Even the Ocean is a platformer that focuses more on storytelling and experience, rather than gameplay. It has notable mechanics that make the moment-to-moment gameplay intriguing, but after a few minutes, they lose their novelty.
LOOK AT THE PRETTY COLORS
The independent game starts off with a great art direction. A storyteller that looks to be created with oil and pastel on canvas tells you about the world you are about to embark on. Whiteforge, a city that runs on light and dark energy, has power plants that harvest both energies to power the city. Enter Aliph, a power plant technician whose first day on the job turns into a series of unfortunate events. Aliph gains the ability to use both light and dark energies, which affect her movement speeds, and a story unfolds that sprawls multiple locations, characters, and themes.
Throughout Even the Ocean, the protagonist, Aliph has an unorthodox health bar. Instead of a bar that measures health, this bar measures the balance of light and dark energy. Why the balance? Because the levels are littered with small pods that contain either light or dark energy. Aliph can walk into these pods to increase one energy but having too much of one energy will result in death. The gameplay mechanics contradict themselves in a good way, players need a good amount of light or dark energy to get through levels, but have to either balance the bar or avoid touching pods that will kill Aliph. Add that with the fact levels also have some type of turrets that constantly shoot light or dark energy in your direction. Luckily, Aliph comes equipped with a shield to block the incoming projectiles. It can be frantic when you first get introduced to the mechanics, but after a while it becomes mundane and sometimes annoying.
The narrative and the way it is presented is the real star of Even the Ocean. It is straightforward, accompanied by cinematic cutscenes, and ominous music. Not to get into spoiler territory but there are a lot of themes that come up which in turn creates deep thought. Unfortunately, the final chapter doesn’t live up to the story’s potential and you ask yourself “That’s it?” Honestly, that could be the fault of the pacifist gameplay. Even The Ocean isn’t a typical game where the protagonist is constantly killing enemies. You’re just a technician, who is tasked to balance light and dark energy in herself and her city. So sometimes, when the gorgeous cinematics occur and all your doing is just jumping and balancing energy, then you are left with a wanting feeling.
THE FINAL SAY SO
All in all, Even the Ocean is a good game. The gameplay loses its novelty, but since the story itself is short, it doesn’t become too boring. In end, it’s a platformer that is meant for a quick, enjoyable experience.