Every so often, a little game comes along that makes a big impact. Ever since it was first announced, Ori and the Blind Forest had a lot of promise and a lot of expectation. Luckily for us Xbox gamers, this would be an Xbox exclusive, starting on the One and eventually making its way over to 360 sometime in the future. What Mood Studios managed to create with Ori is something very special, and a game everyone who owns an Xbox should take time to experience.
You play the story as Ori, an orphan who got blown off your spirit tree in a storm. You are then guided by a light named Sein, who also serves as your attacking power, to find a way to restore your forest back to the way it should be by restoring the three elements; water, wind and fire. You’ll meet a variety of different obstacles and enemies on your path, which you will have to find a way to overcome to continue on. There’s a happy medium between easy and tough challenges, so Ori is perfect for both the more casual and pretty hardcore gamer.
You have a fairly big world to explore, which all links into one giant land with no loading screens between areas. You’ll be flying through the air, swimming underwater and climbing mountains and trees to find your way around with Ori. Some areas will be off limits to you until you unlock the skill necessary to get through to it, and others won’t be available until you get far enough through the story events. There are also specific areas you will only be allowed in for a short amount of time, so you’ll need to make sure you explore every corner of these areas to find secrets and collectibles before you leave.
Whilst Ori may only be a 2D game, the simplicity of this is overpowered by the beautiful graphics that you will be mesmerised by the whole way through the game. The bright colours make a great game even more amazing and the intricate details of the backgrounds, the enemies and the other friendly characters you meet along the way impress you more and more the further you get. From fiery volcanoes to deep underwater caves, each element shines brighter than the last.
When you’re not continuing on with the story, you’ll find spending your time uncovering the map and searching for collectibles. You’ve got life cells, energy cells, ability points and more to be finding along your journey. Some of these will be on your path but others will be in hidden areas that you will have to use your skills to get to. You will be able to unlock skills as you come across smaller trees that will grant you additional abilities, including bash and stomp. These skills can in turn be upgraded via the ability tree, as can your life and energy abilities.
You’ll be searching high and wide for these, especially if you are an achievement hunter. The achievement list is varied, covering story, collectible and random achievements. You’ll want to be finding all collectibles and upgrading every skill, as well as completing the story and killing numbers of enemies in certain ways. For the more hardcore gamers out there, you’ve also been challenged with completing the game with no deaths, using no ability points and in less than 3 hours. Are you up to the challenge?
Ori and the Blind Forest is a game that shouldn’t be missed by anyone. The story is simple but fascinating to follow, and it will tug at your heartstrings more than once along the way. It is a game that will keep you playing and exploring well into the night and you won’t regret sinking more than a few hours into it. In fact, it is hard to find any faults with Ori at all, apart from a couple of parts where the game lagged slightly. So, take a chance on Ori, and you won’t be disappointed at spending a small amount of your hard earned cash on his adventure.