Even the Ocean from Ratalaika Games and Analgesic Productions is a 2D story-driven puzzle platformer on PlayStation 4. Learn more about it in our Even the Ocean review!
In Even the Ocean from Ratalaika Games and Analgesic Productions, the indie team who previously gave us the retro-styled adventure Anodyne is a 2D game in which you will take control of Aliph, a power plant technician who is sent, alongside senior technician Cassidy, to perform some routine maintenance at the Fay Rouge Plant. Things go terribly wrong, and after being struck by lightning, she loses her suit. She somehow manages to salvage the chest plate from it to use as a makeshift shield, which is the only thing protecting her from the many energy-infused things she will find.
There are four different ways to take on the adventure that Even the Ocean has to offer. You can go with Full Game, which, as the name suggests, will have you play the game in its entirety – and it’s the option I suggest you select for your first playthrough since it will include all story segments and all puzzles. Story will allow players to focus on the story while skipping the Power Plant levels. On the other hand, selecting Gauntlet will have you playing only the dexterity-based Power Plant levels.
The last option is called Warp and should be avoided for your first run since it allows you to skip to specific sections of the game, which means you won’t get to learn all of the story or play all of the puzzles. The game mentions that this mode is a good option for players who might have lost their save data – be that due to corrupt save data or another issue – or for those who wish to replay specific sections.
You will move Aliph with the left analog stick or the D-Pad. This will, in turn, point her shield in the direction she’s facing – left, right, up, or down. You can also press the X button to lock your shield on a particular position, which will be used for solving the game’s puzzles. To make Aliph jump, you can press the Circle button. She can also press against walls to slowly descent or can end up wall climbing by making short jumps back towards a wall to move upwards, or jump away from the wall to land on a platform that might have previously seemed out of reach.
You will notice a bar at the bottom of the screen. This bar will represent Aliph’s energy alignment towards light or dark energy. This can be affected by touching objects that are charged with one or the other energy. If Aliph’s energy alignment is stronger towards the light, then she will be able to jump higher. If, on the other hand, her energy alignment is stronger towards the dark, then she will be able to move faster horizontally, allowing her jumps to clear longer distances. You do need to be careful, though, because if Aliph’s alignment ends up being completely light or dark, then she will collapse, and you will need to start over from the last checkpoint you activated.
There are also many additional options to choose from to customize your run so that you can tailor your overall experience. In the Speedrun Options menu, you can decide to speed up dialogue and act and area cards, skip screen fades, turn off save point autosaves, and make it possible to press down to fall off a wall. In the Gameplay Options menu, you can remove screen shakes and flashes, make it so that you float instead of jump, stop your character from dying when your energy alignment is completely light or dark, display captions for important sound effects, add blocks to make levels easier, remove the 3D effect in the overworld, and more.
To travel to new areas, you can use the overworld to explore new locations. If you find a new spot to visit, you can press and hold down the X button to investigate so that you can open up that new location for exploration. Investigating something on the overworld could also lead you to find peculiar objects to interact with. To help with all of this, you should make good use of the maps you gain access to. Equip maps from the aptly named Maps submenu, and then press the Circle button while on the overworld to check it out.
If you ever feel lost, or if you want to get a refresher on what you’ve done and what you should be working on, you can visit the Journal section. The Journal section will have two subsections for your review: Diary and Field Notes. The Diary will give you some extra insight into what has happened so far story-wise. The Field Notes section will have lots of information on the different things you will run into during your journey, such as the sap pads that will shift some of your light or dark energy and send it to whatever it’s hooked up to, or energized gas barriers that will energize Aliph as she passes through them.
Ratalaika Games has gotten us used to getting a Platinum trophy for every game they release, and Even the Ocean is not the exception. It’s an overall short list with nothing but Gold trophies in your path towards adding that new Platinum trophy to your collection. There are a handful of trophies for completing each of the game’s story acts, with the other trophies unlocked for completing a handful of objectives at specific moments of the game.
I was pleasantly surprised by what Even the Ocean from Ratalaika Games and Analgesic Productions had to offer. The game’s story is definitely the main star of the whole experience, but the puzzle platforming sections are certainly not to be ignored. The game offers a lot of options to customize your experience so that you can play Even the Ocean just like you want to. Even the Ocean is out now on PlayStation 4 with a $14.99 asking price.
This Ratalaika Games review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Ratalaika Games.