Worlds not quite apart.
You don't need a comprehensive knowledge of videogames to take one look at Oceanhorn in motion and see the immediate similarities between it and Nintendo's flagship Zelda series. The combat, the heart system, the character, the smashable pots, the chests - all wear their inspirations without any sense of embarrassment. And yet, given Nintendo's steadfast refusal to entertain the idea of mobile outings for any of its cherished characters, perhaps we're being too harsh. Should we simply embrace this stylistically familiar RPG for what it is?
Almost without reservation, the answer is a resounding yes. Oceanhorn is nothing short of a technical triumph for mobile gaming, with some of the sweetest eye candy we've ever seen - the water effects in particular have to be seen to be believed. The puzzle elements of the game may not be the strongest the genre's ever known, but the exploration aspects of the game - both overworld and underworld - are strong, and you'll never feel dragged along by the hand. If the story's a little uninspiring, rest assured that the soundtrack is far from it - just as you'd expect, given the pedigree of the composers Kenji Ito and Nobuo Uematsu.
Remember the bad old days of mobile gaming, when virtual joysticks caused thumb-sprains up and down the land? Oceanhorn sadly takes us back to that glum time. It's a pity really, not to mention a bit of a surprise when you consider how much extraordinary love and attention has been lavished on just about every other aspect of the game.
Control niggles aside, have no doubt that this pocket RPG represents an impressive landmark for mobile gaming. In achieving so many triumphs, it also can't help but highlight just how far touchscreen gaming still has to go - an inevitable cross that games like Oceanhorn simply have to bear. There's a relatively hefty $8.99 price tag involved here too, but it's fair to say you're getting what you've paid for.
Download Oceanhorn - iPhone & iPad