Developed by Paralune and published by Nakana.io, Mythic Ocean is a charming visual novel game that touches on philosophy and is designed to make you think. There is no pressure here as the game flows to your speed. The feeling of swimming in an ocean, interacting with the sea creatures and conversing with the many gods makes for a relaxing experience. It has a typical swaying background track that you usually find in ocean-based levels that accompanies the game well without getting stale.
The story of this game is deceitfully simple but ends up being more complex the further you progress and the more you think about the game. You play the part of an unknown entity who has last all their memories. Your first interaction is with an eel creature who you discover is one of the many gods of the ocean. They tell you that a time for a new world is coming and you have to help decide which of the new gods should be chosen to create it. The eel god recommends you speak to all the other gods and get to know them better and even help them understand other ways of thinking. It is only when you speak to the other gods, who are interesting characters in their own right, that you realise they all represent certain key areas of civilisation from what we know in our world. The game encourages you to influence each of the gods to see things in a new light and that just repeating the same comforts will not lead you to progress.
That leads me to the gameplay, which is very simple, and the controls are fine to help steer the narrative. You move like you are an ocean animal and you can swim about in all the ocean areas quite freely. Once you have visited a gods area you can use a teleport to move quickly between each area if you find swimming backwards and forwards a bit dull or tedious. Other than conversing with the gods there are other sea creatures you can converse with, some have funny stories to tell and some have a sort of side quest element to them where you can guide them to certain areas or help pass messages onto one another. Another thing you can – and should – be doing is looking out for pages of a book. These pages describe the last world that came to be and it gives you an understanding of what went wrong to know how the world can improve. These pages also have a second use in that they can be used to make a crown for your chosen god as you select them to create the new world. There is also a god who can use these pages to help you restore your memory but it may or may not be worth the price.
I actually enjoyed my playthrough of this game. It took a while to connect to the wavelength of the narrative but once I was on board everything started to fit together. This also leads to my biggest concern as it took me about halfway through the game to understand the representation of the gods. At first, it just seems like a cute visual novel game about trying to make the next world a better place for the mortals to live in. But the hidden narrative is far more philosophical than that and it would go over most kids heads and possibly some adults. I pondered for a while at what demographic this game is aimed at. Younger kids would enjoy the vibrant ocean scene and colourful characters but only adults would fully comprehend the narrative of the game. But each to their own I guess. I know some adults enjoy relaxing visual novel games like this, and the message is a positive one about being a good influence and seeing things from other perspectives.
Mythic Ocean surprised me as I enjoy a good dose of philosophy if done the right way. The game is very relaxing and not overly challenging when it comes to helping the gods or searching for the lost pages. The real challenge comes when you have to make a decision on which god should create the new world. It really does make you think, and that choice is not simple to make. I believe it was designed that way to show the power of influence you have in both this fictional world and the real world.Become a Patron!
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.