Ori and the blind forest is a metroidvania style adventure platformer by Moon studios, it’s the company’s first game and it’s a hell of a good start.
Ori plays incredibly similar to drinkbox’s 2013 game Guacamelee, but swapping wrestlers for a more fantasy setting, and skeletons for weird piles of alien goop and worms. You’ll play through the game with the aim of awakening 3 monuments, and travel through many different locations to do so, each of them fairly self contained yet joining up with other areas organically and without load screens. You’ll get new powers at regular intervals which will let you bypass old obstacles and introduce new mechanics to deal with – it’s all pretty standard fare, with no big twists or innovations along the way.
The game features a skill tree (of course) and the ability to save/checkpoint anywhere provided you have the necessary energy to do so (and you usually will). Perhaps because of this checkpoint anywhere system, Moon studios have decided to ramp the difficulty up to an almost meatboy level – enemies hit hard and shotgun projectiles rather than simply ‘get in the way’, and environmental hazards deal ridiculous damage if not kill you outright. As you progress you’ll quickly have access to wall jumps, slow fall, double jump and all the other mechanics which lead to some pretty ridiculous level scenarios. One of the abilities in particular, let you catapult yourself off a projectile – so naturally there are entire segments that could be confused for a bullet hell game. The checkpoints do alleviate things somewhat, but particularly in the lategame and certain crescendo segments at the end of each monument, there are plenty of moments which will have you frustrated.
As you can probably see from the screenshots, Ori is stunningly pretty, with a distinct colour palette for each area, layered 2d graphics and lots of small effects which quickly add up. What you probably can’t see from the screenshots, is the soundtrack, which is also impressive and plays more like a movie soundtrack than one from a video game.
There is some story, though don’t expect a movie interpretation any time soon, majority of the storytelling is done in game through a narrator, which means you generally won’t have to slow down for the game to tell it’s story too, which I approve of.
The game lasts around 5 hours, maybe more if you die a lot or go full completionist (I finished at 4hrs 47, and apparently achieved 92% completion, with 222 deaths) This can be seen as both a plus and minus I suppose, the game definitely doesn’t outstay it’s welcome, and the directors clearly had a good idea of exactly what they wanted their story to tell, and all of the areas they wanted in the game. However some may feel the game is a tad too short (I kind of like my metroidvanias short and sweet anyway). There is little replay value however, aside from speedrunning, the game doesn’t even seem to let you continue a completed save, let alone have any form of new game plus mode or higher difficulty setting.
Pretty few complaints to be found, controls were tight, no bugs during my playthrough, monster variety could have been better, and the combat starts off rather slow and enemies have a little too much health, no difficulty settings mean its likely not everyone will complete the game (as it genuinely is pretty hard).
Ori and the blind forest is a great example of a platformer that puts gameplay first, it’s an incredibly solid game, and while not particularly innovative, the overall quality of the game and experience mean you’ll just be happy to be along for the ride. Ps. It’s really hard.
Approximate Game Length : 5 Hours
Actual Worth / Steam Price: £12 / £15 = 0.8
Should you play it : Yes