Reaching the top three in weekly Steam sellers, Ori and the Blind Forest lives up to its popularity. Every inch of this game is visually stunning. I can honestly say I haven’t seen a game as beautiful in a long time, if not to date. You’ll fall in love with this game from the opening and only continue to be impressed. Not stopping at its outstanding graphic design, the story of Ori unfolds immediately. A Spirit Guardian orphaned and adopted by Naru, a creature of the forest who mothers and cares for the lost child. Soon later, Ori finds itself in an adventure that will save the dying land it calls home.
The story of Ori manages to rekindle a youth in any player seeking immersion. During the game, your heartstrings will be pulled and you’ll find yourself transfixed by the beauty seen not only in environment, but the characters themselves. As a platformer, this new experience pushes its genre to new heights of inspiration. It is such a new experience from other games of its nature. You could compare its gameplay to that of Trine with an added element of character development – It’s rare to care and relate to a character of a platformer, but this game creates that connection with ease.
The gameplay itself is actually challenging. You’ll find yourself solving puzzles using not only your own ability, but those of your enemies. The map design is such that you’ll backtrack to find new areas accessible only after completing content further along in the story. Exploring the gorgeous scenery further and delving deeper into the forest setting of the game was a forever exciting aspect rather than the task you might expect when revisiting already explored areas. This is because you never really feel as though you’ve fully explored the forest you’ve passed through. It always seems to have something more to offer.
Ori develops his abilities throughout the game using experience gathered by defeating the enemies you face on your adventure. You’ll unlock skills not only through these means, but also as the story develops. New powers can be found when visiting Spirit Trees. These new powers will aid Ori in solving new puzzles, such as a double jump ability that can allow you to reach new areas previously out of reach. The puzzle solving element of the game ranges from originally fun to frustratingly difficult. The challenge of completing these puzzles will keep anyone seeking to grapple with tough mechanics interested throughout. Puzzles can often seem fast paced. You’ll find yourself rushing to best your challenge in order to reach what lies on the other side simply because the story would demand it.
Lastly, the game offers several different methods of play style, yet another feature that makes this original from any of its genre. Resources can be acquired throughout the game that would allow you to save your progress after challenging areas. Should you decide against this, you will be rewarded. New areas can be unlocked by accessing spirit doors that use the same resource. This can lead players to choose a cautious route, using minimal saves in order to unlock everything the game has to offer. If you choose against this, the game can still be played out to its fullest. You may miss out on a bit of experience and environment, but your story will continue unhindered.
My personal reaction to this game was one of immense appreciation. The game is original in every sense and at no point did the platformer become a task. Every moment is enjoyable, from the fantastic story-telling to the hair tearing puzzles. Enemies are rich in design and concept, especially when adding the aspect of using their own abilities as a means to progress. Emotions ran high from the outset. Character development presents a brand-new flavour for its genre that it accomplished with ease. On top of this, I’ll mention again the jaw-dropping visual beauty this game has to offer. The soundtrack to this game accompanies its story perfectly. Transition is seamless and the pieces themselves are of a rare quality. Ori and the Blind Forest tops my favourite game to be released within the last couple of years. Should you decide to pick it up on Steam or console, I hope you share such an experience.
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