To those who disagree that video games are art, Ori and the Blind Forest provides a pretty damn good reason to make those folks change their minds. Within the first few minutes of the game, you are moved in a way that is very hard for games to pull off. Ori and the Blind Forest is emotional, beautiful, and challenging.
You control Ori, who is a glowing little creature just trying to find its way in the world. The forest is in peril, so the heart of the forest must be found. If light is not restored, all is lost. The story is very unique, as it is told mostly all through scenery.
Most of this game looks like a Studio Ghibli film. It is one of the most beautiful games currently available. Despite being a 2D platformer, the environment always feels like something you’ve never experienced in a game before. The gorgeous score only helps add to what is a remarkable and unique adventure.
Being a 2D platformer, many points in the game are difficult. We’re not talking Super Meat Boy or Volgarr The Viking difficult, but it still has its moments. The game keeps you wanting to get past super hard parts without feeling like it’s impossible. The game also has a fairly large skill tree, allowing you to unlock new abilities and revisit old areas. Using these new abilities to get past previous difficult areas is always satisfying. They allow you to interact with the environment and access hidden areas. One of the early abilities is allowing Ori to climb up walls, for example.
One of the most unique parts of Ori and the Blind Forest is the save system. Throughout the game, Ori acquires resources for killing enemies. This resource can be used to upgrade your abilities. Alternatively, you can use it to save whenever you want. It makes you want to choose wisely when you reach a difficult part or feel the need to save. In the end game, it doesn’t matter as much because energy resources are very plentiful. This is welcomed, though, as later parts of the game are much more difficult.I would like to see more games be influenced by this unique system.
However, there were definitely times where I got a little frustrated with the design flow. For example, the game has three segments where you are not allowed to save at all. Each of these has a part where you are timed. You have to complete the objective in a single shot, otherwise you will fail. It sort of changes up the pace and while that could have been beneficial, this seems a bit forced by relying on a familiar trope in gaming.
Never feeling too difficult while making sure you are pleasantly frustrated, Ori and the Blind Forest more than does its job at living up to the hype. Considering the game was made by a very small team, it should hopefully send a positive ripple through developers everywhere. Ultimately, it joins its place as one of the better new age “Metroidvania’s,” more than holding its own in the category. A moving experience with a story told only through clever pieces and gorgeous artwork, Ori and the Blind Forest is an absolute steal at $20. It is one of the best games so far on the current generation.
Ori and the Blind Forest was reviewed using a digital copy provided by Microsoft*
Ori and the Blind Forest welcomes a new age of platformers by taking its place as the best one in the last few years.