Arguably one of the most beautiful games out there is getting a sequel soon, so here’s a reminder of where Ori originates from.
(WARNING: This review contains some minor spoilers for the game)
Ori and the Blind Forest first launched on March 11, 2015 and immediately received an astounding amount of praise, especially for its story, visuals, gameplay, and music; and no wonder. The visuals are some of the most beautiful I have personally ever seen; the sheer amount of detail in the backgrounds alone is staggering. The music, composed by Gareth Coker, is absolutely stunning, all the way from the orchestral backgrounds to the beautiful vocals by Aeralie Brighton. The story itself is touching enough to make a big man (yes, I’m talking about myself) cry within the first few minutes of the game and doesn’t let one down at any point.
The story takes place in the mystical forest of Nibel, where creatures both big and small live in relative peace, all watched over by the great Spirit Tree and its guardian spirits. After some cataclysmic events, the forest is left withered and dead and almost all the guardian spirits are gone, all except for Ori, the main protagonist of the game, who was raised as an orphan and knows nothing of their origins as a child of the Spirit Tree. Even so, they must now face the dangers of the “blinded” forest of Nibel and return the light to its inhabitants.
The main gist of the game after the somewhat lengthy, yet beautiful introduction is to explore the forest with Sein, a friendly spirit, unlocking new abilities and powerups for Ori while they attempt to revive the dead realm. There is, of course, an antagonist in the game: Kuro, a gigantic dark owl who hates the light of the Spirit Tree and tries her hardest to catch and kill Ori before they manage to revive the forest.
Although the game might sound like your usual run-of-the-mill platformer, what I think sets Ori and the Blind Forest apart from other games of this genre is the absolute smoothness the whole creation adheres to. In a world as large as the forest of Nibel, one would expect to see loading screens between portions of the map, but Ori can run, jump, and glide all around the map without worrying about such interruptions. Ori’s movements are streamlined and beautiful to look at. There is never just one route from place A to place B and the possibilities of how one makes their way around the obstacles and enemies, whether utilizing Ori’s ever-growing list of abilities or not, are almost limitless.
The game, while challenging, especially on harder difficulties, is a great experience for anyone and everyone. It has a PEGI rating of 7, so while it may have its scary points, it is suitable for all audiences. All in all, Ori and the Blind Forest is definitely one of the best games I’ve ever laid my hands on, and I for one am eagerly looking towards Ori’s next adventure in Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Moon Studios GmbH
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
Release date: March 11, 2015
Genres: Platform adventure, action
PEGI Rating: 7