Reviewed by @Brett_SevenDaze
- Developer: Moon Studios GmbH
- Publisher: Microsoft Studios
- Release Date: 27/09/2019
- Price: £14.99 / $19.99
- Review code provided by Microsoft
Ori has been on my radar for a while now. Probably since it was first released back in 2015 but I have been unable to play it due to not owning an X-Bone, but the guys over at Microsoft have ever so kindly let the big N in on the fun. With Cuphead being released earlier this year it’s definitely interesting to see the friendship between the two gaming giants unfold. Who knows, I might finally get to play Sunset Overdrive.
When given the opportunity to review Ori and the Blind Forest no one had prepared me for the emotional roller-coaster I was about to ride. The opening scene alone was agonising to watch. If Moon Studio’s main objective was to make a fully grown man shed a tear then they nearly succeeded, I mean it is up there with Mufasa’s death or UP! and that is no exaggeration.
The storyline is gripping and will suck you straight in. To watch the story through to the end is enough reason to pick up this title alone. The plot is about a young Ori who was taken in by Naru a giant, gentle creature during a storm. Their friendship grows fonder and they both become inseparable until a tragic accident destroys the forest. Food becomes more sparse and Naru’s dies from starvation. To restore the forest it is down to Ori to collect 3 elements; Water, Wind and warmth.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
Ori And The Blind Forest is a Metroidvania style game in which you need to learn certain abilities to progress through the game so there is a sense of open-worldness to Ori. The map is huge so travelling from one side to the other can feel a bit of a chore so the warp pads are very welcoming, especially once you have completed the main story and you want to hop around the world collecting ability cells and unlocking the built-in achievements……. Yes, achievements. You can also link your Xbox live account which lets you participate in the online leaderboards and you can add the in-game achievements to your Xbox Live gamerscore. Not owning an Xbox I had to create an account to access the leaderboard. At the time of writing this review, the leaderboard feels broken. The same players in the top ten has the same percentage and time spent as you, throughout the game.
To help Ori through the epic journey there are cells scattered throughout the map to collect which can be exchanged for abilities, pressing – will access the ability tree. The abilities can be used to improve combat, defence and efficiency from breathing underwater to increasing attack strength. There are also skills to learn which can aid you through the game like double jump and Kuro’s feather which lets you glide through the air.
Instantly Loveable Character
Moon Studio has created a unique and special experience. The soundtrack is beautiful and complements the game perfectly. The art style reminds me that of a studio Ghibli masterpiece and even though Ori doesn’t speak, the tiny spirit oozes personality. The gameplay is smooth, I love the amount of detail that has gone into every movement from the paddling motion when in the water to the spiral effect when Ori is jumping through the air. You can instantly tell a lot of love and affection has gone into creating this title. My main gripe with the game is that it can be a tad too difficult in places which is fine as you gain a sense of achievement but it could potentially be off-putting for the younger player. Another issue I have is the map it can be a little awkward to see where you are actually heading, this is down to the transition between the main forest overview and the paths as you zoom in and out.
Not only has Ori been released on the Switch, but we have also been spoilt a little bit by being given the definitive edition which is packed full of extra content including brand new areas to explore and new abilities.
Ori and The Blind Forest: Definitive Edition is a great game with a gripping storyline. The gameplay is smooth but can be challenging in parts causing some moments where you just want to give up and throw those Joy-cons at the wall, but if you can persevere, the game and storyline is very rewarding. If you are fans of Hollow Knight or Yoku’s Island Express then I would definitely recommend this title. Especially for the amount of content you are receiving for the price. There are many hours to be had especially with the addition of achievements and being able to link your Xbox Live account. So get those Man-Sized tissues at the ready and prepare yourself to be an emotional wreck as you take Ori on an unforgettable adventure to restore the forest of Nibil.
• Gripping storyline
• Soundtrack is amazing
• Gameplay is nearly flawless
• Packed full of content
• Can be difficult in places especially for the younger audience
• Leaderboard didn’t seem to work correctly
• The map can be awkward to navigate
A near-perfect Metroidvania style game that pulls on the heartstrings. With the epic storytelling, beautifully written soundtrack and polished gameplay, you will find it hard to put down those Joy-Cons.