Anodyne was something of an office favorite having had the developers of the game even appear on one of our podcasts. So when the team behind the Zelda-inspired adventure game came to PAX to show off their new game Even the Ocean, I made my way over.
The first thing I noticed was just how beautiful the game was. If you read my articles you’ll notice that I try to make a clear distinction between pretty and beautiful as I reserve the latter to describe games that are more “breathtaking” than anything else. This is one such game. With a subdued color palette of blues and purples, it’s reminiscent of dawn. Like the time of day when the sun rises, AKA the best part of the day.
Even the Ocean is a 2D, side-scrolling platformer in which you play as the heroine navigating between the dream world and the real world. Using her shield to block oncoming enemy fire, the mechanic that drives the game is this sort of health bar management system. Attacks are color-coded as either two colors that match the ones on the heroine’s health bar. She can’t have her health become completely one color (which means that she can’t be hit too much by either color excessively) or else it’s game over. Knowing when to get hit by a bullet and when to dodge is what makes Even the Ocean such a challenging game. It’s sort of like Ikaruga’s dual-colored gameplay in a way, so the player has to utilize this combination and traverse the big world all while maneuvering around the health system.
That’s not the biggest draw of Even the Ocean though, at least not for me. The game managed to catch my attention with its atmosphere. A sense of real mystery and fantasy pervaded the design. At least until the bullets started flying. It looks to be a pretty big game and it channels this sort of hypnotic dream-scape of classic fantasy stories but with a more modern take. Even the Ocean is looking for a PC release sometime in 2014.