I bet that title caught your eye! Well, at least it did catch mine: “Huh? What? A forest can be blind? Wait, do forests even have eyes?!” 😆
Random reactions aside, Ori and the Blind Forest is now one of my favourite video games and waaaaay at the top of my current favourites list! I bought it a little over a month ago during Steam Summer Sale (which is a crazy sale season for video games) and the instant I turned it on, I was hooked. I couldn’t stop playing it until I finished the whole game in Easy Mode, and again in Hard Mode. 🎮
To start off, here are some quick details of the game:
- Genre: 2D Action Platformer, Metroidvania
- Release Year: 2015, 2016 (Definitive Edition)
- Platforms Available: Xbox One, Windows PC
- ESRB Rating: Everyone (Mild Fantasy Violence)
What I Think
Of course, I could just be lazy and just chunk links to reviews from gaming websites here! But this is the chance to gush over my favourite video game of the moment like a crazy fangirl, so why pass it up? 😆
So here are my thoughts on the game!
First, here’s a story-focused trailer for you:
Beautiful, isn’t it? It’s just incredible how much storytelling this game can do without any words!
It starts with a great storm, when a light creature named Ori was blown away from the Spirit Tree and was raised by Naru, a gentle dark creature. Time passed peacefully, with abundance everywhere… until that night when the Spirit Tree spreads out his light in search of his child and starts a whole chain of events that eventually turns the abundant forest into a land of scarcity and decay. When Naru dies, Ori, an orphan once more, leaves their home of many years. When they meet Sein, the ball of light that is the eyes and ears of the Spirit Tree, they learn that they must restore the three elements that supports the balance of the forest of Nibel in order to bring life to the forest.
The story is pretty short as the game focuses primarily on exploration and gameplay, but it’s filled with more emotion than a lot of longer games. If you’re easily moved, be prepared to shed some tears. 😀
Upon looking at the cover art, the first thing you’ll notice is the vibrance of colours! The scenery is quite beautiful – each area of the world has its own distinctive features and colour palettes – and it’s hard to find an area that I didn’t like the look of! Despite being a 2D game, sometimes the background is not just still pictures, like a short section where you can see your great foe looming in the background searching for you. My favourite part of the art is really Ori; I love their character design (cat/fox-like) and how they glow. 😀
Oh, man, there’s just something about the chords in the soundtracks that strike right at my heart! Like that opening scene where Ori has just fallen off the Spirit Tree and is being blown about in the storm; we haven’t even gotten to the heart-tugging scenes and I already felt the tears in my eyes and the chill down my arms… yes, I’m a highly sensitive person, but still. 😅
The soundtracks are all orchestrated with the occasional wordless singing, and they go really well with the story to bring the emotion in us! I love them so much that I’m learning how to play some of them on the piano. 🎹
That first trailer didn’t show much gameplay, so here’s the Definitive Edition trailer!
And yes, there’s another version of this game called Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition, though I’ll cover that later. 🙂
The first thing you might notice about the gameplay is the fluid movements; I don’t know about you, but it gives me the feeling of being swift and free like the wind, moving through the air as though I have wings! The controls are very sensitive to my touch and I love how Ori moves (kinda like a ninja 😆), especially when they learn new movement skills. 😀
Unlike how a lot of action games focus on battles, this game focuses more on the exploration – where a lot of areas of the world are locked until you access new skills – and getting through obstacles – where a lot of places require a quick reaction and successful execution of the skills, sometimes multiple times in a row!
For me, the fun part was the exploration, backtracking to previous areas of the map after unlocking a new skill and wondering if you can get that shiny thing behind the locked wooden gate. 😆
This earns an entire section by itself, because if you were to ask Uncle Google if this game is difficult, you’ll see a lot of players agree! And yet some don’t (including myself). Why the discrepancy?
I won’t lie; this game can be difficult, especially if you’re not experienced with action platformer games (like Super Mario series) and/or if you’re easily frustrated with failures. I’d say the hard parts of this game are the ones where you have to successfully pull off x number of skills in a row, where a single mistake means you’ll have to restart the section all over again (think of it as an episode of American Ninja Warrior). You might say that’s pretty unforgiving, but luckily there aren’t many of those!
The main reason why I’d say this game isn’t too difficult is because you can save your game nearly everywhere, as long as you have enough mana points; you could save right before a particularly tricky hurdle and restart from there if you made a fatal mistake. When you unlock a new skill, the area immediately after are usually places that allow you to practice the new skill to pass through simple obstacles. And speaking of practice, this game is all about practice makes perfect!
Rather than difficult, I’d say this game is challenging. And when you do get through those tricky obstacles, you get that incredible sense of achievement. 😀
Ori and the Blind Forest is a beautiful blend of story, music, art and gameplay; rather than calling this a video game, I’d call this a work of art! As a writer, pianist and very occasional artist, this video game really sparks my imagination. All the beautiful, vibrant colours, the story that is conveyed mostly without words, all the musical chords that strike at my heart and make reluntant tears fall… it’s hard to find a game that does that. 🙂
As a gamer, this is a game that makes me feel as swift and free as the wind when I pick up the controller! My only complaint is that it’s pretty short; even with all my backtracking and take-my-own-sweet-time exploring, I finished Easy Mode in 12 hours, and Hard Mode around 12 hours as well. It’s one of those games I really wish didn’t end!
Even if you don’t play video games, I recommend that you at least experience the story and music via Youtube! I’ve seen videos of the entire soundtrack album and there’s even a full movie video of the whole game minus the gameplay part. 😀
In short, this game has Nicolle’s must-get recommendation! 🎮
Decided to buy this game? Whoo hoo! Here are some questions that you might have, like the ones I had when I was reading up about this game before I bought it. 😀
Get the Original or the Definitive Edition?
The difference between the original game and the Definitive Edition is that the latter has everything the original has plus 2 additional skills, new features, an extra area to explore, new soundtracks and extra backstory! So if you’re new to the game in general, I suggest picking up the Definitive Edition. 🙂
Xbox or PC Version?
I’d say this is a very personal question; just like how you don’t mess with a guy’s choice of cars, you don’t mess with a gamer’s choice of consoles!
Personally here’s what I think (because this is my blog, after all 😆): I find a computer is more versatile than a console! While there are a lot of games that are exclusive on certain consoles (like PlayStation 4 only), a huge selection of them are available on both certain consoles and computers. Couple that with all the stuff I can do like writing, watching videos, preparing sheet music, artistic stuff and whatnot, it makes the computer the one thing I can’t live without. 💻
“But I don’t wanna play with a keyboard!” you might say. “I wanna play with a controller from a couch with a big TV in front of me!”
Well, you can play with a controller from a couch with a big TV in front of you; in fact, that was how I played Ori and the Blind Forest! I have a PlayStation 4 controller linked to my Steam account that I play with Big Picture mode (a.k.a. the turn-this-computer-into-a-console mode). Definitely way nicer than playing on my small laptop, and it works with an Xbox controller too. 🎮
Controller or Keyboard?
Again, this is a personal choice (remember, don’t mess with a gamer’s choice of console!).
Personally I played with a controller, because I grew up with one. 😆
Is It Expensive?
I’d say this game is pretty affordable! As of the date of this blog post it’s priced at less than $10 US dollars on Steam, but you can wait for weekend sale (or next year’s summer sale 😛) when it’s usually less than $5. 🙂
Where to Buy the Game?
Here’s the official website with a list of where you can purchase the game!
Personally I bought mine from Steam. 😀
Should I Buy the Soundtrack?
YES! I really regret not buying the soundtrack when there was a game+soundtrack bundle on sale, and now I’m waiting for a sale on the soundtrack. 😅
Ori and the Will of the Wisps?
That’s the sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest! Though don’t expect it to come out anytime soon; it was just announced in early 2017. 😛
I think that’s all the questions I can think of! Do let me know if you have more questions about this game. 😀
What do you think of the game? Have you played the game? Do let me know in the comments below!
A Short Self-Compassionate Letter
Thanks for sharing this beautiful work of art! ❤