Full Disclosure: This was just a dumb working title I had but I forgot to change it before I finished the article. Oops. Oh well, my shame of loving terrible rhymes will follow me to the grave now.
I’ve been waiting for this game since it was announced at the end of Anodyne. Sure, I didn’t know what type of game it was or when it was coming out, but someone had finally reignited the flame in that long forgotten chamber of my dusty desiccated heart where Zelda 1, Duck Tales, and the original Dragonlance NES game* resided, so I figured, in a definitely non-jinxily way, these people are on the ball enough for a sequel, even if the name makes no sense yet.
Even the Ocean is about a person named Aliph (א?), who is basically a hired goon mechanic for the Man in a huge radiation power suit. You and some butch, Cassidy**, head out to fix a power plant that seems have been knocked offline as the target of some suspected terrorist attack. Almost right away Cassidy gets electrocuted and bites it, and you’re stuck alone, suitless in the middle of what I can only assume to be radiation central, and you can’t radio for help until the plant is up and running again.
Here’s where you learn the core mechanics of the game. There are two types of energy in the world, green and purple. If you have more green in your system, vertical motion is easier. If you have more purple, you can fling yourself left and right more easily. If you get too much of either you frickin’ explode in a burst of green or purple.
Easy way to think of it: Green gives you Luigi legs. Purple gives you Sonic legs.
Aside from the gimmick, the controls are tight overall. I really feel like I’m in the action, but not in an aggressive ’90s Sega way, it’s much more enjoyable than being screamed at for having a Super Nintendo. It’s like a significantly less frustrating Ninja Gaiden, where you actually feel like you have control over something, despite being manipulated by the government and potentially the FF9-Black-Mage-cum-narrator.
The story is pretty good, though it did feel a bit lengthy at times. During the stream, I was skipping through it faster than I could read it near the end of some of the larger segments. I think I just need to get further into the game, to where less needs to be explained.
The art and music are absolutely wonderful. Just when I think I’m getting sick of pixel art, something else comes around and amazes me. The backgrounds have a very mid-nineties quality to them, but in a good way. They remind me of some of the quality point and click adventure games from that time, or maybe even the cities of Star Ocean 2. They complement the pixel-based characters as they move through them on predefined paths (also reminiscent of SO2).
So yeah I played an hour, and I haven’t seen much of the ocean. There’s a plant on the coast near a resort that needs fixing. You travel through a sentient four-legged star fish that is a little bit creepy, but hella convenient. I guess that’s the closest I’ve seen so far. But since we’re on the topic of the ocean, let’s play a little game. I’m going to make three predictions about the ending of this game, and I’m going to see if I can get it right based on the title of the game and what I’ve played up until now.
- The government of this island is hiding an awful truth that the power being absorbed from the plants is actually killing the planet, specifically the ocean and its wildlife.
- The government is protecting the people from an overflow of energies, and is fabricating the terrorist attacks to maintain belief that the operation of plants and the city is for the public good.
- The government is keeping the energy from spreading by using these plants. The energy causes mutation or some sort of enhancement in people and it’s worried that it will face its demise if word gets out.
Hmm… not all of these had anything to do with the ocean. Oh well. When I finish the game I’ll come back here and edit these to make me sound smarter than I really am. I think it’s something I will finish, there seems to be enough to make me keep going onwards and upwards.
I just don’t want to walk through that starfish again. That just felt… wrong. And why does it only have 4 legs?
*Ssssh, just let it go. It was good in the 90s and I had a thing for Raistlin. Just let it go.
**This has to be why she’s named Cassidy, right? Right?