate of the world. As a young blond-haired knight, the game will take you on a journey throughout the world of Gaia to unite clans and stop the dark sorcerer’s plans.
The game’s story isn’t much to brag about, but it’s sufficient enough to hold its own alongside the gameplay. You’re likely not going to grow any strong emotional attachments to all of the characters in this game. Not for their shallow backstories at least, but for their appearance at most. What might disappoint the majority is how Oceanhorn 2 ends. It all happens so suddenly without any supporting cutscenes. It’ll leave you hanging, and in the worst possible way. There is a teaser at the end announcing another game, but with how Knights of the Lost Realm ends, it may be tough convincing yourself to give it a chance.
Despite the game sporting 20 hours of playtime, the severity of its lazy ending is heightened if you’ve been actively monitoring your completion rate through the menu screen. It could seem misleading with how you might think it’s tied to the game’s story content, but in reality, it only caters to completionists who attempt to complete every aspect of a game.
Explore, solve puzzles, and fight bad guys—that’s the basis of Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm. There isn’t much more to it besides powering up your equipment with the shards you obtain and saving up the coins you earn. Regardless of that, there’s still a beefy amount of hours you can get from it which makes it worth checking out, in addition to its live-action gameplay in an open 3D world.
Four difficulty modes exist, ranging from easy to expert. The difference in these difficulties lies with how much health opponents possess, how much coins you earn, and the number of EXP you gain. You may find the need to actually heighten the power of your weapons in Expert mode, but the rest will likely be sufficient with what you’ve acquired during your regular playthrough of the game.
There’s a lot to explore in Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm. When you’re not solving puzzles, fighting enemies, or opening treasure chests, you’ll be traversing the vast lands of Gaia. There’s a lot of walking; a little too much at times. You’ll frequently run out of stamina when sprinting from one area to the next and there will be a short interval before recovery. Initiating a sprint also requires a starting dodge roll, which may not appease everyone. The good news is, your teammates will follow you wherever you go. It’s a delight having them tag along and they always have something new to say when discovering a new area, adding the charm you likely won’t find in other games.
There’s no joy from sailing the seas or soaring through the skies in Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm. It feels more like a chore having to wait to get from one destination to the next. Thankfully, you won’t have to use this method of transportation often during the story’s campaign. Unlockable portals are also present which can be used as a substitute for traveling on foot. All aren’t noticeably easy to find, but you’ll have no trouble running into the first set of these linked gates during your journey.
For such a large world, a variety of different sidequests would have been a great addition to the game. Besides the story campaign and its limited criminal hunting extras, the main purpose of exploring comes down to finding treasure chests and admiring the land’s beauty. The rewards from these chests aren’t that great either and skipping the majority does not impact your playthrough in any way. You may even waste all of the currency you’ve amassed with the lack of items to purchase. At most, you can acquire items to power up your gear, but they may not even be needed unless you’re playing on the game’s highest difficulty. Vending machines do sell resources, but nothing noteworthy is available that cannot already be found from slashing bushes, breaking jars, and destroying barrels.
Combat in the game is simplistic. You’re able to fend off enemies with your trusted sword and shield. Similar to another action-adventure game, your health is based on a small number of hearts to start with; this number can permanently be expanded by collecting heart containers. There’s no bow and arrow in this game though, but you’ll have a magic gun that shoots different types of elemental attacks. If you’re ever injured, you can also turn to a healing spell, which might go unnoticed with how simple it is to recover health in this game.
Fighting the enemies feels good when starting to play. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t do a good job of maintaining this feeling. Eventually, you’ll notice there aren’t many enemies to sink your sword into. The enemies that are present in the game aren’t too different except for their appearance. Their choice of weapon is the only element that differentiates their combat style, and the fighting can get repetitive. Despite growing in strength and durability, you’ll also get better at dodging enemy attacks quickly because of this. The challenges you would have encountered early in the game would seem non-existent at this point, except during specific boss fights.
As the game allows characters to tag along, they’ll be able to fight alongside you in battle. You’ll have the power to command their actions. If you want them to fight, it’s as simple as opening a quick menu and choosing the action. This minor mechanic in Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm makes the game stand out from the rest. Fighting alongside allies, especially in real-time combat, is always better than doing it alone.
Oceanhorn 2 tries to impress with its boss battles, but the execution doesn’t live up to its presentation. The actual combat isn’t as entertaining as you may hope for. The low quality side of the game is exposed when some bosses use their attacks. Fiery breath looks like sticky molten lava and wind attacks don’t maintain the quality of the environment. Additionally, there aren’t many bosses to fight in this game. It’s a shame how one of the biggest parts of the game didn’t get the love it truly deserved.
The fights aren’t difficult, but some bosses will give you a run for your money when the time comes to figure out their weaknesses. The bosses you will encounter early in the game will have significantly lower HP than the ones you’ll face later. Struggling with low health isn’t an issue you’ll have with Oceanhorn 2; there are normally respawning pots you can break to randomly replenish your health. Sometimes it can feel like a drag having to rechallenge bosses upon defeat, especially if you haven’t figured out their weakness.
Weak spots on gigantic bosses take a turn for the worse. It’s an interesting idea, but the choice of design is far from pleasant. They’re disgusting boils you’ll have to interact with to defeat the boss, and they’re plentiful in number all over the boss’s body. Staring at them for too long can make those with a weak stomach feel nauseous. It’s almost as if you’re looking at supersized viruses gripping on tightly to the boss. Camera angles aren’t always great either; the camera focus gets messed up sometimes which makes it tough to properly see what’s going on during the fight.
From time to time you’ll have to clear an obstacle preventing your progress, which requires you to make proper use out of your equipment to do so. These can either be simple or obscure. The tougher ones will have you searching every inch for a clue that isn’t obvious to the eyes. It’ll usually take a lot of time scouting the area and sometimes you may find yourself clueless about how to proceed. The simple puzzles are much easier; the objectives are quite clear and completing them adds more satisfaction to the gameplay.
Some of the puzzles require that you utilize your teammates to clear them. There aren’t many and they’re all straightforward. It can sometimes be irritating how these characters aren’t smart enough to go in the correct area where you’d want them to be. Additionally, more complex puzzles that required the support of teammates would have been most welcome.
Without these puzzles, the game would have felt bare, but rest easy knowing the puzzles of Oceanhorn 2 add more substance to its gameplay. Sometimes it can become tedious having to farm elemental ammunition if you waste it or run out, but sometimes there’s the option of purchasing more. Not a very wise use of the game’s currency, but with the lack of items to purchase, you might as well help yourself if it’s a necessity.
Having to dodge roll each time before a sprint might be a minor inconvenience to some, especially since stamina is lower early in the game. A default jump button does not exist in this game either. You can, once again, dodge roll to initiate a jump when crossing short gaps. It does not look visually appealing, but it’s understandable why a default jump isn’t available in the game as there are obstacles that would have been too easy to cross with its inclusion. Throwing objects has a learning curve to it as well. It’s an essential mechanic to clearing some of the puzzles the game throws at you, but it’s something you’ll have to figure out how to do on your own during the game.
Graphics and Sound
The world of Oceanhorn 2 is beautiful. There’s a lot of scenery to admire throughout the game. Character models have been made of high quality and motion looks smooth. Additionally, the game runs fluidly for the majority of the gameplay. There are minor frame rate drops in specific areas, but lag isn’t a major concern in Oceanhorn 2. There are, however, some graphical glitches present in the game. Besides Trin levitating above the ground, there’s a chance you may encounter a glitch that forces you to the floor, unable to stand up. In addition, the game can get a bit too bright at times. There’s also a specific cutscene that shows the budget might not have allowed the removal of a weapon despite the situation a character is in.
Oceanhorn 2’s soundtrack is a perfect fit for the type of game it is. You’ll hear a lot of soothing tunes while you explore and fight your way to your objective. The music played during boss battles sets the right atmosphere for a good fight. While some of the bosses won’t impress, the music will at least. From the footsteps to the breaking of jars, hearing each sound is crystal clear. Voice acting is also solid with English voices that fit the characters well. Triggering these voices while the characters accompany you is one of the charming features of this game.
There’s no denying that a lot of work has been put into crafting a beautiful world in Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm. While that’s great because most things in the game are absolutely gorgeous to look at, the actual gameplay can feel a bit lacking. There isn’t much to do outside of the story campaign besides finding treasure chests, and the valuables inside aren’t that rewarding. Combat feels great when first starting out, but the lack of enemy variety eventually makes it uninspiring. The same can be said about its boss battles; some minutes in and the excitement dies down. It’s still a great action-adventure game to play, but maybe not something to consider as a priority.
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm gets a 6/10.