At first glance I assumed that Ori and the Blind Forest was going to be a typical indie platformer (albeit a really good-looking one) where the gameplay only exists to move the story along but boy was I wrong. Ori and the Blind Forest is a platform adventure game developed by Moon Studios and published by Microsoft Studios. It follows Ori, a forest spirit who has been tasked with restoring balance to forest.
Ori plays like a typical Metroidvania style game with light RPG elements ( i.e a skill tree) but with pixel perfect controls. The accuracy of the controls is really important because contrary to my prior assessment Ori is highly gameplay focused.
Ori is gameplay focused in the best possible way. It focuses on actual platforming and puzzle solving to progress through the game! Something I feel has been lost with a lot of recent platformers that focus heavily on combat. Combat exists in Ori and is used quite frequently but, it’s obvious it’s not the focus of the game. Puzzles are purely based on platforming skill and don’t let the pretty art style of the game fool you this game is hard.
Well the game is challenging and it doesn’t feature the option to change difficulty setting. It all makes sense when you add in the ingenious save mechanic. In addition to various checkpoints throughout the world players can create “soul links” at any time they choose to serve as save points, but they use a resource collected throughout the game that is not in abundant supply. This allows you to put down a save point right at the tricky part you have been stuck at so you don’t have to run all the way back there from the games allotted checkpoints which are quite sparse.
The map in Ori is quite daunting at first, but in true Metroidvania fashion once you unlock a few abilities moving around the map is a dream. This allows you to explore the map with ease and makes it enjoyable to return to a previous area and explore new things that previously you couldn’t access. This is a Metroidvania game through and through don’t let the cute graphics fool you.
Ori and the Blind forest is a special game. The art style makes you feel like you’re playing a Disney movie, the core game mechanics are super smooth making nothing seem like ‘a grind’ and its simple but engrossing story all meld together to create quite a lasting impression.