When Ori and the Blind Forest was first shown off at E3, I think everyone immediately sat up with interest based on the sizzle reel they showed. It was a beautiful looking old school side scrolling platformer with stunning audio, and an engaging atmosphere. The buzz surrounding Moon Studios new was immediate.
Admittedly, I sort of forgot about Ori – not because it was forgettable, mostly because I have the memory of a guppie these days but when I saw the launch trailer I was jazzed about the game again and rightfully so. Ori and the Blind Forest puts the player in control of Ori a white forest guardian who became lost at birth and raised by another creature of the forest as it’s own. One day, an evil force appears turning Ori’s life upside down forcing him to venture out to fix what’s gone wrong. The story’s narrative is told by subtitles with a narrator talking over the background in a foreign tongue that I’m sure Ori and the other creatures of the Blind Forest can understand
The controls are absolutely SPECTACULAR. I found that controlling Ori was tight and overall flawless. It was so good, I found myself continually second guessing what I was doing and where I was headed only to see that I had executed my moves correctly but screwed myself over time and time again. Moving Ori from one point to another while avoiding spikes or enemies can sometimes require a little bit of finesse but rest assured the he responds well to direction, which is very good because later in the game, you’ll be launching Ori through sections of the game and tight controls are a must.
As the game progresses, the gamer will learn new moves by killing enemies, finding secrets and leveling up his skills. Each skill becomes an important piece of Ori’s arsenal of moves as each one presents the ability to overcome different challenges (ie: double jump or the ability to wall jump just to name a few). The game itself hearkens back to the platformers from the 80’s (boy am I ever dating myself here) on the NES (think Metroid or Castlevania). The world is quite large with areas locked away until Ori learns specific moves or finds enough keys to unlock the doors.
They can also create their own save points called “Soul Links” which the player can use at will so long as their meter has filled up by finding orbs of light. Personally I found the ability to save when I wanted both a refreshing and frustrating experience. Due to the fact that so many of the puzzles and levels require trial and error, you’ll find yourself dying multiple times often coming to the realization that you’d either forgotten to save or was unable to save. Frustrating at times? Absolutely. Game breaking? Not a chance.
Ori and the Blind Forest is a charming little title that is an absolute pleasure to play through. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s challenging and fun to play.
Feed Your Console gives Ori and the Blind Forest a 9 out of 10
Stunning Animation and graphics
Emotional Story and outstanding music
Trial and error puzzles can be extremely frustrating and plentiful