A great game gets even better. Ori and the Blind Forest ranked as one of my favorite games of 2015. Stunning graphics, beautiful music and sometimes brutal gameplay made for an experience I won’t soon forget. I returned for another trip through the breathtaking world recently, and the game is still a stunner.
Moon Studios returns to Ori and the Blind Forest with a Definitive Edition. The core game is still here, along with some new tools and another gorgeous environment.
Haven’t tried Ori yet? Here’s what you’re missing out on. Ori and the Blind Forest is a Metroidvania platform game. The world has seen better days, and it’s up to you (Ori) and the help of a floating orb called Sien to restore it.
I know, it’s not the most original idea – but Moon Studios combines fantastic gameplay, beautiful art and a superb score into one of the best platformers in years. The story is an afterthought as you sit staring at the beautiful, handcrafted world Moon Studios created.
A 2D platformer might appear simple at first glance. But fans of the genre know better. Ori and the Blind Forest will test you, and the infamous chase sequences will attempt to break you. Lucky for us, the Definitive Edition gives Ori and a pair of new tricks that makes some of these sections slightly easier.
Ori gets a pair of new abilities (Dash and Light Burst) that are tailor made for the new environment – Black Root Burrows – but are also handy throughout the entire game.
Dash is just what it sounds like. A quick dash to get you out of harm’s way, or jump into the action even quicker. I liked it for another reason. It makes those controller tossing chase sequences a bit more manageable. You either feel like a savant during these chase bits, or you hit a brick wall. There’s no middle ground. At least, Dash makes sure you die quicker… It’s a natural addition and you’ll be using it constantly.
A handful of upgrades is also available letting you Dash in mid-air and using it to charge through enemies.
Light Burst is tricky to get the hang of at first. It’s basically a small grenade you can use to attack enemies with. But, you can also use it to light lanterns spread out across the world – revealing small secret areas and unlocking doors. It’s a cool way to make the second trip (or your first) feel fresh.
The tricky part is combining Light Burst with your Bash ability. Since Light Burst counts as a projectile, you can jump towards it and then use your Bash ability to jump again. It’s the video game equivalent of patting your head and rubbing your stomach, but you’ll eventually get the hang of it.
Lost Grove steals the show
Black Root Burrows and Lost Grove give you two new environments to jump, sling and blast your way through. Words don’t do these amazing environments justice. Here are several images I captured as I ventured through them.
Black Root Burrows
Both look fantastic, but Lost Grove is the standout with just the sheer amount of vivid colors throughout. Black Root Burrows starts out dark but thankfully doesn’t last. After carrying around a light orb for a few minutes, the area lights up.
Don’t pass on Ori and the Blind Forest
I know the sheer amount of games out right now is ridiculous. Who has time to lose themselves in Stellaris and Total War: Warhammer when DOOM and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End are calling? But don’t pass on Ori and the Blind Forest.
Whether you’re revisiting or seeing it for the first time, Ori and the Blind Forest is a rare game. I can’t think of anything negative to say about it. Yeah, the story isn’t exactly original, but the amount of polish Moon Studios put into everything else can’t be ignored.
From gorgeous graphics to amazing music and fun gameplay, Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition has it all. And the new gameplay mechanics aren’t one-off additions. That infamous water chase scene is still hell, but you’ll be acing it in no time with Dash.