[PlayStation 4] Even The Ocean Review
Even The Ocean from Ratalaika Games and Analgesic Productions is a sidescrolling 2D adventure with fun gameplay mechanics and a story about the balance between Light and Dark energies. Learn more in our Even The Ocean review!
Even the Ocean starts with a robot named Storyteller, asking if you came for the Even The Ocean story. His narrative and experiences will follow you throughout your adventure. Before starting with the story, he tells you about the two energies that inhabit all matter: the Light and Dark energies. Dark energy is associated with horizontal motion, while Light energy is associated with vertical motion. This will be important, since it will play out for the game’s story, as well as for the puzzles you’ll have to solve.
You are then introduced to Aliph, the game’s protagonist. She’s a newly hired Power Plant technician that was assigned to a routine maintenance session alongside Cassidy, a senior technician. As they are on their way to the Power Plant, and while Cassidy is taking the lead, she ends up falling off a bridge. To make things matters worse, the bridge collapses under Aliph as tries to reach for Cassidy. Upon falling to the ground, Aliph finds herself out of her protective suit, with Cassidy’s body on the ground.
When you’re in Power Plant areas, the game plays from a 2D sidescrolling perspective. You move around with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, jumping with the Circle button. Once you gain access to your shield, it will be used in the direction in which you hold your analog stick, unless you hold the X button to lock it in the direction you’re currently looking. You’ll come across pads that you have to step on to transfer your energy to it to be able to open a door. There are also moments where you have to place crystal lenses that move on a horizontal or vertical bar onto a receptor a bit further down while avoiding energy infused objects.
At the bottom of the screen, there is a bar that represents the energy balance in Aliph’s body. When you start your journey, it is perfectly centered, but touching either a Dark or Light infused object will shift said energy towards your energy. While this is useful for puzzles, it also affects Aliph’s body, with faster horizontal movements when there is more Dark energy in you, and higher jumps when there is more Light energy in her body. Should your bar be completely filled with either energy, then it’s game over and you’ll have to start over from the last checkpoint you activated.
Outside of those 2D action platforming levels, you’ll be able to explore the world from an overhead perspective where you can go to the different Power Plants or search around to try and find some hidden locations. This mainly serves as a world hub, which means you won’t be encountering any puzzles or any hazards while traveling. It’s a similar look and feel to that of old-school overworlds in RPGs, such as, for instance, the games in the Final Fantasy series during the Super Nintendo Entertainment System era.
When I started playing the game, I wasn’t totally sure what it would be like, since moving in the starting suits was pretty tedious due to their extreme slowness. But when I finally got out of that suit and started moving around, taking advantage of the Light or Dark objects to change Aliph’s mobility, it was actually quite fun! I would’ve wished that more puzzles required to shift energy levels, but the majority of the objectives can be completed while keeping your energy levels neutral.
The one disappointing aspect in the end was actually the trophies. Not because they were hard, it was actually quite the opposite. While the game can be an incredibly enjoyable game, the fact that you can select a Warp Mode when starting your run at the start of the game, actually makes the Platinum obtainable in around 10 minutes or so, without even experiencing pretty much everything the game has to offer. Great for Platinum hunters, but I felt it was a bit odd. The good news is that it’s optional, so you can just go ahead and play the game regularly.
Even The Ocean surprised me. I really enjoyed the energy balance gameplay mechanics, and I do hope that gamers give this game a chance and play it from start to finish, instead of using the Warp Mode to unlock everything – at least it’s an option for trophy hunters looking to add a new Platinum to their collection. Even the Ocean is
This Ever The Ocean review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Ratalaika Games.