Ocean’s Heart Review
It all begins when Tilia departs from her homeland to find her father and her best friend, both kidnapped by Blackbeard’s Hourglass Pirates. From that point, a massive conspiracy starts to unfold, and an adventure full of magic and challenges awaits us in Ocean’s Heart, the latest project from the solo developer Max Mraz, and published by the folks at Nordcurrent.
Being an RPG heavily inspired by the classic The Legend of Zelda series, Ocean’s Heart shares many common traits with its muse. A health system measured by the amount of hearts, very polished and precise sword combat, access to several different weapons and spells, everything is there.
It is through various tweaks to this classic formula, where the gameplay shines. Upgradable Sword Attack and Armor levels, and the crafting of potions and other utilities using farmable materials (such as monster guts or berries) are very helpful and well-received additions to the overall quality of life.
This comes accompanied by an array of monsters that come in a wide array of sizes and utilize diverse combat techniques, requiring the same diversity at the moment of approaching them. The difficulty of the many boss fights and the AI of the enemies makes every encounter a delicate challenge and turns every choice in battle into a carefully planned endeavour, while also presenting fun and dynamic combat mechanics.
Waker of the Wind
The aesthetics of this game stand out as a delightful middle ground between Zelda, The Witcher, and Bloodborne. This creates a unique environment with all sorts of details, some of which show up not only in the Norse mythology-themed monsters we need to defeat but also in the ecosystems and architecture across the entire map as we explore it. From eerie forests filled with mandragoras to misty islands plagued with ghosts, every different region is accompanied by different monsters, buildings, and vegetation that helps to create a distinctive picture.
The number of quests and hidden places to unveil shows up the amount of dedication and attention to detail instilled in the project.
It’s also worth noting how well done the writing is, depicting characters full of personality, sidequests that can be moving, amusing, or straight-up hilarious, and situations where the game isn’t afraid of laughing of its own seriousness. Every interaction and dialogue feels cheerful and lighthearted without undermining the serious and adult atmosphere that set up the general tone of the game, which is no minor feat.
What begins as a revenge plot/rescue from Tilia trying to rescue her father and her friend, evolves into a conspiracy plot involving a legendary treasure, a mythical weapon, and the infamous Blackbeard’s Hourglass Pirates meddling along our path, while we traverse the wilderness and uncover its many secrets.
The number of quests and hidden places to unveil shows up the amount of dedication and attention to detail instilled in the project, with every sidequest expanding and adding information to the lore of the game without feeling tedious at all no matter how long you take to traverse these vast lands. Whether you rescue your loved ones, talk to consumed gods or just kill Leshys, whatever path you travel will have hours of fun ahead, while you try to find the Ocean’s Heart.