Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a Metroidvania platform-adventure game developed by Moon Studios and released in 2020. It is a sequel to the critically acclaimed Ori and the Blind Forest. You play as Ori, a spirit who is looking for their friend Ku, an owl, who was lost in a terrible storm. To find their friend Ori must travel through a beautiful but perilous world filled with friendly critters, angry monsters, vistas worthy of paintings, and challenges that threaten the lives of innocent gamepads.
As soon as you start the game you will be met with the game’s main attractions: visuals, and music. This is easily one of the most beautiful games I have ever played. The stunning art style carries over from the last game and the developers know how to use it. They do not shy away from showing you this world in all its colorful glory every chance they get. The other half of this audio-visual experience is the soundtrack by Gareth Coker. The music in this game flows like water with the gameplay: from calm peaceful moments to intense rushes of stress and wonder. This is one of the few soundtracks that I’ve kept listening to even after finishing the game.
As a typical Metroidvania, the core gameplay loop consists of two-dimensional platforming and exploration in an interconnected world accompanied by frequent combat encounters. Occasionally this loop is interrupted by cutscenes and linear escape scenarios that the player must survive to move forward. These scripted sequences do a good job of mixing up gameplay and introducing additional difficulty and fast-paced puzzle-solving to an otherwise easy-flowing adventure. Unfortunately, some of these can feel repetitive, as there is only one correct solution to them. Forcing the player to look for the one elusive piece to the puzzle, as they die and respawn over and over, will cause frustration.
As you progress, Ori will unlock new abilities. These abilities give you access to new areas and help you traverse the world and fight enemies. As an improvement from the first game, you can now choose up to three active abilities that you use while others stay in reserve. You can swap these abilities in and out at any given time, allowing for a quick change of strategy on the fly. This lets the player shape their playstyle without limiting their options or forcing them to commit to a certain approach. Combat offers a good challenge by default and difficulty is adjustable, so players should be able to find a comfortable setting that suits their gameplay needs.
Despite its presentation and action, the story is quite simple and unoriginal. A straightforward adventure about friendship with a few emotional moments in between. The game mostly uses visual storytelling accompanied by narration and speech by other characters. Regardless, this game is an easy recommendation for anyone who enjoys action platformers, and the audio-visual presentation is some of the best in gaming.
Game: Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Developer: Moon Studios
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Release Date: March 11, 2020
Genre: Platform-adventure, Metroidvania
All images were taken in-game by the author.
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