Even the Ocean to release on the Nintendo Switch behind the powerhouse minds of a little title called Anodyne. Hoping to take your attention with some slick visuals, platforming, and an abundance of story. Is this another sleeper hit or just a drop in the Ocean? Read on to find out.
Even the Ocean puts you in the boots of Aliph as she starts her first-day performing maintenance on the power station that feeds your home of Whiteforge City power. Story events happen and Aliph is given the task of working directly for the mayor, traveling to the different power stations of the world to fix them as they all seem to be failing.
While the main narrative initially feels a little cut and dry the game opens up rather quickly after the initial first act. You’ll meet all kinds of characters throughout the trails of Aliph and while rather well written, for the most part, a lot of them serve for more “Monster of the week” stories rather than connecting firmly with the greater narrative of the title.
Now I’m not usually a massive fan of Visual Novel style titles, I draw the line at games like The Silver Case and they really have to be within my range of interest for me to even try them. Even The Ocean not only presented me with a well written and engaging story but also, should I have wanted to, the game offers you the chance to just skip the story altogether.
In a rather brilliant move, when you load up Even The Ocean gives you the choice of playing “Full Game” which features both the narrative and platforming of the game. The “Story only” which is just the narrative sections or just have the platforming sections which means you can tailor your gaming experience to your tastes, though I would recommend doing the “Full Game” so you can experience the story and see if it’s for you rather than writing it off completely from the start.
Even The Ocean features some fantastic visuals, especially within the scenery. Trust me when I say I fell in love with the game from screenshots alone when this one was announced. The character models are a little less detailed and the portrait art/visual novel sections can be a little hit or miss but mostly winners here. Sadly not all stages are created equal and the power plants tend to be kind of bland and as such melt into one rather than the more visually striking areas outside of them.
The soundtrack for Even The Ocean could sell the game alone, the ambiance set by the background music draws you in and you could easily just sit back, put your earphones in, close your eyes, and just lose yourself within this soundtrack. While there is no voice acting for the novel sections it’s hard to say anything bad about the audio side of this game when you are presented with a frankly beautiful collection of songs.
So we have touched on the visual novel section of the game but there are also platforming sections too. These are done more like puzzle platformers rather than games like Mario Bros and the like. You have to balance light and dark energies to help power the power stations of the world, you do this by absorbing them, too much exposure to each results in your death. You are also carrying a trusty shield that allows you extra movement in platforming, use it as a parachute, or even just to block other energies.
When you raise your meter over halfway of either Light or Dark it affects your controls, one side makes you move left or right faster, the other affords quicker and higher jumping movement. This is the core of the puzzles, there are more like switches that require perfect timing to press and bars you need to carry along the level.
I enjoyed the platforming on Even the Ocean a lot, it helps some of the music is absolutely top tier here, and the controls when you get used to them really afford a lot of freedom of movement. I can imagine some it not gelling with being that It’s quite a peaceful experience rather than more full-on than some platformers but it suited the narrative experience quite well I thought.
Even The Ocean is such a peaceful, thought-provoking, and yet again another unique experience from the minds that made Anodyne, All Ours Asias, and Anodyne 2 (which I am itching for a Nintendo Switch version HINT HINT). While it isn’t going to be everybody’s taste I would say if you got anything out of Anodyne you’ll get something from this. Even The Ocean runs at around 4 hours for a full game playthrough and there is a speedrun mode to come back to if you want to experience the platforming sections again, it’s a rather unique title and one I implore the more open-minded of gamers to experience.
Even The Ocean is one of those titles you’ll either love or hate. It’s more of an experience than a game at times and that could be its detriment to some