After getting lost in the world of Ori and the Blind Forest, and looking up at the clock to see that two hours had gone by, I realized how much I’ve missed this kind of game. I don’t think Ori is a perfect example of the…ugh, “Metroidvania” genre (Can someone come up with a new name for that please? Thanks.) but it’s one that isn’t afraid to try some new things, and look real good doing them.
2015 has been a blessing of refreshing games, and between this and Life is Strange, it’s nice to have games that make you feel something other than blind rage. Ori has an intro that’s as close as games have gotten to a Pixar short, and had me feeling emotions(!) just moments after looking at the title screen. A title screen that is, astonishing, as it shares the same beauty as the rest of the game. Moon Studios spins a beautiful tale of a mother and her adopted child in about the same amount of time it takes to download the latest patch for [AAA budget shooter].
If you haven’t seen Ori in action, do yourself the favor. You’re likely to hear more about how the game looks than how it plays, and that’s just fine. Every backdrop of Ori is a work of art, and as I jumped around through the environments collecting power-ups, I constantly had to slow down and revel in how good it looks. The play, for the most part, is typical fare for the genre. Run around a giant map, collect some upgrades, use upgrades to traverse more of the map and find new upgrades. It’s fun, fine, and for me, just enough to keep me going. More wrinkles add up as you progress, and one ability that rewards you with speed boosts for well-timed dodges allows for some excellent, innovative platforming segments, and is probably my second favorite thing (aside from the visuals, of course) about the game. Also, you can save wherever you want, so the difficult sections that make use of Ori’s fluid movement are only as time consuming as the last time you remembered to hold B.
I’ve yet to finish the game, but I’m working my way towards the end, if only to see how creative the platforming and environments will get. With a measly 6 or so hours under my belt, I can recommend Ori and the Blind Forest to anyone who wants to play a tough, creative, Metroid-appreciating piece of art. I know that’s not everybody, but it’s very, very much me.
And, hey, a reason to turn on your Xbox One? Whoa.