Even The Ocean: Demo First Impressions
by Malero on April 16, 2014, 2:43 p.m.
Sean Hogan & Jon Kittaka, the two man team that created Anodyne are working hard on their next indie game title: Even The Ocean. The game is comprised of two different games: "Even" and "The Ocean". Both of the games are similar thematically and mechanically, but "Even" will be more story oriented while "The Ocean" will be a more traditional adventure/platformer game. We were able to get our hands on the early demo of "The Ocean" portion of the game, and while it was short, we had a great time trying it out.
We would first like to point out that this demo is primarily a very basic representation of the overall mechanics of the final game and is not indicative of any actual "level" or area. The story line and planned release artwork were not available on this demo, therefore the information in this article is solely on the function and mechanics of how the character will move through and interact with the various environments.
In "The Ocean", you play as Aliph, an agile young fellow that wields only a shield. Leaping from platform to platform, bouncing and shimmying his way through each area wrought with two different and opposing energy sources. Similar to most games that have a lifebar/health mechanic, Even The Ocean has an energy bar. It's not your standard lifebar, though. Death and life are not based on empty and full, it's based on balance. There are two types of energy that you can absorb and must keep balanced: dark and light. Too much of either energy source will result in a quick and certain death.
The energy bar also has a second function that increases and decreases Aliph's ability to run and jump. Figuring out how to balance these two energy sources is the key to surviving and progressing through each area. In this game we are faced with the universal theme of "everything in moderation".
Overall, we really enjoyed Even The Ocean's energy system. Aliph's only tool, his shield, is very helpful in many situations. All of the projectiles in the game are one or the other type of energy. With his shield, you can block those projectiles and surf on various elements by holding the shield underneath him. So much fun!
What We're Looking Forward To
The two of us at Game Walkers that played Anodyne absolutely loved it. Anodyne's soundtrack, graphics, gameplay and story are all great. While the Even The Ocean demo we played was pretty bare bones, we both shared a moment of excitement after playing it. We discussed quite a few things that we are looking forward to:
There are so many things that could be done with this mechanic. We both reminisced about Donkey Kong's mine cart levels and how Aliph could use his shield in a surfing level where he is constantly being fed one type of energy and needs to maneuver around different paths to collect the opposing energy source to stay balanced and not die! While this is only speculation, we're sure that the surfing mechanic will be used for much more than what we experienced in the demo.
In one part of the demo, there was a set of doors that required a few switches in completely different areas of the level to be flipped to be opened. While it wasn't very taxing on our brains to figure it out, we think it's pretty obvious that they're going to have quite a few puzzles in the final game. In some ways, the energy bar and sections of each level are puzzles in themselves: You have to plan ahead to keep balanced and have enough speed or jumping power to progress. It's a pretty neat and fun concept!
The Story & The Separation of "Even" & "The Ocean"
The separation of "Even" and "The Ocean" is quite intriguing. Why have two games in one? There's an easter egg of sorts in the menu on the demo, it says "Time Trial Options". We think that they're separating the story "Even" from the "The Ocean" portion of the game for replayability. You will play the story "Even" once or twice, but "The Ocean", we can foresee people playing it for many hours trying to master each level and compete on some sort of leaderboard or with their friends! As far as the story goes, they haven't released any information about it. If it's anything close to as good as Anodyne's, we will be very pleased.
We don't have to wait for the game to be released to enjoy the wonderful soundtrack of Even the Ocean. You can listen to the Even The Ocean soundtrack on SoundCloud now for free! It's really quite good. If you enjoy it, you should check out the Anodyne soundtrack as well. In our opinion, it's an amazing piece of work.
Try The Demo & Pre-Order
The "motion demo" is available for free to everyone. Just keep in mind that they're still a year away from release and that the demo does not include much artwork. The demo is purely a display of Even The Ocean's game mechanics and does not portray the quality of the final game!
If you would like to help support the two people behind this game while they develop it, you may pre-order the game for $7 on the humble store below.