News Article

Oceanhorn for iOS Seems to be 'Heavily Inspired' by Zelda

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

"Grow from a boy to a legend", which seems familiar

What if the concepts behind The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker were merged with a visual style that hints at The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, with a camera angle somewhere between the two perspectives? We bet you'd get something like Oceanhorn, which is starting to roll-out on iOS around the world.

The work of FDG Entertainment, this is a game that's been in development for a good amount of time. With its arrival there are a series of screens and videos appearing, and it's caused some debate in the Nintendo Life office — some of us feel it's heavily inspired by Zelda, while a viewpoint that it's a clone has also been shared.

There are a lot of similarities — an initial quest tasks you with collecting important objects in three dungeons, there are "skulltula" style collectibles, chests containing items, grass to cut, pots to throw and more. The sailing aspect is obviously largely similar to The Wind Waker, while bottles washed up on shore bring to mind the Miiverse feature in the Wii U title, albeit these seem to be fixed parts for the story. We're just touching on it, but check out the let's play by, and consider how many times they say "Zelda".

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Below are a host of images, some that could almost be a Wind Waker sequel on iOS and others that are perhaps representative of the blend we mentioned at the start of this article.

This game is causing some hype for iOS gamers, especially as those that have worked on the music include Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu and Kenji Ito, Mana and Saga series composer.

Where do you stand with this game? Is it simply inspired by Zelda but still doing enough of its own, or is it a borderline clone that's a little too similar? Sound off in the comments below.


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User Comments (79)



briwipdx said:

Same Same. i guess we'll c about the gameplay and if it can even compete. obviously large elements are directly ripped from WW, there's no denying it.



WhiteTrashGuy said:

This is hilarious. It looks pretty, but man, it's certainly a blatant rip-off. I guess all you gotta do is make link a brunette and change his tunic to blue. I think it's the image of the plant boss and the bombs that pushed it over the edge for me.



ricklongo said:

100% ripoff. I even lol'd when they went to the pause menu and it showed 2/4 heart pieces.

In fact, I love Wind Waker so much that I wouldn't mind giving this a play, if it were released somewhere I could play with physical controllers.



SirQuincealot said:

hey, at least it looks tlike it works and it looks pretty nice, something you cant say in most of these nintendo clones, who cares its a rip off as long as its fun... i mean metroid was ripped off fro alien



ACK said:

These kind of games provide the poorest reflection of the iOS game market. Clearly it's almost necessary to ape popular works solely to stand out in the crowded marketplace...

It terrifies me so many think this is the future marketplace of gaming.



Spoony_Tech said:

What's up with making the items way to similar?! At the very least change it up a bit. I say let them release it. Make some money and then sue them!



Nareva said:

Yeah, if it was playable with physical buttons I might try it. Clones aren't really a new phenomenon in the video game world, this at least looks like a respectable piece of work.



cookiex said:

For an iOS game it looks pretty good, but I agree that the similarities to Wind Waker are too many to ignore. There's nothing wrong with taking inspiration - in fact being inspired is a good thing, but this is way overboard.



NintyMan said:

It's way too similar. Seeing that boy use a spin attack with his sword convinced me. But, at least the game itself looks good compared to the vast majority of Nintendo clones.



sevex said:

I'll never understand why devs put so much talent and effort into an idea that isn't even their own.



MussakkuLaden said:

That's weird. I can't say how representative the screens here are of the game or if just the most obvious similarities have been chosen. In any case it' seems just weird that a game which obviously has a rather big budget, a very fine technical basis and some big names involved, is at the same time so unoriginal, almost a straightforward clone. The developer was obviously capable in many ways, so why not making a game that feels truly "new" or even better than the original too? Then it could have appealed to many Zelda-fans likewise.
Sevex, yes, totally right.



PanurgeJr said:

Not only is it a clone, but they developed for iOS, which is the cash-grabbiest of the online game markets. Everyone wants Nintendo to develop for iOS, but they won't, so somebody else did, slapping on a new name.



Big_L91 said:

yeah this does look really good though. people seem to have a huge problem with ios games taking insperation from other games. yet if its a console or pc game they dont mind. no one battered an eyelid at games like darksiders that also use the zelda formula.

fair enough when the game looks like it took an hour to make and they stick marios face on it so it sells, but ive got no problem with this. looks like the developers where big fans of zelda and took alot of ideas, but clearly has had alot of work put into it.



Bliquid said:

It sure is heavily inspired by WW, but the quality and work behind it is so high that it would be rather unfair to call it a rip-off.
And i don't understand the hate, it's not like it is stealing sales form WW HD or anything and seems well done.
What's to you ppl if there is a game like this on another platform?
It's not like YOU own Zelda copyrights.



Darknyht said:

It looks like they are taking a lot from Zelda: Wind Waker and the Zelda formula in general, but Zelda is not the only entry ever into the action-adventure genre.

If it followed the exact formula of a boy named Sink in the land of Tyrule seeking the Triangles of Strength, Intelligence, and Bravery so Sink can save the Princess Gerda from the Evil Cannon (or Canon if you prefer), then there may be an issue.



jdarrell said:

I haven't looked at either, but I'm guessing the situation is the same as the clones Nintendo happily accepts on the eshop.



SirQuincealot said:

@LDXD so than we agree that there is no problem with this game? sure they used some features zelda has, but its not like they stole character models or environments like so many others do,

tldr if this game is a rip-off so is metroid

alos if this was a 3ds game i would totally buy it



GraveLordXD said:

@SirQuincealot I think the game looks fun sure but I think they rely to heavily on Zelda , seriously I would get this if it had a controller option. If this came to the eshop I'd get it in a heartbeat
Some of the best games I've played have been considered ripoffs of other great games



BakaKnight said:

These are the kind of games that confuse me unless they are presented as "heavily inspired by"....

I mean... at first glance it looks good, but everything remember something about Zelda! Even the route in the oceans remember Phantom Hourglass navigation style... Why putting efforts in making a good game and not even try to put also some originality (or at least something that doesn't scream "ZELDA!!!" ) into it @.@;;;



Peach64 said:

There are a lot of blatant clones out there, games that are clearly trying to make cash with the smallest initial investment possible. I'm not sure that someone attempting to do that would be able to hire Nobuo Uematsu though. For that reason alone I'm temped to try this out, and I never usually bother with the blatant Mario/Pokemon clones.



crazycrazydave said:

While I do like the Graphics, the interface and overall art style looks a bit too much like Wind Waker for me.



Detective_TeeJay said:

They'd better expressly state their inspiration by name, however blatant it may be, if they want to avoid a C&D.



Peach64 said:

Wow, how many people calling for them to be sued, recently donated to Mighty No. 9 I wonder.



rjejr said:

""Grow from a boy to a legend", which seems similar"

That can be applied to almost every JRPG I've ever played, (though Lunar and Grandia were first to pop into my mind). Which are all rip-offs of The Hobbit. Which is based on Gilgamesh, the oldest story ever told. And partly Journey to the West.

That said, looks like WW.

And for all those people who keep complaining about iOS games being garbage - if blatant rip-offs are a threat to Nintendo then they can't all be garbage. If this was coming out on 3DS you'ld all want to play it. I'ld be more than happy to buy it on the eShop on Wii U, the PS3 has gotten a few good JRPG games lately - Rainbow Moon is geting a sequel - but I guess Ninntedo would never ut such a fun goo dloking game on eShop.

Oh, and it does look like WW, but I haven't played that or this yet, so its hard to say for sure. I can think of many other games that look like some of those land based screenshots.

2 minutes into the video and you don't control the boat, but you do get to shoot things, which doens't sound anything like WW to me. Though again, haven't played WW, so peashooters cold come into play later. I do recall canon fire, but that might have been in AC4. Maybe this is an AC4 rip-off?



N64ever said:

What an obvious rip off. It looks like the same pot design, spiked chu chus even the stupid little info signs look the same. This is why I hate mobile games and have very few that I like. They are either cloning successful games or adding so many micro transaction that you might as well take a quarter put it into a coin game at the arcade and hope your stupid quarter will some how hit the switch that will give you all the quarters from all the other suckers that tried it.



steamhare said:

It's actually more like phantom hourglass, the ds game in the same style as windwaker (which uses the same sailing method and gives you a cannon). I'd bet money it even uses the same touchscreen control system for combat...



ReigningSemtex said:

Yeah it does look like a Zelda rip off but I would still want to play it because it looks like they have done a good job of it I would totally understand if Nintendo did sue because they have to protect their ip but 3d dot heroes was a blatant Zelda rip (an awesome one at that) and released on ps3 and Nintendo did nothing so...



ACK said:

To all those claiming the apparent quality somehow separates games such as this from other rip-offs or clones: to me, that's the problem here.

That there is clearly some labor being put into this project, yet obviously they feel it must mimic a known property rather than stand on it's own. A few inspirations are fine, but the degree to which this seems to follow Wind Waker's lead shows either a lack of creativity, passion, or ethics.

There will always be second-rate facsimiles hawked by shrewd and/or desperate capitalists. However, if we're going to accept these projects simply because they have put in the requisite man-hours to produce a decent product at a budget price, then where is the incentive to innovate? To imagine original concepts? To express a unique vision?

Supporting this sort of project leads us no where. At least, not anywhere I want go.



Rief said:

There is inspiration, which is a good thing, and there are Rip-Offs, which are a bad thing.
THIS is surely not the former one.
Seriously, it looks like a bad chinese copy of Wind Waker.
And Action Adventures without physical buttons? Please, bad joke.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

Man, this is giving me a headache....
To most of us, this is one way too clear rip-off, yet it isn't similar enough to justify a lawsuit.
But I can see how iOS owners are hyped for this: whenever else do they have the chance to play something close to one of the best 3D Zelda games?

I, however, don't get the hype - the maps look somewhat generic and square, making it seem like blocks instead of islands. The protagonist has really stiff animations, the sea travelling system strips many exploration possibilities by only allowing set courses instead of free roaming, and battles look somewhat unsatisfying.

That's only my impression, of course. But this becoming a success would only prove how good Nintendo is at what they do - people don't steal bad ideas (exceptions aside).

@ReigningSemtex 3D Dot Heroes wasn't a Zelda rip-off. They only took the very basics (namely, traveling and fighting with top-down perspective) and added stuff that fit a fantasy hero adventure setting. But the insane amount of customization and the cool visuals separate it from Zelda more than far enough.



Pixelrobin said:

I dont mind them making this game even if its similar to the Zelda series. It looks pretty appealing... But the controls must be horrible.

@Parasky I think NL made an article a while back about why it WOULDNT work.



unrandomsam said:

@brucelebnd Most 3DS Retail games I have played have been £30-£40 for 10 hours (And nearly all not worth it). Seems to be all too common in this genre.

(By comparison Dragon Quest VII is supposedly more like 100 hours or more).



FritzFrapp said:

Plain, filthy plagiarism. They've even got a Bomb Island in there! Is there anything in the game that isn't lifted from Zelda?
The developers will be having a visit from the Nintendo ninjas very shortly.



cfgk24 said:

There are too many platforms peddling bloatware cheaply and taking a cut of the market on the back of someone else's ideas and hard work . . .In the long run, this takes money form the quality developers and they may be tempted to follow suit. However, if ALL the quality games makers jump ship from producing quality games then, these poor 2nd place debs don't have anything legendary to copy. . . . .Leaving a gaping the market for Quality games - hence we will probably always have quality games but not so many and the cheap rip offs that are a secondary experience will always be shoved onto our phone screens. . .



Einherjar said:

I must admit, that it looks pretty nice from a technical standpoint. Since i avoid smartphones like the plague, i have no real insight about how these so called "games" are evolving, if you can say that.
And there is no arguing that it took so much inspiration from Wind Waker, that it crossed the line from ispired work to simple plagiarism. Even the protagonists animations, like the walk cicle and his "falling down" animation is directly ripped from WW.
It hurts me to hear people calling something like that "the next big gaming revolution" and shun nintendo titles...
If you are able to make such good looking games on a phone, why not go the extra mile and do something unique ? It at least looks like they have some talent.
But people will buy it anyways, that thing gets popular for all the wrong reasons and critics will continue to claim that this is the future of handheld gaming...



Ruthven said:

This just screams ripoff to me, have to agree with "WhiteTrashGuy", the plant boss and the bombs pushed it into complete rip off for me.



TromaDogg said:

They tried to disguise how much of a Zelda rip off it is a little by presenting the main action sequences in isometric view, but even then it just reminds me a lot of Landstalker. Game looks decent actually but it doesn't have a shred of originality in it.



rjejr said:

@steamhare - Yeah, I always forget about that one. Even bought it for my kid but he never plays it. Maybe if Link had a pet Pokemon.



Ren said:

yeah, it's pushing into 'cheap rip-off' territory but I don't mind because I'm not a blind hater of all things ios-gaming (anymore; I sure used to be).
you could say nintendo missed the boat on this one and they openly defend their decision to do so, so why jump on people who are doing actually good takes on what nintendo has mastered?
Sure it's not Nintendo quality entirely but if it's priced realistically and a good game I'm all for it. isn't peoples' big angry argument that games aren't/will never be the quality of console games? So when they start getting there it hits a little too close to home, does it?
It's Nintendo who pushed me off my high console horse by delivering an expensive sub standard 'next-gen' system so I'm not going to keep kicking at the raising standards of mobile games (technically AND concept wise, this is clearly not a high concept game but it looks fantastic for a mobile game)



FanboyGuy said:

If this game was on the 3DS or Wii U I bet you guys would't be calling it a ripoff. But since it's an iOS game it gets ripped to shreds. You are aware there have been many other Zelda "ripoffs" right? Square,SEGA,Sony most Japanese game developers have made "Zelda Clones" Many of which borrow way more than this game. "Neutopia on the TurboGrafx-16 comes to mind" Nintendo didn't invent the action adventure Zelda style gameplay. Nope. It was Adventure on the Atari 2600 that started it. Nintendo just refined it. Oh, and by the way Nintendo won't sue these guys. If if on the the off chance they do "which they won't" They might as well sue every other game company under the sun.



ACK said:

@Ren The problem is, the game could have been made with original, or at least unique, concepts. Yet, likely due to marketplace viability, they instead shoehorn the exact concepts of a popular classic and design entirely around a profane philosophy.

Call us haters, but the iOS market encourages these projects because few are confident that a quality, original game will be recognized, or even noticed, to ensure proper success. Until we refuse to accept these demeaning products, how is that marketplace ever going to foster developers who strive for something more?



ueI said:

This game looks even more like Zelda than I first thought. Still looks no worse than Neutopia.



aaronsullivan said:

I do wish they made some different choices here and there to differentiate, but the game looks fun and ultimately that comes from the style of gameplay rather than some of the direct Zelda nods like the Master Key, etc.

I can't knock them too much. It's not like they are slapping on recognizable names and imagery onto a completely uninspired game or a shell of a game or garbage.

This is a real effort to make an original game and it doesn't take anything away from Zelda or Nintendo.

More games like this would be great, but like many here I'd prefer they were a little less direct with some of the same items and even names of things.



jsty3105 said:

Found this on the developers blog - "I find it kind of funny how Oceanhorn is constantly compared to Wind Waker. It's ok, but I would like to state that we are not making a copy of any existing game. Instead, we try to capture the feeling of our favourite console adventure / RPG games, where you can discover the world, find treasures and roam through lands and seas."



Kyloctopus said:

Had this came to Wii U, no one would be complaining.
Two Brothers is Zelda-Like, no one complained
Ittle Dew is terribly Zelda-Like no one is complaining
Suddenly this IOS game can't leave the criticism of being zelda-like from IOS haters/Nintendo fans.



WreckItRyan said:

@ACK Ah, beautifully said.

@Titanics Yeah, personally, I wouldn't be complaining if it came to Wii U rather than iOS, because at least content that was obviously drawn from Nintendo material would be released on a Nintendo platform.



Zodiak13 said:

Wow, blatant rip-off. I do expect this garbage from IOS, so I am not suprised. Hope the developer gets sued or the game does poorly in sales. Yeah its bitter sounding, but I hate this kind of crap. I would feel the same way if it was a Little Big Planet clone, and I hate Sony.



WiiLovePeace said:

Oh wow! Looks like fun :3 I just hope it's not too expensive, definitely be giving it a play through on the iPad



Tasuki said:

I love how nowadays no one can come up with their own ideas. I am sure that Nintendo will have them in the courtroom faster then you can say Wind Waker.



SomeBitTripFan said:

I agree this game lacks originality, but really people? They designed the maps (instead of ripping them off of another game cough cough Link Between Worlds cough cough), made an extremely pretty game (that has effort put into it's appearance cough cough Link Between Worlds cough cough), and they state they were influenced by Zelda. This isn't a "rip-off" as y'all love to call it as much as it is a homage to a great game series. Nintendo, when trying to gain ground in the video game industry, produced all sorts of clones of popular classics. They made Pong clones and Space Invader clones. I'll simply say I don't think Nintendo made these games because they liked Space Invaders and Pong. This situation is relatively similar. This company is using a well established and basic template to make what appears to be a quality game. The main difference is that they entered the gaming industry because they wanted to. Zelda was clearly an influence on them, so they want to make their own Zelda. To be frank, if this game had the words The Legend of Zelda and Nintendo on the title screen, you'd all be saying "HYPE!" or "I'M THROWING MONEY AT MY SCREEN! NOTHING'S HAPPENING!" or "I NEED A TIME MACHINE!", but because someone else made it, they obviously lack creativity, and deserve to lose hard earned money to a multibillion dollar company.



BlackStar9000 said:

@Peach64 True, but at least the Mighty No 9 was created by the same guy that created Megaman, Keji Infune (spelled wrong...i know) Its ok to copy your OWN creation, but ripping off someone elses hard work and devotion is different. He wasn't allowed to take the blue bomber with him when he left and now Crapcom is in deep financial sh*!. I bet they WISH they would have made Megaman Legends 3 online....



BlackStar9000 said:

@rjejr SILENCE! you immediately invalidated your arguement when you said that you never played WW yet, this is an OBVIOUS rip off to ANYONE who has played WW. So when you DO finally play WW, you will likely change your tune, until then STFU!



rjejr said:

@BlackStar9000 - By your own reasoning , if you haven't played Oceanhorn then your argument in invalid so you can STFU. When you do complete Oceanhorn then you can come back and tell me if it is a rip off or not. If you can tell it is a ripoff from one video then I can tell it is not a rip off from the many many trailers I have seen of WW, both the original and the HD remake. I can almost guarantee I have played more of the original WW (about the 1st hour) then you have played of this, but somehow your opinion is more valid than mine?

I am declaring your entire post as just too ridiculous.



SomeBitTripFan said:

@BlackStar9000: To think I thought Wind Waker was a 3D Action Adventure game when it's really a 2D Action Adventure game, silly me. I honestly love how you act like these developers ported Wind Waker directly to iOS. Is it the most original game? No, from how I take it the developers are big fans of Zelda and simply wanted to use a basic, but effective template for Action Adventure games. They have stated Zelda heavily influenced them, so it isn't a rip-off as much as it is a homage, and a nice looking one at that. Does it really matter who made it? To quote the thousands of Nintendo fanboys, "It's the gameplay that matters." Guess what, there's good gameplay in there. Preferring a brand is petty, shallow, and ultimately harmful to the video game industry. I thought consumers were supposed to reward quality with money, not brands. These are the humble beginnings of a developer. Nintendo shamelessly copied popular games when they tried to gain ground in the industry, but at that time no one would have been making the games as a homage, it was purely to capitalize on a lucrative market. It was those games that helped Nintendo to become the company it is today. Oceanhorn could be the beginnings of a fantastic developer studio.

Space Fever (Nintendo made Space Invaders "Rip-off")

Space Invaders (An Extremely Successful Arcade Game)



BlackStar9000 said:

@SomeBitTripFan Yes, Nintendo has had their own share of ripped off games and strongarm tactics, they recently lost a suit on the 3DS screen technology, which I feel they are wrong for doing, which is my main point, it's wrong to take some one elses ideas or work and profit from it without consent. Sure they put a lot of work into this game, but it seems like what they did was make the most conveniently successful action adventure series and put a new coat of paint on it while making only a few minor changes to it, sure it may still be a good game of its own, but it is essentially a carbon copy that doesn't move the genre forward. Good effort i guess...



SomeBitTripFan said:

@BlackStar9000: It's in a moral grey area more than anything. I just did some research on them. They have an upcoming game called "Banana Kong", so Oceanhorn could very well be the beginning of a Nintendo piggybacking scheme. Turns out the developer was actually a very successful flash game maker, some of my favorites as a kid. Up until Oceanhorn, most of their games have had the quality of a good flash game. The games had good concepts with decent execution. Oceanhorn is, from the looks of it, their first major game. They can improve in originality once they get a stronger bearing on the Action Adventure genre. The main point I was making in my comment was that fans are jumping on a developer and judging them prematurely. I personally am going to play the game, or at least watch a full walkthrough before I come to my conclusion as to whether it's a "rip-off" or not. If it provides a refreshing Zelda-like experience, their ideas are still in it and it's simply their take on Zelda. If the game feels exactly like Zelda, then it could be an uninspired cash-grab. Buying this game encourages quality, but also encourages iOS developers to emulate the style and appearance of more popular games. I personally value quality over originality in the video game industry. If it weren't for the iOS "bigs" e.g. Angry Birds, Temple Run, Candy Crush, iOS would be a productive, growing environment. I see this game as the seeds for a better mobile market, as long as the developers make similar high quality games.



BlackStar9000 said:

@SomeBitTripFan I agree with everything you said, which still leaves issues to be dealt with, this does look like a quality product, one that I really want to play, but I also don't want to support games that copy established titles this heavily. The video sums up the experience i would have with this game, which means that I will constantly compare and contrast it while playing and every time I disagree with something it would remove enjoyment from playing it. Its a mental thing that most ppl do all the time without noticing it, something that I hate doing while playing games. No matter the level of polish, if a game doesn't stand out with some form of original style, gameplay or story then it will suffer overall and there's plenty of examples. Shinin (Nanostray) just made jett Rocket 2, and while it looks great and has tight controls, it feels like a Mario 3d land wannabe, it's also pretty bland overall and lacks charm, but at least it has some things that obviously set it apart from Similar platformers. even Nintendo adds new elements and gameplay styles to its franchises, normally making them successful and fun, unlike any dynasty warrior game since 4, just more enemies and subtle changes while remaining the same damn game since forever, completely undesirable. Im still wondering who is buying these games. Also, the App market has tons of original and fun games with different styles of play, but they are also more complex and cost more than a buck. Sword and Sorcery bros, a few adult swim games, Infinity blade to an extent, and many more that don't catch fire Even though they excel. But given that I am a a sucker for Zelda and the reviews this is getting I will probably give OceanHorn a try, as a true gamer i pretty much have to give a game a chance if i think it may be rewarding.

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