Game: Even the Ocean
Genre: Adventure, Platformer
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on PC, Xbox One & PS4)
Developer|Publisher: Analgesic Productions | Ratalaika Games
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £14.99 | EU €14,99 | US $14.99
Release Date: August 21st 2020
Review code provided with many thanks to Ratalaika Games
Even the Ocean is a game about balance in many ways. The ongoing balance between light and dark but it doesn’t stop there. The game tries to balance the story with action puzzle platform segments. In those action segments themselves, the game also has an interesting balance mechanic with regards to its health system. This is a game the developers have cleverly tried to appeal to as wide a crowd as possible. But in those efforts has it succeeded? Let’s find out.
A Story as Deep as the Ocean
You play as Aliph an engineer that has been tasked with traveling to various power plants around the outside world of Whiteforge. Things are of course not what they seem and soon the game turns into a save the world style plotline because it’s a video game. Even the Ocean has quite a heavy plot a lot of the game is spent reading text about Aliph and the wide diverse characters she encounters across the game. The plot dips its toes into several themes such as the environment, corruption in politics, and grief and loss. It’s a fairly straightforward tale but at times it felt like there was a little too much. The developers clearly put a lot of thought into the world and those willing to spend the time immersing themselves in it will have plenty to discover. You can explore the city of Whiteforge and speak to several NPCs but your reward is only more depth to the world and story. Unfortunately, the emphasis on the story slowed things down a little too much at times.
Puzzle Platforming Fun
When you’re not exploring or reading the story the game has several puzzle platform segments which I found to be incredibly fun. You travel to a new location via a large overworld map and visit a nice variety of different locals which all for some reason have a generic-looking power plant installed. For the most part, though the backgrounds are generally detailed and quite colourful.
The first notable feature is you have a health bar that you need to keep in the middle. Swing things too far to the blue or purple side and you die. You have to consistently keep things balanced by running into plant pods, lasers, or other hazards of the two colours. But swinging the bar more to each side does have its benefits as going more purple allows you to jump further horizontally while the blue allows you to jump higher vertically. It kinda has this risk-reward to it.
Aliph has a handy shield at her disposal which allows her to block incoming projectiles as well as perform handy jumps when you position it appropriately on the wind. The controls are generally solid and the game runs well in TV and handheld mode. When you are in the power plants the main aim is to restart various nodes, which usually involves collecting nodes and taking them to terminals without taking damage. When everything’s ready you then perform a little mini-game on the big computer to align all the circuits. Checkpoints are scattered absolutely everywhere so if you do make a mistake don’t panic.
Even the Ocean works very hard to try to make its game appeal to a wide audience. Before you even start the experience you are given a large number of options in terms of accessibility to players. You can make the game more story focused or gameplay focused or even just shut off the ability to fail or die. I decided to enjoy the game on full story mode which I think puts the game at its maximum difficulty setting and didn’t particularly find it too challenging.
A Drop in the Ocean
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Even the Ocean. I liked the flow and feel of the puzzle platform segments but sometimes the heavy emphasis on story slowed things down too much for me. If you are looking for a casual puzzle platformer with a deep story you most certainly should check out Even the Ocean.
Final Verdict: I like it