To say that Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas [$7.99] is like The Legend of Zelda, particularly the seafaring The Wind Waker game, is an understatement. Developer Cornfox & Bros. is unapologetic in its attempt to emulate the successful Nintendo action-adventure series. This is Zelda through and through, but it’s not as good. Pretty damn close, though.

Where Oceanhorn’s identity shines through is the story. A young boy (brown-haired, not blonde) clad with sword and shield leaves the safety of a small island in search of his father, who’s gone missing — hunting or hunted by the Oceanhorn, a living fortress and terrible mechanical beast. Dark energy has corrupted it and cursed the many islands. To restore the kingdom of Arcadia, the boy needs to collect the sacred emblems of Earth, Ocean, and Sol and defeat the creature with the power of the gods and a legendary sword and shield, all of which you can find in about 10-15 hours. I finished the game at nearly 13 hours and 73 percent completion, with a little of that time spent on side quests.


Now, all of this probably sounds unoriginal, and it is. With only minor variations, Oceanhorn shamelessly borrows from the Zelda series, copying enemy designs, the ocean sailing from The Wind Waker, dungeon layouts, and characters like a certain water princess. But the boy’s quest to find his father and learn more about his lost mother is more heartfelt than saving a helpless maiden, and the themes of magic versus technology manifest in a way much more akin to something like Final Fantasy. Oceanhorn might look, play, and feel like Zelda, but it’s got vibes from some great role-playing games.

The beautiful score from composers Nobuo Uematsu and Kenji Ito are the reason for that. They help Oceanhorn sound top-notch, and the main theme reminds me a lot of Final Fantasy X (no wonder, since Uematsu worked on it). The excellent music, occasional voice-acting, and vibrant, lush 3D graphics go a long way to make this feel like a quality release.

The performance holds. I only noticed very small and infrequent framerate issues on my iPad Mini. Otherwise, this plays like something straight from a handheld like the 3DS. You’re going to get your money’s worth, especially if you have a newer device than mine. Oceanhorn shines on the iPad Air and iPhone 5, but plays acceptably on every supported device.


And Oceanhorn is fun. Yes, you go around exploring islands, looting treasure chests, fighting enemies, and conquering dungeons just like in Zelda. It's not innovative. But this is probably as close to a true Zelda game as we’re going to get on a mobile device.

Some things are unique, and they’re the most rewarding: Unlike in Zelda, killing enemies earns you experience in the way of blue diamonds, which raise your Adventurer level and net you cool bonuses (such as inventory expansions and better stamina) every time you reach a new tier. The touch controls work incredibly well. They’re fluid and natural, and you can choose from a couple different methods, including a virtual analog stick (I liked this best). The interface is clean and easy to use even when under duress. (Note: Oceanhorn does support iOS 7 controllers).

Then there is the way you discover locations — one of my favorite parts. It’s cool to probe characters in conversation and get them to mention new islands, which you then chart on your sea map. And for most places, your arrival prompts an audio passage from your father’s notebook. You follow in his footsteps and learn about his adventure as you continue yours.


You can also pick up way more than pots (stone blocks, rocks, barrels, lanterns, travel beds, you name it), which is fun in a really silly way, and then hurl them at enemies for extra damage or break them for items. You’ll acquire a lot of the same power-ups that are in Zelda (bombs, a bow and arrows, jumping/dashing boots, etc.) as well as some magic spells.

Bosses (I won’t spoil them) are creative and enjoyable and can be challenging until you figure out their weakness. They’re not overtough. Certain enemies might irritate you more. While most foes — Octorok and ChuChu type creatures, for example — are easy enough fodder, some consistently gave me a hard time, like the goblins and undead skeletons. No matter what strategy I tried, they could always get in a hit, and using my shield only allowed them to close the distance and corner me.

The worst part, though, is that enemies respawn — incessantly — even when you remain in the same general area. At least destroying monsters earns you plenty of experience.


Sailing is rather boring and uneventful until you get a couple upgrades, but that's about all you get. Likewise, most of the puzzles either involve block-pushing or timers, so they’re not terribly exciting, although I found that they got more inventive once I learned a few magic spells.

Collecting red crystals called bloodstones by wailing on them with your sword until their reverberation grows faster and high-pitched is surprisingly satisfying, but I never received a reward for the dozens I collected. I’m not sure, but it may be necessary to locate them all and then claim a single reward rather than smaller prizes along the way, which is disappointing to me, at least.

Prepare for two truly pointless and annoying fetch quests, too. I got stuck on the second for at least an hour. It's a clumsy element from Zelda that definitely doesn't need mimicked.

My last gripe is about the controls. As impressive as they are, the developer doesn’t do enough to explain how they work — even though the islands are littered with helpful signposts. The bow and arrow is hard to aim, and it took me forever to figure out how to properly throw a pot. That’s just stupid. Do I need to swipe with two fingers? One? That seemed to work, but only when I drew directly out from my character. The answer is much simpler: just move in the direction in you want and press the virtual action button (which you use to pick up the object). Yes, that oversight is partly mine, but a little more guidance would have been appreciated.

Oceanhorn might be a flawed, blatant rip-off of Zelda, but it’s worth playing — especially for the originality it does introduce. And it might not deliver finely tuned mechanics quite the way Zelda does, but it’s still fun for all the same reasons. Clone or not, we need more high-quality, distraction-free experiences on mobile. No ads, no IAP, and even with a few blemishes Oceanhorn is a must-have for any iOS gamer.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Nektarios

    Most anticipated game of the year or possibly of all iOS gaming history, reviewed by someone I've never seen post on this site before, on an iPad Mini, pointing out a half dozen huge flaws and still giving a 5 star review. I don't understand

    • Eli Hodapp

      You have an odd definition of "huge flaw."

      • Paps Shenanigan

        The last paragraph does state the game is "flawed". Also with the words "boring" and "gripe" within the context of the article, it does seem unfitting. I respect peoples opinions and don't take them as my own. This seemed like it was an automatic 5 star game before this article was written, but with some honest criticism that should have reflected the rating differently.

      • Paps Shenanigan

        I forgot to add that I bought this game and I know I will enjoy it immensely. I strongly support the dollar being asked and the exclusion of IAP. Peace.

      • Eli Hodapp

        I'm not sure we're rating games on the same scale you are. Our scale reflects how much we recommend you download a game, and this is as five stars as it gets. Sorry. 🙁

      • Paps Shenanigan

        You don't have to apologize, I totally agree with you on that - it's a must have. I think it's just so commonplace to have a rating based on overall game design, performance, enjoyment, etc. If its just a number to express whether to download or not, than I would say its a little confusing to rate like that - which I'm sure you could agree with the number of people you get questioning ratings on here. Why not just say:

        2-Wait for Sale
        3-Buy if your into this type
        5-Just get it

        I know this isn't the main goal of your staff's writing to categorize like that, you guys do a great job being in depth in reviewing the games. I appreciate it as always, just looking for clarification when something seems puzzling.

      • loox

        I really, really like this rating scheme. Would *love* for this to be the official TA standard.

        Yet I also enjoyed Stephanie's review. Very thorough, honest and clear.
        Very well done!

      • Sven Van de Perre

        2-Wait for Sale
        3-Buy if your into this type
        5-Just get it


        Well, that would be clear.
        On the other hand. They're 2$ games. I leave more cash as a tip when getting a drink. So don't overdo it.

      • toxiccheese

        The "top reviews" section" is mislabeled.... It should read "top recommendations"

        Will we be getting an actual "review" section sometime soon?

      • shoi

        This explanation does not hold up against the overall negative impression the review gives about the game. This is just semantic you're aying with.
        So, basically, TA recommands to their readers:

        1. blatant rip off that shamlesly takes from their inspiration
        2. with boring puzzles,
        3. & bad controls,
        4. with a lack of explanation
        5. & not innovative

        That is what you recommand huh?
        I've always thought that when someone recommands something they'll be using more positive/enthusiastic argumentation...

        I guess, it would be fair for you to admit there's a mismatch between the recommandation level and the review itself instead of standing on your( rather frail) grounds.

      • NickyNichols

        The reviewer says in the first paragraph...
        "This is Zelda through and through, but it’s not as good. Pretty damn close, though."

        So if Nintendo magically went software only and released a Zelda game on iOS what would it get, 6 stars?

      • venasque

        No. Game reviews (all over) are based on the time of release. An original Xbox game might get a 5 out of 5 back when it came out, but if reviewed fresh today score lower as game design and innovation has improved since then.

        Reviewers don't retroactively go back and lower scores on older games, nor do they try to future proof their scores as it's inevitable all games will improve.

        As a side note it surprises me that people still think the highest score equals a game with zero flaws. No game is 100% perfect yet with my favourite games I'm able to get over them and still love my experience. However a reviewers job is to point out issues so others can make their own decisions. They can decide how much weight a "flaw" has and determine if it would bother them. More than anything a review is to provide the information needed so that the READER can decide if it is something they want to invest in. Personally I think scores take away from those tools as some folks can't look past them.

      • NickyNichols

        I disagree. I would still give Psychonauts, Riddick, Ninja Gaiden Black, Halo 2, and Star Wars KOTOR five stars. And that is only five of the best games from the original Xbox.

      • 21tigermike

        If Nintendo released a 'new' Zelda game? Probably, yeah. If they re-released a game from 10-15 years ago? Hmm, not so much.

      • Nektarios

        Oh, Eli. No, I really don't. Responding with an attack on my honest feedback makes me think you have an 'odd definition' of community management.

        This thread is starting to look like the infamous Touch Arcade 'LIMBO' review

      • toxiccheese

        Don't worry about it... The huge flaw is the ratings system. Any sane minded person would see a 5 star review and think 'oh this game must be really really good with maybe a small issue or two'... But what they don't realize is that the TA stars mean levels of recommendation. The stars do not reflect the games issues or merits, just whether it is recommended or not. All this time I thought it was the other way around but we have all been wrong. From now on, just read the reviews with this in mind and you'll be all set.

      • Dr. Woodenstein

        What on earth is wrong with you? It's a Zelda clone. Zelda itself isn't perfect either, but I would give it 5 stars just like I would this game. Who cares if they tested it on an iPad mini? Who cares if you've never heard of the person that reviewed it? What do these things really matter? Do you not want Stephanie to point out the flaws? Just because she pointed out a few flaws you want her to not give it 5 stars? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MANY MORE PEOPLE WOULD BE OUTRAGED IF THIS GAME WAS GIVEN 3 STARS!?!?!
        Stop paying so much attention to the stars. If a game has 3 or more stars, read the review. Based on what the review says NOT ON THE NUMBER OF STARS, what you find on forums, the price of the game, the screenshots, and the itunes descriptions, decide if you want to try it.
        That is not a very difficult concept. Now go put on your big girl panties AND GET OVER IT!

      • MIstwalker

        I think the issue people are having is that the review is pointing out serious flaws that significantly hamper gameplay, and then gives it a perfect score. And, having played the game in question, it's not a five star game. Three stars would be really generous.

        With quality reviews, perfect scores almost never happen. Even games that were astonishingly good or well-regarded for their times, like Portal, Chrono Trigger, Ocarina of Time, Half-Life 2, or Final Fantasy 7, rarely got perfect reviews from serious critics when they were released. Every one of these is a far better game than this mediocre little Zelda clone.

        The long and short of it is that this review isn't very serious, or very good, and people are absolutely allowed to point that out.

      • Jared Nelson

        Wow, good thing you decided to get that off your chest 3+ years after the fact. Anyway, 5 stars doesn't mean perfect. Never has and never will, because there are no perfect games. 5 stars means it comes with the highest recommendation we offer, which even with this game's flaws, I still completely stand by. This was and is one of the must have mobile games.

      • MIstwalker

        It is both original and good. Unfortunately, the parts that are original aren't good, and the parts that are good aren't original.

        It's a slightly poor Zelda knockoff. It's not the worst game I've played, but it certainly isn't a "must have" game. Also, I didn't say it meant the game was perfect. I said the review gave it a perfect score, which it did.

        If you give your highest recommendation to a slightly crappy game that's an absolute, shameless ripoff of an established series, you're not a worthwhile publication, period. Try harder, guys. This was a sad effort.

      • Jared Nelson

        And yet you're the one reading this website and commenting on a review that's more than 3 years old. Sounds like you're the one who needs to try harder 😂😂😂

      • MIstwalker

        Also, captain sassypants, the reason I'm posting this now is that I played this game recently. I didn't read the review three years ago and then just come back to leave comments now. As it turns out, the entire world doesn't revolve around your website. In fact, this is the very first review I've ever read on your website. As the review was poor, and you, a mod, were rude and unprofessional just because someone disagreed with said review, it's also almost certainly the last one.

        Grow up a bit, mate. The whole world doesn't have to agree with you.

      • Jared Nelson

        "The whole world doesn't have to agree with you" You should try taking your own advice.

      • MIstwalker

        I've no issues with it. You, on the other hand, are whinging on like a petulant four year old because someone doesn't spontaneously cum to your favorite game.

        Anyway, we're done here, because you've got the IQ of a wedge of lime. Happy new year.

      • Nathan Reinauer

        Good to know you only argue with wedges of lime for three paragraphs. Any more than that would be weird.


      • MIstwalker

        I've been playing it lately. The graphics, animations, music,and sound design are all really, really good. Unfortunately, the level design is pretty awful. There's no flow, lots of pointless dead ends, and the puzzles are all just boxes, switches and buttons in different orders. Zelda games used boxes and buttons at times, yes, but the puzzles were properly clever and good, and made interesting use of new items. Oceanhorn manages to steal the parts, but it can't put them together in the right order, like a toddler ineptly assembling a knockoff Ikea bookshelf.

        The combat isn't great, either. Just lots of endless whacking with your sword. And then, if you bump into a pot, bottle, or barrel, that little moron you're controlling just goes ahead and picks that up in the middle of combat, because inexplicably, it's tied to the same button, even if you're using a physical controller. There are, by the way, no controller options at all, and when you're shooting things in the boring sailing portions, your stick is permanently and irrevocably y-flipped, like the default layout in a goddamned N64 Rare title. Ah, the heady days of the mid to late 90s, when everyone was pretty sure you should pilot a person like a plane.

        Anyway, Oceanhorn, despite aping Zelda as hard as it possibly can, can't quite scratch the itch. The parts are there, but not the soul.

        Still, it's not the worst thing ever. That title is still held by Jack Black's weird, stupid face. Oceanhorn, not being nearly as bad as Jack Black's face, I award a C+ to.

    • cuw

      What's wrong with the iPad mini? The review is fine and all, I doubt I would rate such a blatant copy a 5 but still it's an opinion so what I think has no bearing on anything.

      The devs should have worked on making a new game that was an homage to Zelda/metroidvania genre and not a blatant copy of Wind Waker.

    • Boony Tuesday

      If you click on the author's name, you will see she has posted reviews on TA before. She also writes for several other gaming sites. She tested the game on an iPad Mini, iPad Air and iPhone 5, as stated in the article. And the star rating is based on recommendation and not game quality. Unless you are new to TA, what's not to understand?

    • rewyan

      The game is flawed in certain aspects. But still a great game overall.

      • Chris Brady

        Yeah, the controls are incredibly sloppy, camera has bugged out on me too, a couple of times. 4/5

    • cyberpyrot

      Save your money this game is borderline unplayable. Restart the game number one.. Bomb island I was in a cave walking across a bridge I noticed it starting to shake not wanting to die I backed up well I had to restart the game in order to get peice of a heart. the second resart was also on bomb island I came across a box I pushed it forward thinking there was somthing under it pushed it in the corner not knowing I needed it to cross a bridge well because they dont reset or you cant pull it im stuck again having to restart the entire game. either make item distructable/ spawnable or just refund my money this game has not been tested at all.

      • Boony Tuesday

        Look for blue push buttons on the ground. They restart the puzzles. If it's not a puzzle, look for another way around. Don't give up so easy.

    • Antonius Hans Ng

      no you are wrong.
      most anticipated is always final fantasy 7. keep that in mind
      but i do agree that this game is good

  • toxiccheese

    Wow, what a surprise... 5 stars? Didn't see that coming at all! LOL

    • Lazer Kat

      What's the going rate for a 5-Star rating these days?

    • annalisedyy264

      мʏ ʀօօмαтɛ'ѕ мօм мαĸɛѕ $60 ɛʋɛʀʏ нօυʀ օɴ тнɛ ʟαքтօք. ѕнɛ нαѕ вɛɛɴ օυт օғ աօʀĸ ғօʀ 7 мօɴтнѕ вυт ʟαѕт мօɴтн нɛʀ ιɴƈօмɛ աαѕ $16141 ʝυѕт աօʀĸιɴɢ օɴ тнɛ ʟαքтօք ғօʀ α ғɛա нօυʀѕ. тнɛιʀ ɛхքʟαɴαтιօɴ fox200&#46­com

      • NickyNichols

        She was worth every penny

      • NOEN

        I actually LOLed at your comment. Hahaha

  • rabidnz

    Cant wait for this to become cheaper !

    • dariusjr98

      This comment is bait guys...resist the urge.

      And about the review: the very last paragraph it says "blatant rip-off." I think that should be removed because "rip-off" has a very negative connotation, even though you really enjoy it. Also, it is quite informal to say in a professional review.

      Like I said in the forums: I really dislike how much the term rip-off is just thrown around here. Maybe "heavily inspired by" would be more appropriate. I'm not trying to tell y'all how to do your jobs, just a suggestion.

      • Pietrole

        But I don't want to read a professional review (whatever that is). I want to read a review by gamers who talk like gamers, think like gamers and know what gamers want!

        Look at the movie industry. Critics (if that collective group is remotely analogous to what constitutes a "professional reviewer") are so disenchanted (read: have giant pointy sticks rammed up their behinds) and removed from their readers that you cannot possibly trust a word they say before going to a flick.

        Let's not devolve to that!

      • eventide

        I agree to a point. Letting someone who is NOT YOU decide what you like or don't like is one of the main problems gaming and media in general.

      • themostunclean

        Most influential movie critics are paid off by studios. It's so blatant it would be funny if it wasn't so disgusting.

      • heresandypandy

        Agree with Dariusjr98, the game is clearly not a "rip-off", it's "inspired by". Strange comment to throw in at the end of a positive review, even if it probably wasn't intended to sound how it did

    • echo_pdx

      You are part of the problem

      • gaucho86

        I don't think I have ever seen a more bi-polar thread as this.

      • mclifford82

        It's fairly commonplace for games to go on sale very soon after release. That is entirely the developer's prerogative. Blame them.

    • zombierevolver

      Or jailbreak and get it free

      • Mad.Whack

        Someone steal this kid's tricycle.

  • laxking97

    Gonna buy in a few weeks. Not because I'm waiting for a sale or anything (I'll gladly pay a premium price if the game deserves it), but because on the 22nd I'm buying the Limited Edition Zelda 3DS XL. I want to pace myself through these games so I'll get this whenever I'm done with A Link Between Worlds.

    • mcorleonep

      Same here. This game came out at a bad time as the new Zelda comes out in a week. By the time I'm done with it, thus game will likely be on sale and any bugs will probably been fixed.

  • Smaug

    Love how everyone is calling it a rip off. Didn't know Nintendo had a copyright on adventure games(BTW this has more influence from phantom hourglass then wind waker.)

    • toxiccheese

      Well to be fair, even the reviewer said it was a blatant Zelda rip-off. Some of the gameplay ideas are identical. I for one am glad that there is something similar, but even I can see that it borrows a lot from Zelda. Liking the game so far.

    • 21tigermike

      Actually technically Nintendo do have real Copyrights which are being trampled on with this game. But legally I don't think it's worth it for them to pursue legal action . ;-P Best of luck to Nintendo with their 'non-Mobile' strategy. The longer they ignore mobile OSes, the more and more of their 'classics' will be 'ported' to iOS and Android, one way or another.

      • bigballer

        What copyrights are being trampled? Come up with one example that hasn't been used in some other non-Zelda adventure game.

  • toxiccheese

    Let's see...

    Incessantly respawning enemies
    Non-intuitive controls
    Sailing is boring and uneventful
    A blatant Zelda rip-off
    Annoying fetch quests

    5 stars!

    I know that a 5 star rating does not mean perfect by any means, but seriously???
    At least be honest with the rating. People are going to play this regardless. I know I am.

    • Eli Hodapp

      Our ratings are based on how much we recommend you check out a game, and you'd be an idiot to skip Oceanhorn.

      • toxiccheese

        Oh ok. I thought your star ratings reflected the merits of the game, not how much you recommended it. This explains a lot. I will definitely keep this in mind in the future. I already started playing this and so far I agree with some of the review. But I don't know what I would personally rate it just yet.

      • Gamer1st

        That explains a lot.
        I've picked up several 5 star games only to wonder "what are they thinking?"

      • mclifford82

        You should note this next to your reviews to avoid these discussions and let them instead focus on the game. The only reason I can see you not doing this is that you actually want people to click through to comment about it.

        It's fairly obvious that very few people understand why you rate games the way you do.

      • Lazer Kat

        This is a problem.
        Have a section for games you recommend, and then a rating.
        You guys can't just change what ratings mean.
        A rating is how good the game is, despite how you define it personally.

      • Eli Hodapp

        This game is very good.

      • handycapman

        But is it perfect? (Like your score indicates)

      • dancj

        No game is perfect.

        (Except Chaos by Julian Gollop)

      • themostunclean

        5 stars doesn't mean perfect. Nothing's perfect, it's a recommendation on whether the game is worth a purchase.

      • Matt F

        I now I understand the TA ratings, and it all makes sense now. Thanks!! 🙂

    • HelperMonkey

      The original Star Wars movie had plenty of flaws and derivative elements. Still a five-star film? I think so.
      Sometimes the positives far outweigh any negatives.

  • Echoen

    Come on, add iCloud! 😛

    • Liv Games

      Yes please, just got my ipad mini retina and need this on there!

  • fdmstryct

    It's ON!

  • gaucho86

    It does seem weird that this would be reviewed and rated fast. Then with some flaws would still get a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. It just seems like touch arcade was a little fan boy for this game sense the first posting. The excuse that was given to Eli that he shouldn't have been talking while playing was sketch...

    I guess what I am trying to say is something seems wrong. It looks like a grand game, but it makes me wonder if someone's pocket got lined for the huge hype and outstanding 5 stars. While this accusation is in jest, it does make me wonder.

    Either way, the review seems honest and doesn't hold punches. I am glad I read it instead of just looking at the 5 stars and jumping in.

    • toxiccheese

      I'm pretty sure they get early review code and play it thoroughly before they decide on the rating. Eli says it's not a 5 star game based on the gameplay or mechanics... It's a 5 star "recommendation".

      • gaucho86

        I understand that, but why green light this game over the many games from last week that looked promising? To ME something just seems off. Touch arcade is a power house in the iOS gaming world and could make or break a game with its opinion.

        As for the stars, I am glad that touch arcade is upfront and honest with their meaning instead of trying to imply the game is perfect. Nothing else really to say.

      • cuw

        The review came out when the media blackout ended. All of the big name companies ship out review versions so that on launch day there will be hype. Games with more PR or whatever that can afford to have someone arrange to have a game reviewed are going to get reviewed before some obscure game that TA has to find in the new release section.

        I would be willing to bet that this review took at least a week to write and any game that is noteworthy but not THIS noteworthy will still take a few days of a writers time to review.

        Buying and bribing reviewers isn't something done in the iOS market because the companies that did that a few years back have almost no leverage since the Kane and Lynch "scandal" at gamespot.

        It's really shitty to call a review paid for because it expresses that the reviewers are just shills who will write whatever the money tells them to; and this is certainly not the case. It's fine to disagree with an opinion and to even think its shitty, to throw around claims of bought reviews is just obnoxious to every single person who spends time writing for the site.

      • gaucho86

        Calm down friend. Your life does not revolve around what some stranger posts on touch arcade. I never made any accusations of foul play, but merely brought up my general distrust for media in general. I even applauded them for a seemly unbiased review and upon information brought to light by another concerned gamer, commended touch arcades reviewing transparency. Save the soapbox for a real fire. No hard feelings for opinions shared.

      • mclifford82

        So what happens when someone actually is being paid off and is a shill? According to your logic we shouldn't ever mention that out of what? Politeness?

      • 21tigermike

        FYI, it takes about 1 hour of work at minimum wage to make enough money to pay for this game. This game is being compared to Zelda (and in many ways its a direct ripoff/homage). Why are you wasting time in this comment section when you could be playing this game. It's an absolute no-brainer: hence the 5 stars.

      • Lazer Kat

        No. It's a 5-Star review.
        It's under the review section of the sight, not the recommendation section.

      • bilboad

        I didn't interpret what Eli said as meaning gameplay and mechanics don't affect the rating. He is saying that the rating is primarily about how pleasurable an experience playing the game is, and therefore how strongly the reviewer can recommend the game. To the extent that gameplay, mechanics, graphics, sound and other attributes of the game affect how fun a game is, they affect the score. His point I think is that there is no single objective attribute of a game which automatically lowers the score; it's up to the reviewer to decide if a flaw affects how fun the game is enough to lower the score.

        That said, I did find it a little odd that this game got 5 stars given how much negativity was in the review. It did seem to me though that most of the negatives were very minor compared to the positives. The main criticism really seemed to be the game's similarity to Zelda. Being relatively new to gaming myself, I actually have never played a Zelda game, so that's a non-issue for me.

      • toxiccheese

        According to the reviewer the game has several flaws. 5 stars does not reflect the written review accurately at all. Even 4.5 stars would have been a fantastic rating.

      • bilboad

        I agree there seems to be a disconnect between the content of this review and the score. There still could be two ways that it's incorrect though. It could be the case, as you seem to have assumed, that the review text accurately reflects the reviewer's opinion of how flawed the game was, and the score is too high. Or, it could be that the score more accurately reflects the reviewer's overall opinion, and they just spent too much of their review mentioning flaws that don't really matter much to the reviewer. Maybe in the reviewer's mind those flaws were all very minor compared to how awesome they thought the game was, but they just felt obliged to include some negatives in the review to be balanced, and ended up overdoing it.

  • falco

    I bought and loving it so far 🙂

    • 21tigermike

      Me too. I'm relieved it actually works on my ... eek...2 year old device~~><

  • Echoen

    I strongly recommend just listening to the music at the title screen when you first load it. It's fricking GOOD and prepares you for an epic adventure 😀
    Dat Uematsu!

  • Gurney Halleck

    Bought this outright just to support the ambition of creating a solid adventure game with ACTUAL premium content (10-15 hrs is no joke) and zero IAP. Here's hoping that my gameplay experience matches the $9 price of entry. Initial impressions on the first island are promising. Glad to make the early jump on this one 🙂

  • Zeillusion

    I'm in love.. This game is absolutely amazing. One of the best games I have EVER played, and I've been an ios gamer since the start. This game deserves a 5! It's beautiful, and has an amazing story. Now this... This is a quality game. This isn't your average dabble match 3, fight a few enemies complete & repeat kinda game. This is a full blown game, and it's stunning. I would buy this 100 times over, one word to sum this up. EPIC

    • 21tigermike

      You know what I want? I want to play it on the Mac, etc. What the hell.. put this game on as many App stores as possible.. Everyone should enjoy it.

  • Gamer1st

    "Oceanhorn does support iOS 7 controllers"

    If only they existed....

    • falco

      Personnaly I do not need ios controller in this game!

    • tylerandjennifer1

      Yeah i hear ya. Id like to buy one if they would let me.

  • wigzisonfire

    Thanks for this awesome review guys. I really appreciated that you actually pointed out the annoying parts of the game at the end, as this prepared me for those things so I don't need to complain about what I know is coming!
    The is an absolute 5 star game, and is literally everything a zelda fan could want! We have been beggin for a premium zelda game!

  • EZ Ice

    Wow, that didn't sound like a 5 star was filled with compliment sandwiches...'nice words, horrible words, followed by more nice words'.

    I still want it and will play it.....

  • ItouchBrett

    I don't like this reviewer at all. Too many negative comments and still a 5 star. This makes me laugh. Stop reviewing ease.

    • Ray135

      Wow, you're an idiot. "I don't agree with the score you gave, so stop reviewing", is basically what you said. The reviewer obviously thought the positives outweighed the negatives.

  • Lohengriehn

    a 5 star-review just right after the game has been released? dont take me wrong, but i dont think anyone is able to rate a game with 5 in such short time....

    • cuw

      I want to live in the magic world where you think a review that states the writer played the game for 13 hours was able to play and then write a review in seconds. That kinda time distortion sounds really neat, I wish I could make my job only last a few seconds but in reality it was 8hrs.

      Maybe, and this is a leap so bear with me, the writer got the game early. I bet the illuminati gave her an early copy from their time machine though.

      • backtothis


    • MrAlbum

      I believe the writer got a review copy from the devs maybe a week or so ago. I'm hazy on the details, but stuff like that is standard practice in the reviewing industry.

    • themostunclean

      Wow. You have no idea how the game industry works, do you?

      GTA 5 reviews were up the second it was released. So either all game reviewers must be Time Lords or they get early copies- use Occam's razor on that conundrum.

  • Inaba-kun

    No iCloud saves? I really wish more games would add this.

    • Wizard of Odyssey

      Aww heck, that was what I wanted to know. I love it when I can move between tablet at home and phone on the go.

  • Hawaii Jeff

    Oh wow I didn't know Nobuo created some of the music! That's HUGE for me!

    Very very interested!

  • Scarbir


  • ap3604

    My question is this: What happens to this game when the next iPhone comes out with a larger screen size?

    Will this game be updated in the future to the larger screen size?

    Or will it simply be abandoned as a 4inch game like so many other 3.5inch games have been?

    • Wizard of Odyssey

      You say "when the next iPhone comes out with a larger screen size" as if it were confirmed fact and not just a stupid rumor.

      Who cares? If you want to play it now, buy it now on the devices that exist today. I plan on having my 5S for two more years at least.

      The old pre-Retina games work fine with letter boxing on the new devices. No big deal.

  • zombierevolver

    I saved my lunch money and bought this game 🙂

  • Gahe

    Many people who find pleasure in it.

  • klouud

    Instant purchase. Can't wait to play later today. The cool thing about iOS/Android is that DLC and updates run rampant. So it is very possible for things to be update, tweaked, or added -- which is awesome! Hopefully we will see sequels to this game - and maybe even massive expansions such as in Galaxy of Fire. Also - no IAP!!!! HOORAY!!

  • Susan Jenson

    I find it truly embarrassing that toucharcade gives a game -- which is so obviously a rip-off of both the visual style and gameplay (in almost every detail) of Wind Waker -- a 5/5 star review score.

    I'm not saying that it will be a bad game in itself, but I think this level of "borrowing" from the work of others just diminishes the game business overall. It's like someone taking Shadow of the Colossus, releasing a clone of it for tablets, changing up the graphics slightly, and giving it a new name -- and having Touch Arcade say that it's not only okay to do that, but that it's 5/5 perfect!

    Really, as a regular reader of the sight, I'd hoped for a more objective review.

  • audiotaku

    Yup yup the game is amazing. All I wanted it to be so far. But what a well written review. Passion and angst in one. Nice.

  • Lazer Kat

    Hopefully they're successful and they decide to bring us Mario or DK to iOS next.

  • CooleTeeps

    I would definitely get this if it were $4.99 instead of $8.99!

    • Wizard of Odyssey

      I will give you four dollars if you promise never again to whine about tiny price differences on iPhone games.

      You are part of the problem and why we cannot have nice things on the App Store. Good game developers deserve to be paid for their work and four dollars is not a lot of money, even for a kid.

      • dancj

        We do have nice things on the App Store.

      • Wizard of Odyssey

        It's true, we do have nice things on the App Store, but it's in spite of the cheapskates who think everything should be free.

      • dancj

        $5 is not free and the fact is that there are still excellent games coming out for under $5 and even going free.

        Some of us don't feel the need for games to get more expensive - though best of luck to any dev who does choose to publish a game at a premium price.

      • bilboad

        I don't think any game buyer directly feels a need for games to get more expensive. What they do feel a need for is more excellent games that are full console/pc-quality with no intentional imbalances to hound users into making additional purchases. If we're also mature, then we understand that for that to continue to happen, game developers need to be able to charge enough for games to pay for the development plus make a profit. The more expensive a game is to develop, the more they need to charge up front if they're not going to make additional profit on IAPs. This is especially true for games with a somewhat niche appeal, which can't expect to sell millions of copies like Angry Birds or Bejeweled.

      • dancj

        Actually a lot of people round here seem to get very excited at the prospect of games getting more expensive - and quite hostile towards anyone who expresses a wish for a game to be cheaper.

        Personally I'm happy to sit back and let the market work out for itself what kind of price games will settle at.

      • bilboad

        The thing is, the market decides more than just price, it also decides which products end up getting produced. If the iOS gamer market consists mostly of people for whom $5 is the high end of what they think a game is worth, regardless of its quality or size, then we won't get many games like XCOM, KOTOR or Oceanhorn. Instead games will be limited to either small cheap to produce games, games with extremely wide appeal like Angry Birds which sell so many copies that they can afford to charge $1, or potentially great games like Real Racing 3 or Dungeon Hunter 4 which are ruined for a lot of people by the pay model.

        So, people who want more XCOMs and Oceanhorns and fewer RR3s do get excited when they see a premium priced game seem to do well, and they do get a bit hostile when people post comments implying that anything over $5 is too expensive. Not because they like paying more money, but because they like good games and are mature enough to understand that you can't keep getting good games without developers getting paid.

      • dancj

        I don't mind people getting excited by the higher prices - but it doesn't excuse the hostility.

        Plenty of people are more than happy with all of the cheaper mostly (but not always) smaller games that we currently have in the App Store.

  • Headchem

    Getting 5 stars for being almost as good as a "real game" (Zelda) makes me sad about the state of iOS gaming... On the other hand, Wind Waker is probably just a 6 star game!

  • Chris Brady

    Hmm. May have to get another pay card. Just bought Lone Wolf, but this looks awful fun too. I hate being poor.

  • JosephmWood

    It's really annoying how people spend so much time analyzing the review and making sure it matches their standards of a review. There is virtually no discussion about the game. People are only concerned that Eli said the word "flawed" in the review and that he played, beat, and reviewed it in a short time.

    I love the review and the game plays and looks excellent.

  • IAmTheNightRider

    "But this is probably as close to a true Zelda game as we’re going to get on a mobile device"

    Umm... besides Zelda on Gameboy, Zelda on Gameboy Color, Zelda on Gameboy Advance, Zelda on DS and Zelda on 3DS you mean?

    You know.. those Zelda games for Nintendo's mobile devices?

    • JosephmWood

      He was clearly talking about the platform that he was reviewing (iOS) but way to go on not picking that up!

      • IAmTheNightRider

        Kinda like you didn't pick up the fact I was being sarcastic about the author's poor choice of words?

        By the way, the reviewer is a "she" not a "he", but way to go on not picking that up!

  • Lazer Kat

    Made it to the top 10 of the US game charts before it has even been featured by apple (which it will definitely be).
    That's a good sign.

    Where do I sign the petition to make Mario your next blatant ripoff clone?
    I, for one, completely back this idea.

    If Nintendo won't do it, then screw em.

  • Kane

    This reviewer sold me the game.. good job, NOT!

  • Jesse7277

    One of the production team members told me the game was gorgeous on iPad mini. I purchased it this morning on that post alone. So many games run crappy on the mini any more. Not ocean horn. It is freaking gorgeous and has all the heart of a AAA game for $9 freaking dollars!

  • Sven Van de Perre

    I can tell you one thing it does better than Zelda. It doesn't interrupt you adventuring with that irritating Navy character.

    • PresidentZer0

      Because we all know navy was in every single Zelda game, right? <_<

      • Sven Van de Perre

        To be honest, I played bought both Twilight Princes and Skyward Sword. And couldn't get into those. They took too long to get going, and other games took over. And I always experienced Navi as overkill on the player guidance front. Sometimes, it's cooler to have to figure out stuff (yes, I am that old).

      • Taclys

        It's uh, Navi. And no, not in every game.

  • Taclys

    I've started the game, and as an avid Zelda fan, I'm adoring it. But could everyone else be a little nicer to the Touch Arcade reviewers and staff? They work hard, play a long game, write a detailed review, and everyone whines and moans about the semantics.

    • blackbear219

      Yea. this thread is a cesspool.

      • Alex

        Right, we certainly need more people like you in threads.

    • Alex

      Yes, everyone be nicer to the PAID reviewers who are just doing their job.

      Negative comments are part of what makes this all work. Not everyone shares the same opinion and that is okay.

      Some TA reviewers write long, analytical, detailed reviews and those are greatly appreciated. This review however had several faults and I'm glad they are being pointed out. No review will ever be perfect and they will always be subjective, but obvious issues should be addressed.

  • jclardy

    I can't wait to get an iOS compatible controller. Or if Apple would just make the iPad work with PS4 controllers that would be great. But I am downloading this now.

  • eventide

    I'm not sure this lady is a veteran gamer with understanding of game controls. The throwing is about as straight forward as it gets and is almost identical to throwing items in Zelda. It even makes throwing easier by having you hold down the action button and aim with your other hand. You can stand still and throw all day like that with easy precision.

    • Alex

      She even states it's her own oversight. Well if that were true, why add the part in before about how you couldn't figure it out? Zelda games didn't come with instructions in game on how to throw pots and shoot arrows, yet people managed.

      The amazing part is, she played a previous Zelda game who's throwing and shooting mechanics work in an identical fashion. It's crazy to be confused about it when she calls it a blatant rip off!

  • Pray For Death

    Did the guys who got the game for cheap when it accidentally went for a sale a while ago keep their copy?

    • Alex

      Good question, but I believe when the game was submitted, it had a new app ID so it wouldn't just update to the latest version. Unless they wanted to honor previous purchases that were made when they accidentally published it.

  • Scape3d

    How does the game run on the iPhone 4S? I'm wondering about frame rate, specifically.

    • Jesse7277

      It runs great on iPad mini which is pretty outdated tech so you should be fine.

      • Scape3d

        Yes but doesn't the iPad Mini have newer/better internals that the iPhone 4S? I'm just wondering if anyone here is playing it on the iPhone 4S.

    • Bill6118

      I'm about 20% through the game on my 4S and it runs perfectly. I've been noticing the age of my phone with several games recently but Oceanhorn runs like a dream!

      • Scape3d

        @Bill6118 Thanks for the reply. Really good news to hear it plays well on the 4S. I think I'll have to pull the trigger and grab this game. Thanks again!

  • Eseres

    Oh my holy gamepad!! This week has been like a orgasmic experience! I wish EVERY week could be like this! So many fantastic games to get, and no freakin' clue where to start LOL. "Oceanhorn" is just amazing in every way! The new gamebook, "LoneWolf -...", this must be the best gamebook ever created for IOS.
    And these two games are the only ones i've had the time to try so far.

    A huge thanks to the developers of both these games. They were much needed 🙂
    I don't even know why i went and bought myself a new PS3 consol yesterday 😛 Oh, wait! It was because of the Blu-Ray and DVD player 😀

  • Ry L

    Bloodstones are redeemed by some "Zora" person in a cave on the "Kakariko village" island. Sorry I've only played a couple of hours and don't have the names memorized.

  • Ph0lly

    The princesses name is Zelda so how could Zelda be better without the princess, the title would no longer make sense.

  • dariusjr98

    This comment thread is so cynical it's disgusting.

    If you all have a problem with something about the review or the comments, cry about it for a minute and just move on. It ridiculous.

    • Lazer Kat

      Welcome to the Internet. Enjoy your time here.

      • dariusjr98

        Whatever dude.

    • Alex

      You're right. I just threw up in my mouth when I read your comment. I mean, who does that? Not you apparently.

      • dariusjr98


  • Boobi

    Game is AMAZING ! Must play!

  • futuresgreen

    Ive been reading Toucharcade for some years and listen every week to the podcast and with the exception of the game of the week, I never realised the star rating was solely based on how much you should check out a game and not really about the game itself. That to me is very weird. You might as well not have the star rating and just have the review and make your own mind up. Its concerning that on Appshopper that a Toucharcade star review based on how much you should check out a game is sitting next to the app store star rating from users based on an actual game itself. The two angles are very different.

    • Yean

      Totally agree. A score/stars is a way of indicating how good a game is. It is confusing that the stars represent whether you should get a game or not instead of an actual 'score', hence they might as well be replaced with words describing a purchase suggestion (e.g. ignore, get it, no-brainer, etc).

    • Jesse7277

      It's was confusing but now that Eli explained it, it's no longer confusing?

      • Alex

        And what about all the users who don't read comment threads. This information is nowhere to be found.

    • Alex

      I've addressed this a million times with them over the past two years and it isn't until recently that they started to state it's based on whether you should buy it or not, not some sort of analytical reasoning. They NEED to post a disclaimer at the bottom of the homepage or next to the star rating with an information popup. Everyone who hasn't read the comments doesn't know about this.

  • Zen1star

    Played about an hour today but ended up having to delete the saved game and start again after managing to swim around the coast of the second island to a small beach, not a lot to do there and no way to get back. Seems strange that you have just enough energy to swim the but your energy runs out just as your about to hit the coast when you swim back 🙁

    • Future777

      You can get back, too - tried it. You just need to find the optimal route like you did the other way round.

  • shoi

    - This is Zelda through and through, but it’s not as good
    - With only minor variations, Oceanhorn shamelessly borrows from the Zelda series, copying enemy designs, the ocean sailing from The Wind Waker, dungeon layouts, and characters like a certain water princess
    - It's not innovative
    - The worst part, though, is that enemies respawn — incessantly — even when you remain in the same general area. At least destroying monsters earns you plenty of experience.
    - Sailing is rather boring and uneventful
    - most of the puzzles either involve block-pushing or timers, so they’re not terribly exciting
    - My last gripe is about the controls
    - The bow and arrow is hard to aim
    - That’s just stupid
    - Oceanhorn might be a flawed, blatant rip-off of Zelda, but it’s worth playing
    - it might not deliver finely tuned mechanics quite the way Zelda does, but it’s still fun for all the same reasons

    the word fun being used 2 times.
    I think I am gonna tweet these bits with the mention "rated 5/5 by TouchArcade #nonsense"

    I wanted to buy this game but I will wait for more inputs from gamers.

    Also the constant comparison to Zelda and the fact it's not as good is VERY stupid. we're not talking same budget & same price... write once but STOP.

    • shoi

      Oh she says she had a hard time understanding how to throw the pots and stuff but well, there's a panel where it is explained (yes, I bought the game in order to see by myself haha)

  • Metal Jesus Rocks

    This is a fun game, but I can't figure out what the heck to do on the 2nd island. Perhaps the game could be a bit more obvious with the Quests

    • Future777

      You mean Tikarel ? When you talk to the people there, you'll receive new island locations. It would be a good idea to hop into the boat and go there.

  • bigjack66

    Good but could be better. Spent a lot of time wandering around aimlessly not knowing what to do! Also Npc's could be more helpful! Go to travellers guild and get no useful information whatsoever!

  • Shellcore

    We shouldn't encourage games like this. Shameful.

    • iPhallex

      We shouldn't encourage posts like this. Shameful.

      • Shellcore

        Your right. We should encourage plagiarism and intellectual theft. Thanks for helping me see the light there.

      • Alex

        This game was clearly inspired by, not stolen. Guess every FPS should be discouraged as well, or every racing game, or every puzzle game, or every adventure game. You're an idiot. And to be clear, Nintendo would have plagiarized and stolen intellectual material from previous games. Get off your soap box moron.

    • Jesse7277

      That's a ridiculous statement. By your logic no one should ever make a platformer cause MARIO.....derp

  • Zeldaniac

    They said this would be compatible with iTouch 4. Aaaaaaand they lied. Hoping for a compatibility update...someday.

    • Future777

      Did you reboot it first ? Also, please close all tasks. We successfully played through the entire adventure on an itouch 4

      • Zeldaniac

        Haven't bought the game yet since the description said it was incompatible, so no. Did it run ok for you? Any lag, control lag, lack of retina, etc?

      • Future777

        Please note that we're from the publishing party, so you may want to hear it from someone else to make sure. It runs on iPod 4, but the experience isn't as good because of the low RAM. You'll face reduced graphics and less audio. You should also make sure all background tasks are closed. It will need as much RAM as possible to avoid crashes.

      • Alex

        It lags. 15-25fps.

  • detourne

    Unless Gameloft does it 😉

  • eventide

    Wish it had a better map in dungeons. For it to mimic Zelda so much it has a pretty terrible map system.

  • renatpl

    Great game, a must play

  • mgs2ss

    The way the realistic (probably from stock photos or something) sky boxes clash with the art style of the rest of the game is horrendous.

  • Glumoo

    I love this game but it's glitchy as hell.

  • bigballer

    I don't understand the visual comparison to wind waker when it doesn't even have cell shaded graphics.

  • EZ Ice

    Anyone else feeling a lack of fun with this game? Looks great! But there's just something lacking that makes me not want to continue playing....

    I'll give it another chance...

    • EZ Ice

      When/where do you get bombs?

      • Alex

        Bomb Island.

  • Alex

    Ratings are based on how much they recommend buying a game. It's not rated on an analytical scale of any sort.

    The developers of this game have stated that it was heavily inspired by Zelda games, and it's not a blatant rip of Wind Waker. Having played Wind Waker, I can say there are similar elements, but they are very different beasts. You should be able to make that distinction as well if you are as intelligent as you insinuate you are.

    Borrowing as you call it, is exactly why we have so many games. They fall into genre's. FPS, Adventure, Puzzle, so on. There is at times originality, but elements are always copied. I for one would LOVE a Shadow of the Colossus clone. I welcome clones. I enjoy playing clones. Bring on more clones. They inspire originality as does anything anyone makes. Borrowing no more diminishes the industry, then car manufacturers diminish the industry copying vehicle features like anti-lock brakes (an apples to oranges analogy to be sure, but the core reasoning still remains intact).

    Don't be so narrow minded.
    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    Lastly, it's site not sight, and the review was written by someone who waited two years to play this game and also had his hands on an early beta. I have waited as long and it was worth the wait. It's easily one of my favorite games on this device and I make a living playing games in their entirety on iOS. I've played hundreds and own thousands. If you visit my Previous Purchases Library, it is immense. Though this one is not without it's faults, they will be fixed in an upcoming update and this game has provided me with close to 20 hours of enjoyment.

  • Ozzy111

    I have completed the game with all heart pieces and all bloodstones and I am really sad that I have completed it and I played it on I pad air.

  • hhrocha000

    Best game ever for ios, i have 20 houres of gameplay, finished the story but nos 100% in all inslands. Good graphics, awesome gameplay, love the story. 5

  • yhtomitn64

    Awesome game. I really hope they add more content! Super fun and very well polished.

  • ksuther

    This game is fantastic!

  • ploink

    I don't like the vitual joystick. What's the best way to actually play this?

  • mzinn

    Very good game. Nice controls & missions are fun. Zelda like. It thats a good thing

  • mzinn

    This game makes my all time favorite game list. Absolutely amazing.

  • Gamer_Kev

    This has been out some time now but I'm still on the fence about it. I love Zelda: The Windwaker and even brought it again when they released the HD touch up version for the Wii U. Though I think this frame looks fun I'm not sure I want to get a game that copies The Windwaker to a T because I have the Windwaker and can play that anytime I want. I think it would have been a lot more appealing if they had took inspiration from the Windwaker without copying the game's formula so closely.

Oceanhorn ™ Reviewed by Stephanie Carmichael on . Rating: 5