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Genre: Puzzle, Platformer, Adventure – Fantasy
Developer: Moon Studios
Release Date: March 11, 2015
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360 Games Store, Xbox One
Let’s Player: Cryaotic
Some spoilers for the beginning.
Ori and the Blind Forest is a beautiful Metroidvania game that had me weeping within the first ten minutes. That beats Up’s record.
The moment the game starts, you’re sucked into another world, and everything about it facilitates this journey: the painting-like scenery of forest, the ethereal music, and the instantly endearing relationship between Ori, who fell out of the Spirit Tree during a storm, and his adoptive mother Naru who could’ve stepped straight out of a Miyazaki movie.
Within five minutes or so, we see a cataclysmic event that causes the forest and its resources to wither, and Naru dies in ensuring her child is provided for, orphaning the poor creature once again. However, Ori, too, soon succumbs near the very Spirit Tree from which he originally fell. The Tree revives him and later Ori meets Sein who serves as both guide and guardian to the little creature on his quest to restore balance and light the forest of Nibel, which, true to its name (and keeping with prior references), has trials of mist (and fire). There are of course enemies desperate to uphold the shadow, which Ori must either fight or avoid as he may through the twisting maze of woods, but the end is both bittersweet and heartbreaking when the true reasons behind one of his greatest foes comes to light.
Then there’s the soundtrack…
The instant my ears were treated to this opening marvel I knew I’d found something. My initial thought was to turn off the let’s play and purchase the game immediately, but I’m glad I didn’t. I hath not the skills, which Cry clearly honed, as you can see below (some explicit language).
Yeah…I can’t do that, though the game is very generous with its checkpoints. Regardless, this is why I love Let’s Plays; they let me experience games I either don’t have the time or the skills to play.
Periodically, during the journey through Nibel, Ori will come across skills “left behind” by those before. This is where the Metroidvania aspect comes into play, as new skills will require backtracking to pick up items hitherto unreachable items or areas that could not be prior explored.
I have nothing bad to say about this game; there are no critiques to give, so if you were looking for some, you’ve come to the wrong place. Were it not for the challenge aspect, I’d play Ori and the Blind Forest myself, but its difficulty is not a slight against it, since it’s mitigated by the bountiful checkpoints. Were the game to send you back too far after a death then I’d say something about it being too hard (which is a factor other games should consider when deciding their level of challenge weighed against player irritation and the all too common rage quit), but while it might be frustrating to try and fail at a particular part, at least you don’t have to go through something else in order to re-arrive there.
I would almost buy this game to throw Moon Studios some money, because I want more games like this. It was a joy to watch, and I’m currently listening to the soundtrack as I write this review. It’s an excellent one for writing or editing in general, being so atmospheric and ambient. I cannot wait for the sequel Ori and the Wisps to drop. I’m anticipating that nearly as much as the continuation of The Last of Us, nor could I make a judgment call as to which one will break my heart more.
10/10 (I think I rate games on a 10 point scale. Whatever I rate them on, Ori receives the top marks).