There aren’t many games that can marry visuals, gameplay, and even conjure emotion reactions like Ori and The Blind Forest. What once looked like it may be a neat downloadable distraction for Xbox One and PC has proven to be one of the best in the entire genre. Visually, it’s nothing short of exceptional, gameplay is incredibly satisfying and, possibly most importantly, it’s unapologetically challenging.
In Ori and the Blind Forest, you control a small little creature named Ori. After finding itself lost, a much bigger creature takes it in to look after Ori. The forest however is in a lot of trouble and survival becomes almost impossible. Without going into it too much, the opening of the game is one of the most powerful and heart-wrenching beginnings in a game for some time which is rather surprising given the game’s genre.
Once getting into the main part of the game, it’s very quick to notice just how fluid Ori moves. Animation is flawless as Ori and the inhabitants of the forest moves with such magic and majesty. Every character has a sense of real personality just by the way they move in the world.
As I’ve already mentioned, Ori is a difficult game. Death is a certainty at almost every major area. It’s introduction is light and fun but as the game introduces new obstacles and abilities, you are tasked with getting better at them almost immediately. To alleviate the frustrations accompanied by dying over and over again, Ori allows you to create a save point anywhere you want in the world. Should you die and go back five minutes, the onus is on you for not creating a save point.
The structure of Ori will be immediately reference to the MedtroidVania games and it makes total sense. You will unlock abilities, notice there are things you cannot do or obtain yet, unlock them later down the road and allow you to return to finally get them. There is not fast travel in the world; however, moving around is so fast and fluid that you won’t even mind about killing that same spider for the tenth time.
You don’t have weapons really, mostly just the one that allows you to shoot little fire balls. You can charge this and create a blast but it uses up some of the pool that you utilise to save the game meaning management and prioritising what is needed comes into play.
What makes Ori so special though is not just the visuals, or gameplay, or even the incredible music – It’s how every aspect compliments each other, makes each stronger. The control of Ori feels better because of its animation, getting around the world is improved but the stunning visuals, and moving through the same area multiple times is enjoyable due to the stellar music. It all comes together in a symphony of gaming bliss.
There’s not enough games that look, play, or make you feel like Ori and The Blind Forest does. But right now, it’s enough to know that this at least exists and is easily one of the best experiences you can have for the dozen or so hours it takes to do everything.