Ori and the Blind Forest (2015)

A couple years after Ori came out, I finally loaded it up and got about 20 minutes into it. Then I just dropped it. Why? I honestly don’t know. Maybe because back in 2017 I didn’t really like Metroidvanias that much, maybe because I wasn’t really in the right mindset for it. But whatever the reason is, March of 2019, when the sequel to the game came out, I was able to load it back up and just go head over heels for it.

Ori is a basic platformer “Metroidvania”... Ugh, I hate that descriptor. It needs to die. Really what it is, is a platformer that has you unlock abilities throughout a large linear world, where progress is gated from powerups. It also involves a good chunk of backtracking as well. I never really have gotten into these games, but last year while playing through Castlevania Symphony of the Night & Bloodstained, I started really understanding this genre that I have kept at a distance, and I can appreciate them a lot more.

Ori, is this cat-like creature that tries to restore the forest to it’s once former glory. The forest inhabits all sorts of creatures that want to kill you, so your fairy acts as the main weapon to combat these baddies. There are plenty of puzzles, but nothing super crazy or difficult. I pretty much breezed through the game in a solid 8 hours, completing up to around 90% of the entire game, filling out most of the map and gaining most of the upgrades. The only real trouble I had was two of the “boss” areas. I put those in air quotes, because there aren't really any bosses, but more escape levels, that kinda reminded me of the Magic Carpet escape level in the Genesis version of Aladdin. I died more times on these two parts than through the rest of the game together.

The real draw of this game is the absolutely gorgeous visuals and the emotionally charged soundtrack. I dare anyone to play more than 5 minutes of this game and tell me Video Games aren’t art. This is the definition of beautifully crafted art, just in a playable form. It’s partially why I got back into it. Hearing over the years that this game’s soundtrack was amazing, and never really knowing why, the game seemed to call to me every so often. And once I actually sat down and really gave myself over to the game, I understood why people loved it so much. It’s just an incredible game.

There are areas that require you to just navigate through the thick brambles of thorns intertwining over the level, which had to be a homage to the Donkey Kong 2 levels… It just had to be.

Honestly, there really isn’t anything bad to say about the game itself, it’s more that it’s just a bit short, and there really isn't’’ much of a reason to go back and 100% it, as far as I know. I'm really glad I finally gave this game a second chance, as I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it, and dove right into the sequel as soon as the credits finished rolling.