Ori and the Blind Forest


I played Ori for the first time at E3 last year and I remember being surprised by the difficulty level – the intro movie about the loving relationship and the beautiful Don Bluth-esque art made me think that it was going to be aimed at content tourists rather than people looking for a challenge. On reflection, I do not know why I thought that – I certainly enjoy it and there is a large overlap between appreciators of fine animation and retro games. In addition, I never understood why you would want to make a game easier for children – I certainly had more time to play games when I was young and became good at tackling platforming challenges early as it’s a mechanical skill rather than one related to abstract thinking or emotional maturity. But I digress.

Ori is a very well-designed game that oozes intent in all of its choices. Movement is fluid but remarkably precise. You can practically save everywhere but there is an overhead to doing so that becomes less important as the difficulty increases. New skills rarely feel like they are just there to allow you to get past locked doors, and even though there is some overlap in their utility this is utilized beautifully to allow speedrunners or skilled players to get certain collectibles early at a higher difficulty level. As an alternative to boss fights, it offers challenge sections that feel thematically consistent and fun to play.

… Which is good, because the one thing I do not quite like about Ori is the combat. It has its highs and it is not bad by any stretch, but an auto-aiming mechanic that is only limited by a short range feels kind of limiting and the lack of specific telegraphing on some of the enemies make is easier to just bypass them most of the time. Also, I did not like that it gated off several areas with collectibles once you had been through them once, and that there was a clear point-of-no-return in the end without any way to continue a cleared save. Looking at the rest of the game though, it is clear that the Ori team understands the format of the game they are making so I believe this is more about me not realizing what they were going for.

Posted on Mar 15/15 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »