Judging a game by its cover it would be vary easy to say Ori and the Blind Forest looks childish. After playing two and a half hours of the game it turns out to completely change my impression.
It’s a platform game. Run and jump on ledges. A few puzzle moments are placed in the game and the storyline is easy enough to follow for any age. I’ll say this game is a lot like the movie UP. In less than five minutes of game play the characterization of Ori and the Panda guy was enough to feel invested into the game.
The first impressions I made is the fact the whole game is narrated by Jabba the Hut. And I swore I heard the words, “Oobo-Noobie-Nipple-Pinchy.” Meanwhile, our main character Ori looks like an alien from Lilo and Stitch. Stitch, specifically, if he was in Super Saiyan form. Finalized to the realization Ori is a soul sucking Ferngully/ Brave whisp. If, all four movies had a love child. Meanwhile, the fairy from The Legend of Zelda makes a cameo. A blue spirt hangs out with Ori and unleashes electric attacks among enemies.
The game is visually pleasing over all. I’d say the main goal of Ori and the Blind Forest is to literally kill time. Meanwhile in some way or another feel like you’re accomplishing something. i.e. Saving this tree. Saving that tree. Lifting this mist. Spreading hope and joy via narration by Jabba the Hut.
I feel with indie games have mainly three things going for themselves as far as a check off sheet in concerned.
First a story line. Ori gets this right out the gate and the writers apparently knew emotion is an easy target when the main character has a reliance on a parental figure. Then a minute later the parent is dead. What do we do now? How do we survive? It’s a cheap tactic. Much like for horror games a jump scare is basic. For comedic relief a banana slip is hilarious. For emotion there’s a basic human connection when a parental figure dies and the child is left in a cold cruel world to learn the ways of life. I’ll say the major leap from dealing with panda parent dead to a giant tree telling Ori to save the world. This is a huge leap from worrying about self to worrying about the globe. Because there’s only one of those things….
Second block to check off is the visuals. Ori knocks this out with delivering an instant euphoria. There’s a lot of light and darkness playing with one another. You know the basics, Light = Good, Darkness = Bad. However, I found it challenging when colours, foreground and background would cause some conflicts within gameplay. But this is minor in consideration. Ori is behind a foreground being killed by a blob while all I see is purple orbs flying one way, and blue lighting in the other. pretty much a visual cluster-fuck.
Third and final point is game play. Remember, it’s a fairly simple game from the get go of moving around and jumping. Ori doesn’t get bogged down with button combinations too much. At most it’s literally hold down right trigger button and press Y. God bless America for simplicity.
Is Ori good? It’s good in simplicity. It’s good in concept. But it’s sadly a game to just kill the time with. The goal is skewed really hard. Unlike Donkey Kong Country, a platform game with the goal of getting back your Banana’s and knock out the Kremlings. Ori swings and misses hard to motivate me to do anything except run around, avoid obstacles and solve a few puzzles in between.
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