The Legend of Talia: The Wind Wannabee.
When someone talks about spiritual successors in the video game industry, a few names immediately come to mind. Stardew Valley, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and Yooka-Laylee all aimed to bring back genres synonymous with long dormant franchises. If a spiritual successor exists to bring back something players haven’t seen in a long time, it’s fair to ask what’s the point in creating a homage to The Legend of Zelda, which is an annual franchise? There’s no shortage of them, that’s for sure, and Ocean’s Heart is the latest to adopt the top-down Zelda formula, the likes of which Nintendo hasn’t produced since A Link Between Worlds in 2013 (discounting Grezzo’s Link’s Awakening remake, of course). Even though this game pulls heavily from Nintendo’s template and stumbles in places, developer Max Mraz delivers an enjoyable take on top-down 2D adventuring.
If you took a quick glance at Ocean’s Heart, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a long lost sequel to the Minish Cap. Everything about the atmosphere, from the sprite work to the music, seems to be pulled directly from the GBA Zelda game. Even the protagonist, Tilia, looks to just be a modified version of Link’s sprite. And while some might find it shamelessly derivative, where Ocean’s Heart stands out a bit more is in the locales you visit. From large sunflower fields to a town heavily inspired by Greek architecture, the unique environments give the game a much needed sense of identity it otherwise lacks. And while few and far between, even familiar environmental tropes stand out with slight variations on their traditional design, like an autumn grassland.
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