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Game Review: Ori and the Blind Forest

 Gaming  ori  PC  XBox

One of the reasons I chose the XBox Bundle that I did (besides the 1TB hard drive) was because of the games it included. One of those games was Ori and the Blind Forest.

From the very start, I was hooked. It has a great story and challenging gameplay.

Getting food with "mother"Getting food with “mother”

Aside from basic platformer shooting, there are also fun puzzles and, what is probably the best feature of the game, the escape sequences from the six major areas. These escape sequences give you very little time to think and no room for error as you use your skills to progress through the board with a very stressful natural disaster (or enemy) on your tail.

Perhaps the hardest sequence in the game is the first one, the Ginso Tree escape. It’s the hardest because it’s the first and you can’t make any mistakes.

One of the great features of the game is the ability tree that you have access to that lets you spend your spirit points (gained by killing enemies) to gain new abilities. I was one ability away from collecting all abilities. I missed that achievement. I just didn’t have enough skill points going into the final sequence. I’ve read that you can’t go back and explore after you win the game.

Ori's Ability TreeOri’s Ability Tree

After getting a new ability, I would go back to areas I had already cleared to get powerups that I could not get earlier in the game. I would also attempt to explore 100% of each area and get to all the secret places.

Map of the areaMap of the area

I am currently on the last sequence. It’s very difficult. I have the enemy on my tail. The sequence is a series of very challenging moves that require a mastery of all the skills (abilities also come in handy – like the triple jump) that Ori acquired throughout the game. Each section only gives you about 10 seconds to get through before the enemy swoops in and violently ends your life. Then you spend a few seconds getting through additional sections. If you spend too much time in an area that is not visible to the enemy, you still have to worry about the environment around you catching on fire. Basically, you can’t stop moving (much like the other escape sequences). I’m almost to the end of the sequence. Even knowing what’s coming next, you still have to execute the movements without faltering. The sounds of the enemy in the distance add a creepy ambiance to the sequence. It also gives you audible clues as to how much time you have left to finish your current section.

The following video does not show the ending with spoilers, it only shows the sequence.

I have to play these sequences sitting on the edge of my seat. It can be very stressful, but the reward for finishing is a feeling of great relief.

I have really enjoyed this game. It reminds me of the early days of playing Super Mario Brothers for the first time. The artwork is fantastic and the gameplay mechanics are fun. I find that it had just the right amount of difficulty.