Site layout weird? Try Ctrl-Shift-Refresh   |   Report a bug

Ori and the Blind Forest is a lot more than just a beautiful game


Share this story:

Brett Makedonski

Associate Editor

9:00 AM on 08.14.2014

There's a really solid platformer in there too

One glance at Moon Studios' Ori and the Blind Forest is enough to be immediately enamored by the game's visuals. Actually, it's almost an inevitability. Every piece of media that Microsoft releases for Ori draws attention to the glistening colors and stunning backdrops. Not as if that can be helped, mind you; it's a part of the design that just tends to precede everything else.

At its press demos at gamescom 2014, Moon Studios was almost sheepish about the fact. It was well aware of the recognition that the game has gotten for its looks thus far. Now, it wanted to show that Ori's brilliance is rooted in something deeper.

For the 30-minute showing, Moon only really wanted to talk about the gameplay and platforming aspects of Ori. Starting approximately three hours into the game, the demo began right as a new mechanic was obtained -- the bash ability. It's just one of the several unique mechanics that will be introduced as Ori runs its course, but the core philosophy will be the same each time.

Like all well-designed games, Ori makes sure that the player knows how to use the tools in its arsenal. When something new is opened, the next several sections will ensure that the player's honed -- if not perfected -- the skill before moving on. Later in the game, an amalgamation of the abilities combined with some platforming prowess will be the only way to advance, so it's essential to know them early.

In our demo, bash (which might as well have been called "dash") was the one that Moon wanted to focus on. It's a multi-faceted tool with many uses to accomplish different goals. With regard to puzzle solving, it's a means to redirect projectiles in different directions. In terms of combat, it's a handy alternate attack if you ever feel like switching things up. And, maybe most crucially, it bolsters the platforming by adding some much-needed distance mid-jump.

Even though Ori looks as if it'll be a lot of things, that last one's the heart of the entire experience -- the platforming. Without it, Ori would be just another beautiful puzzle game (not that there's anything wrong with that). However, it's the incessant platforming challenges that make the game a true test of skill -- something that looks as if it'll cause actual frustration instead of being a walk in the park.

Luckily, that frustration won't come as a result of Ori's ineptitude. If the final release is as polished as the demo was, any failures will fall squarely on the player's shoulders. It's been a long time since I've felt platforming controls that were as tight as Ori's, evoking memories of my time spent with Super Meat Boy. That's not bad company to have in this conversation.

Really, that's the aspect of Ori and the Blind Forest that I'm most excited about -- the well-controlled platforming. These games can have a million tricks up their sleeves -- gorgeous aesthetics, unique mechanics, wondrous music -- the list could go on forever. But, without a solid core tenet tying everything together, it'll ultimately come off as sloppy. Fortunately, that's not the case with Ori; it's poised to be a platformer that we remember for a long time, and not just because it looks so damn good.



Get comment replies by email.     settings



Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our comment moderators

Can't see comments? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this. Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your security software's whitelist.


More Ori and the Blind Forest  updates:

review ( ! ) news ( 29 ) galleries ( 11 ) videos ( 11 )

Sometimes we have to acknowledge that videogames as an art form can fall short when it comes to telling serious and nuanced stories. I know, big shock to everyone here. Apparently games sometimes lack nuance and tell stories ...
Oh thank goodness: Ori and the Blind Forest "was already profitable a week after release," according to Moon Studios' Thomas Mahler, and publisher "Microsoft is super happy." Ori wasn't just a delight, it was also something o...
A few weeks back, we called attention to Ori and the Blind Forest giving a nod to a revered platformer: Super Meat Boy. Turns out that wasn't the only great platformer (or even the only "SMB") tucked away within the game...
This week I was tempted to do all Bloodborne all the time, because we had so many Bloodborne stories go up that got a ton of attention. Instead, I collected them all into one little Bloodball and turned the abundance in...
In its efforts to create a great platformer, Ori and the Blind Forest developer Moon Studios looked up to some of the all-time greats of the genre. Super Meat Boy is one of those classics. And, it's revered enough b...
After finishing Ori and the Blind Forest, a heartfelt Metroidvania-style adventure for PC and Xbox One, I wondered just how the hell I managed to know so little about it going in. What a thrill. There were moments -- not mere...
There's not a lot of negative criticism that can be levied against Ori and the Blind Forest. It just does everything so well. Tight platforming, unique mechanics, a gorgeous aesthetic -- everything melds together to make an a...
Ori and the Blind Forest may not be the most complicated metroidvania in the world, but there are a few tough decisions to make from time to time. Here are a few quick tips to ease you in.
Every so often I come across a game that just makes me smile. I mean, I play videogames almost daily because I have fun doing it, but certain titles have me grinning from ear to ear the entire journey for a myriad of different reasons. Ori and the Blind Forest is one of those games. It's just plain enjoyable from start to finish, and doesn't waste your time.
At gamescom this year, I found out that Ori and the Blind Forest isn't just a drop-dead gorgeous game; it's also quite the challenging, tight-controlling platformer. In less than two months, everyone can stop taking my ...








Back to Top