Few games come close to delivering a great platformer with stunning visuals and a heartfelt storyline but Ori and the blind forrest attempts all of this and more, but does it pull it off and deliver a console exclusive you must play?

Ori and the blind forrest is the creation of Moon Studios and a game that is not your average platformer has been built by a studio that is anything but ordinary and knowing this makes you appreciate just how special this game is. Moon Studios don’t have a studio and its developers are based all around the world working remotely to pull together this game. its a stunning feat in itself to deliver something in this fashion and Moon Studios may have just changed the perception of not only game studios can run but on how powerful storytelling can be via 2D platformers.

The game pulls no punches in grabbing you emotionally within the first 5 minutes which set the story and tone for the game beautifully. You play as Ori a small white guardian spirit creature of sorts that fell from the spirit tree and was raised by Nibel. Events at the start of this game give you purpose and set you on your way to tackle this emotionally and mentally challenging game. Ori is a typical platformer you acquire new skills which allow you to explore more of the map and you can earn ability points to spend on upgrades.

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You set out to head in a direction to find Sirens which are the methods in which you acquire new powers. These powers can range from rolling in the air, jumping hire to floating through the sky. Each one is a masterpiece in gameplay and feel super smooth to operate and pickup. Ability points are earned through a form of XP generation which is done with ability orbs. You earn ability Orbs from defeating enemies or unlocking larger ability orbs in secret or hard to reach areas. Once your meter increases you unlock the opportunity to purchase a new ability from the ability tree. The ability tree has three branches and sees you making choices which determine how you will approach the next stages of the game. It feels really open to begin with however you can’t purchase all abilities from one of the branches as prerequisites are required for certain abilities. The abilities are brilliant additions to the powers and compliment each other brilliantly from being able to swim underwater to collecting more orbs for health or power.

If you are the sort of gamer who likes to collect everything then ori has your back here. Although its not super clear whilst playing there is the opportunity at any time to return to an area previously discovered. This is particularly useful once you gain a new ability like the ability to jump higher or run up walls. These new abilities will allow you to retrace your steps and access some of the many secret areas scattered throughout the game. The secret areas are valuable to your playthrough and if you want to make the game a tad easier then I recommend spending your time exploring. This is the way to go as this will help increase your cells for both health and energy which will make some areas alot easier. Unlocking new areas of the map is also done by utilising gates which can be unlocked with energy and acts as a form of currency in the game in many fronts. Its something brilliantly done because I found myself trying to balance the risk vs reward factor quite often. should I spend all these orbs now on this door or save them for a save point? Tough choices but discovering these new areas will add more depth to your game.

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Saving in Ori is essentially unlimited, You can save where you want however there is one catch. Choosing when to save. You can only save when you have some blue energy orbs which means if you’re outta orbs you can’t save which may mean long stretches of repetition if you saved at a point way back before you died or as I found. It encourages you to risk it in an all or nothing approach. ori encourages boldness and risk. Dont worry you will die often in this game which is punishing in parts.

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Sections like the Ginso tree escape are already infamous with gamers and many will have probably given up here. However what I love about Ori is that despite how brutally difficult some of these sections are its beautiful gameplay and well designed mechanics kept making me want to keep playing. Its an incredible balance Moon Studios delivered stunning difficulty with the need to want to keep playing because once you conquer these sections the relief and reward are some of the best feelings you can have in a game. The sections such as Ginso tree are timed escapes essentially and see you mastering the skills you have acquired to this point in order to escape. The escapes require pin point accuracy and gyle as you jump, dodge and project your way out of trouble. They are tough, rewarding upon completion but above all else are visually stunning not that you will want to stop and gape at the set pieces.

The artistic craft present in Ori and the Blind forrest is clear from the outset. The stunning level design and visual presentation in not only the foreground and background really make you feel like the world is rich and full of things to discover. Detail has not been overlooked by Moon studios here in any way with blades of grass and super slick particle effects all offering an unrivaled experience in platforming. Put together this game runs incredibly smooth with no lag or hiccups in our playthrough running at a sweet 60fps throughout.

This is probably the system seller Xbox were looking for just not what anyone expected.

The graphics and visual art style go hand in hand with the music and story, each area of the game has its own unique feel from forests to fiery volcanoes to explore and the music matches each of these areas adding to the emotion this game delivers to you. The soundtrack also bumps up in pace during the escape sequences but also as you explore and enter new areas the musical cues act as a great guide even if the poor map marker doesn’t. The narration of the story is also fantastic with overlaid text in the environments as you progress through resulting in ensuring your as immerses in the experience as possible. With little cut scenes in the game however these cut scenes are so brilliantly illustrated delivered that it wouldn’t hurt if there were more but it delivers for me the perfect amount. This game is also perfect for the new screenshot feature on Xbox One and throughout my 12 hour playthrough I found myself capturing clips of my escapes and grabbing some stunning screenshots which are now occupy my desktop wallpaper they are so good.

Video review below

Ori and the Blind Forrest – Review
10
Gameplay
9.5
Narrative
10
Graphics
9
Sound
8.5
Value
Our Score 9.4
You think (0 votes) 0
£15.99Price
Xbox One, PCAvailable on
Verdict
Everything about this game just feels super polished from game mechanics like charge and flame charge to flying and running up walls. It just makes you want to keep playing it. The story is beyond anything I have played since the first season of the walking dead and it deserves to be called a system seller. I think we may have found our first Game of the Year contender. More Please
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