The first word I would use to describe Ori and the Blind Forest is beautiful. The visuals are absolutely stunning in this platformer, and the game is amazing in more ways than that. I started Ori and the Blind Forest without really knowing what to expect, but ended up being amazed by the story, visuals, and challenging game play.
First, let me explain the story that sets everything up:
The game starts in a forest under assault from a powerful storm. The forest is dominated by a huge tree with a glowing center. The storm disconnects a feather-like object from one of the tree’s branches, and it blows away. The feather is noticed by Naru, a large furry creature that stands on two legs. Her fur is purple-ish around her spotted belly, but black everywhere else. Naru notices the glowing feather, and follows it until it lands on a rock. There is a great flash of light, and the feather transforms into a glowing white creature, presumably asleep. Naru lifts the creature up and embraces him. His name is Ori, and he serves as the story’s protagonist. Revealing more of the game’s story would spoil a twist.
So far, does this game sound like a platformer? Does it sound metroid-esque? When I first went into Ori and the Blind Forest, I didn’t know what type of game to expect. Ori and the Blind Forest ends up somewhere between the platformer and metroidvania genres. Most of Ori and the Blind Forest has the player, who controls Ori, exploring the forest and trying to restore life to the Ginso, the giant tree in the center of the land. Ori and the Blind Forest boasts a large map for players to explore, and Ori can follow the linear path to the next story objective or branch out to potentially find secrets and items that hopefully increase his health or energy cells, which he needs to survive.
Ori and the Blind Forest has a pretty high difficulty, especially in the late game. This difficulty not only comes from the platforming challenges, but also from enemies that populate the world. Those enemies can split into smaller versions when they die, shoot fireballs, fire spikes, charge at you, burrow under the ground or explode when they get close to you. Other dangers include falling rocks, falling icicles, drowning, and of course, spikes. If Ori touches or is affected in some negative way, he loses health cells. Health cells are represented by little green orbs at the bottom of the screen, and when depleted completely, Ori dies. Ori starts with three maximum health cells, but can find more by exploring his environment. Listen, you want to do that. Trust me.
Another difficult aspect of Ori and the Blind Forest is its saving system. There are very few autosaves, and they usually only occur after a key plot moment. In order to save, Ori needs to spend an energy cell. These are the little blue orbs at the bottom of the screen. Ori uses one when he saves, but also spends one (or less) when he uses certain abilities, so you’ll need to manage energy cells effectively. The maximum amount of energy cells can be increased by exploring, just like health cells.
Combat is prominent in Ori and the Blind Forest, but not the really the defining feature of the game. You’re usually just fighting some sort of blob, owl, or rhino, each of which tries its best to kill you. Ori has the ability to shoot blue fire as a short range attack, and can also do some massive area damage that consumes all or part of an energy cell. Combat is extremely simple, and its purpose is to add difficulty and platforming challenges to the game (see bellow).
For me, Ori and the Blind Forest felt different than other games. It just seemed… clever, creative, beautiful. The whole game takes place in an amazing hand-drawn world that’s made even better by having the freedom to explore it. Moon Studios did a great job with combat and exploration. For example, the simple-sounding dash ability can allow Ori to reach faraway areas, but the catch is that Ori must be near an enemy or enemy projectile to use this ability. The enemy or projectile is also sent the opposite direction that Ori goes, giving a skilled player the opportunity to deflect attacks or avoid combat. Throughout my playthrough, I never encountered the same scenario twice — one moment I was solving puzzles, the next I was in a stealth sequence, and the following I was running for dear life from a wave of lava.
You may have noticed that I am reviewing Ori and the Blind Forest: Definite Edition, not Ori and the Blind Forest. What’s the difference? Not much. Definite Edition looks better, and also has some bonus content on Naru, as well as a new ability or two. In my first playthrough I actually did not encounter any of the bonus content, and the content is not necessary for completing the game.
To sum it up, Ori and the Blind Forest was a beautiful game that kept on surprising me, in a good way.
2 thoughts on “Ori and the Blind Forest: Definite Edition (Xbox One)”
Hey Gamegato. That was a great read, thank you. Ori and the Blind Forest was the first game I played through on the Xbox One and much like your experience, my first impression was “wow”. The art style made the game feel alive and familiar but also new and exciting at the same time. There was definitely a challenging level of play too, between the games various puzzles and combat. The experience was a rewarding one.
If you enjoyed that game, I’d like to recommend a new game that I’ve been keeping tabs on. It comes out February 16th and feels like a mix between Journey and Ori and the Blind Forest: forest adventure platformer with a certain open worldness to explore. The game is called Fe. I put some info up on my Most Anticipated Games of 2018 posts, including a trailer if you want to check it out.
Thanks again for the post! I’m excited to see what you explore next.
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Thank you! I agree with your thoughts on exploration and combat, and I’ll make sure to check out Fe, thank you for the recommendation.