“Welcome to B4UPlay! Your ideal destination for all things sequels and prequels. To help get your priorities straight we thought it would be awesome to bring you insight reviews of original titles as we get ourselves warmed up for everything coming up and to get you ready for your next pre-order!” In this B4UPlay we take you through the world of Ori and the Blind Forest in preparation for the 2019 release of Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
Score 8/10 PUZZLE | PLATFORM | ADVENTURE
‘Beautiful, whimsical, emotive and tragic are not enough words to describe the opening to Ori and the Blind Forest.’
Throwing you into the deep end with a story sequence flowing through loss, finding new hope, love and tragic loss again, Ori holds no punches with it’s beautiful art style and expert execution of a truly unique game in the market.
Created by Moon Studios, an independent Studio founded by ex Blizzard and Animation Lab employees it is easy to see the talent that has come together under the banner and the dedication that has gone into creating the unique style behind the Ori series. Moon Studios is currently working on the next addition to the story with Ori and The Will of the Wisps due 2019.
Beginning in the forest alone and injured gameplay quickly ramps up to take you through some of the most challenging game sequences I have encountered since the days of seeking the Red gem in Crash Bandicoot.
Requiring exceptional timing and dexterity, the controls in Ori are unforgiving on missing timing or accidental combinations, if you are a parent planning to buy this game for anyone but yourself, be prepared to have a controller handed to you for large portions of the game. This is also one of the rare games with no auto save function, requiring the player to choose when to save and hoping you have enough energy to do so, it can lead to an added frustration acing and area and not having enough energy to save.
Setting the scene for the problem solving and control required for certain sections of the game, as you progress you collect additional skills on top of the progression through the skill tree – at the peak you have the ability to triple jump, nothing too fancy, it certainly does not amount to flying and then you are faced with this.
The soundtrack is subtle and a beautiful accompaniment to the bright colours and high definition animation throughout the areas and is a much needed relaxing influence in the moments when you just miss that jump by just that little bit…..again.
One of the most rewarding sections to complete will be the Forlorn Ruins – combining timing, problem solving and adding in the extra challenge of throwing laws of physics in the bin, my best advice for completion is to throw all shame in the bin with those useless physics laws and spin your body to match Ori’s movements. No-one will know you are a grown woman upside down on your lounge as you try to wrap your head around reversed gravity controls, if they do make fun, offer them the controller.
Following a standard dynamic of collecting health and power additions the game contains no ‘boss fights’ as such but bases more around escape sequences that grow in difficulty as you proceed through restoring the forest to it’s former glory. There is also no life limit with Ori just respawning at your last save point..if you have remembered to make one recently.
For those that do reach the scene from the game in the picture below you will appreciate the fate of this review that almost never came to be as I made the 86th attempt at that final leap, one last jump, one last bit of energy to save after being chased to the death through the burning woods by the vengeful and all seeing giant Owl called Kuro, then my Xbox froze sending me back to the final chamber of Mount Horu.
Overall, whilst testing my every will to play video games ever again, Ori was a beautiful unique and alluring game to play. Unfortunately I feel the controls and immediate difficulty spike were a detractor for the complete experience and perhaps for those not used to complex character movements with the addition of things that shoot fire are you, start off on easy.
For this playthrough I had difficulty set as normal, playthrough of 11 hours and only 915 deaths overall…..
Ori and the Will of the Wisps previewed at E3 2018 but has no official release date until 2019. Ori and the Blind Forest is currently available on Xbox & Steam for around $30 AU.