419 times. That’s the number of times I died playing Ori and The Blind Forest. I hurled plenty of f-bombs and thought of throwing my Xbox out the window during the game’s three ‘chase’ scenes. Moon Studios makes it look easy in the video below.
Ori and The Blind Forest is a beautiful game. A beautiful game where you die. A lot. It’s a game that demands perfect execution. And, you will give it – or die trying.
Who Made It?
Since 2011, Moon Studios has been developing Ori and The Blind Forest. Moon Studios doesn’t operate like your typical studio. All the developers are located all over the world. It’s game development done remotely.
Moon Studios formed with one vision. “We make games we’d love to play. And we hope you will too.”
Moon Studios’ gameplay inspirations come from A Link to the Past and Super Metroid. Popular animated films including The Lion King and The Iron Giant influenced Ori and the Blind Forest’s story.
What Is It?
Ori and the Blind Forest is a ‘Metroidvania.’ Moon Studios lean more towards platforming and a sprinkle of light RPG elements. Ori starts off easy. You jump. You attack things. Piece of cake. The platforming hits a whole new level once you unlock ‘double jump’ and ‘bash.’
Ori’s story isn’t revolutionizing. The forest of Nibel has seen better days. A massive storm is killing it, and our hero must save the day. Nothing new here, but Moon Studios tells it well with beautiful music and animation. Moon Studios uses a ‘less is more’ approach and it pays off.
Ori and The Blind Forest Review
A Digital Painting. Ori and The Blind Forest is a gorgeous game. You know it before you make it past the title screen. The forest of Nibel is beautifully detailed, and each area has its own vibe. Whether it’s dark and mysterious or full of lava, Ori’s art style is amazing.
Gareth Coker handled the music for Ori and The Blind Forest and did an amazing job. There’s nothing else to say. Just listen to it.
You can check out the soundtrack on Spotify.
I enjoyed Ori’s story. It’s simple, but Moon Studios does a great job utilizing animation, graphics and music to bring it together. It feels like your favorite animated films from the 90s.
Ori Can Jump. Do you like platformers? Do you also like a challenge? Then you will enjoy Ori and The Blind Forest. It starts off simple with just a basic jump. But, then you unlock double jump and bash. Bash lets you latch onto an enemy or projectile in midair and launch off of it. Your first taste of how important it is comes during the water chase scene. Mastering this technique is a must in the second half of the game.
I found myself using bash as an offensive weapon later on. Grabbing an enemy (or projectile) and tossing them into another is easier and feels more fluid than the traditional combat system.
Other skills including Kuro’s Feather (float) and Charge Jump flesh out the rest of the platforming mechanic. By the end, you will be using every skill you unlocked.
Save. Save. Save. Saving works, when you use it. I can’t count the number of times I had to redo chunks of platforming because I forgot to save. Damn modern games for holding my hand.
You can save anywhere you want. The only limit is the amount of energy you have. Saving, or creating a ‘Soul Link,’ uses one energy. This same energy is also used for a charge attack, but there’s always plenty of it.
It’s a great mechanic, once you remember to use it.
Soul Links and Spirit Wells (static save points) are the only places you can access the Ability Tree. This RPG light system adds several abilities in three different categories. Some of these include being able to shoot two enemies at once and absorbing orbs instantly. Nothing dramatic, but you’ll want to try to max them out as you play.
Technical Hiccups. Ori and The Blind Forest did crash on me a few times when I first started playing the game. But, it never happened again once I started playing.
The game suffers from the occasional frame rate dip as well. It happened less than ten times during my 8-hour playthrough. The drop in framerate isn’t major and lasts not even a second. Just a slight stutter.
Basic Combat. Ori’s traditional combat is basic for the most part. Ori doesn’t fight. His floating companion orb does that for him with Spirit Flame. You can upgrade Spirit Flame to let you shoot two enemies at once, but it doesn’t go past mashing ‘X.’
I had more fun using Bash as an offensive weapon. Deflecting projectiles back on enemies, tossing enemies onto each other or into the water/lava felt more fluid.
Ori’s combat is what you make of it. The traditional attack can get boring, but Bash adds another layer.
These two criticisms are minor. Hell, I’m nitpicking with them. Ori and The Blind Forest is an incredible game. Moon Studios nailed nearly every aspect. The story, presentation and gameplay are all top notch. There are a couple of technical hiccups, but nothing that should scare you away.
You will get frustrated. You will want to throw your controller across the room. And, you will love Ori and The Blind Forest.
Disclaimer: Microsoft provided a review code for Ori and The Blind Forest (Xbox One). Ori is also on PC.