Ori and the Blind Forest is a visual masterpiece, but don’t let its lush visuals fool you. It’s quite an action-packed Metroidvania-style adventure that can be unforgiving if you go too easy on it.
What Is It?
Developed by Moon Studios, really just a group of people spread throughout the world, Ori and the Blind Forest wreaks of any other indie platformer at first. It has Trine‘s stylistic fantasy visuals, a narrator a la Bastion (although he speaks in an unknown language), and it’s a sidescrolling adventure with a narrative that strongly makes its presence felt.
Without giving away too much, the game puts you in control of a glowing, white rabbit-like animal named Ori, who gets adopted by a sasquatch-like character and lives life freely until chaos ensues in the forest. Before you know it, it’s Ori’s duty to retrieve the elements of water, wind, and warmth to bring balance back to the forest of Nibel.
Why Should I Care?
The actual game starts off fairly slow, which comes as no surprise considering how story-driven it is. But once you have control of Ori, the controller becomes hard to put down.
Ori and the Blind Forest starts off pretty basic. One moment the game is plot driven and all you’re doing is moving from left to right and right to left, and then an hour later, you’re shooting monsters and using their deadly tricks to solve puzzles and open up new areas. It’s really the element of surprise that makes the game what it is.
As stated earlier, the game is a Metroidvania. Exploration is key, as you’ll be charting your main map with your every move, and in typical Metroid fashion, you don’t have access to everything at first. Whether it’s the double jump, wall-jumping, parachuting, or whatever ability Ori will eventually gain access to, getting from point A to point B is always a joy even with the constant backtracking.
Speaking of backtracking, again in Metroid fashion, Ori and the Blind Forest doesn’t shy away from having some of its own intense escape sequences. After collecting collecting one of the aforementioned elements of forest balance, the level pretty much collapses, forcing Ori to get out as quick as possible. The wind level, for example, requires Ori to use his parachute to float his way to the top, all while avoiding falling boulders that actually open up a path for Ori to alternate between parachuting and wall-running while deflecting icy blasts from the rock walls he’s scaling.
It goes without saying that you’ll die a lot in this game, and as is customary in every platformer, level memorization and timing comes into play. To make it all less daunting, you also have the ability to save the game literally everywhere you want. Saves are limited to the amount of life orbs you’ve collected, so while it’s up to you to decide where to save the game, if you save too often, you might find yourself out of saves when you really need to use one.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
There’s a lot to like with Ori and the Blind Forest. It has a combination of visual beauty and feelings that rivals that of Pixar’s best films, and it features some solid gameplay that provides a challenge yet never comes off as cheap. Moon Studios did a heck of a job with this game, as it’s a must-download for any platforming fan with an Xbox One or Steam account.