Imagine a forest where shining lights dance on the trees, where the ground and plants explode with all the colours of the rainbow. Now imagine a score, swaying in harmony with the environment, its delicate beauty accentuating the lush world, feel the anguish as it shifts and the darkness overcomes the light, what was once beautiful is now a blind withered forest.
These are the first images of Ori and the Blind Forest, a stunning platformer that has truly captured my heart. You play as a teeny, white creature named Ori who is sent to save the forest from the looming Owl whom is hell-bent on its destruction. You must save each tree that represents the elements – water, fire and air – and restore balance to this paradise before it’s too late.
Now the absolute first thing you notice about this game is how incredibly pretty it is. The art style is phenomenal; from the enemies you encounter to the powerful colour schemes employed for the different environments, each still could be hung in a gallery.
My jaw dropped when I began this game and there were many moments where I just had to stop and stare at all the things this game had to offer. It also has an immersive soundtrack that perfectly fit into every new area, action sequence and story moment; keeping me sucked in the entire time I played.
The music is so effective that even when I had stopped playing these tunes still swirled around in my mind, reminding me of the game. The score still rattled around in my head
Ori and the Blind Forest is incredible and not just in an artistic sense.
This is one of the strongest platformers I have ever played, offering an experience on par with Rayman Legends or Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze. It is challenging, at times feeling incredibly unfair, but the controls are so polished that you know every mistake is entirely your fault. The gameplay is split between helping Ori defeat new enemies by avoiding their projectile attacks and avoiding traps and other follies in the environment; one false move and Ori is dead!
The save system adds pressure to the game because there are no checkpoints. Instead you collect spirit to form “Soul Links” that let you save anywhere in the game. The effective use of this ability is crucial to success as there is always a new challenge lurking around the corner.
I have one gripe with this system and it’s during the infuriating escape sequences. These fast paced sections must be completed in one run otherwise you must start again from the beginning and never in these areas does it let you produce a soul link, which would be fine if these rare sections weren’t so cheap.
This world and its areas are quite hard and Ori is a fragile creature, with very little health. It doesn’t take much to send Ori to its death especially since you may encounter new places that aren’t intended for your level, which I managed to do quite a bit. For a while I found this reddish area that had creatures shooting out lasers, green, rolling rhinos knocking me out at every turn and these reddish blobs shooting billions of projectiles at once. These were all intended for a much later date and I only found it because the entire game is set on one huge map.
This map evolves as you unlock new abilities exposing areas that hid in secret. It covers an enormous area that sadly has no fast-travel so you’ll have to manually make your way through areas all over again, which didn’t bother me too much since I got to see these amazing places again filled with sweet memories.
There are many moments of Ori and the Blind Forest that stick strongly in my mind, and despite its difficulty I want to play it all over again and explore every single section on the map.
This clever and gorgeous game is shaping up to be a strong contender for the best game of 2015.
Ori and the Blind Forest is a platformer set in a creative and bright world set on a huge map, begging for you to explore it. It can be incredibly difficult, but that is all part of the challenge and makes you want to improve skills. This game is stunning in every way and is the most enjoyable gaming experience I’ve had this year.
- Beautiful setting with a stunning art style
- Challenging level design
- Beautiful soundtrack
This Xbox One digital copy was provided by Xbox Australia.