5 out of 5. An intense focus on Metroidvania Platforming makes Ori a brilliant stand-out for those interested in that specific thing. Pleasant graphics and music enhance its masterful game design.
Share

How Metroidvania is it? High Fit. Highly guided game progression with ''Dungeon''-like levels, but has a great world to explore and jump around in.
Primary Challenge: Tricky Platforming
Time to beat: ~9 hours
Review Info: This game was played on Steam

More Info

Developer: Moon Studios
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Sub-genre: Linear Platformer Hybrid
Features: Map System, Skill Trees, Multiple Difficulty modes, Guide/Hint System, 2D Platformer, Auto-Save, Tricky Platforming, Puzzle Platforming, Fast Travel/Teleporters, Narrative/Cutscenes Story Telling, Cute, Sequence Breaking, Family Friendly
Difficulty: Medium, High
Linearity/Openness: High Gating - Guided
Platforms: Windows, Steam, GOG, Switch, Xbox One
Release Date: 2015/03/11
Available Languages: English, Japanese, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese

Store Links

    Amazon    Steam    GOG    Xbox Store    Nintendo eShop    

Buy Ori and the Blind Forest if you like…

  • Absolutely masterful platforming challenges
  • Gorgeous graphical artwork and style
  • Music that is peaceful and exciting
  • Fun to find treasures with high ''sequence breaking'' potential
  • A well directed experience with little chance of getting lost

▼ Review continues below ▼

I’ll admit that I kind of ignored Ori for a while. It was a prominent game made by Microsoft Studios, so I expected to walk into a mostly fun – but safe – game that I would play and forget, which is generally not the kind of game I’m interested in when I’m trying new things. Part of this is because of the anchoring effect based on a few reviews I watched, but looking back a lot of those reviews complained about the game’s story. Which means they completely missed the point.

The story does play it safe; it’s really nothing special or unique. In fact, if Ori and the Blind Forest were a movie, it’d almost be rant-worthy. But as a video game plot, it serves its purpose. Kuro’s intense hatred for the light is no worse than Bowser kidnapping a sentient hat for no reason. It leaves me with questions about the world’s lore, but it also leaves me with the impression that it’s not supposed to be anything other than simple.

Where Ori shines (no pun intended) is in the platforming. It’s absolutely brilliant. It uses its areas which are inaccessible without particular powers as a way to put those new powers to the test. I was consistently surprised at its clever level design but more so at its nearly complete lack of hand-holding in regards to its more puzzling elements. Several areas left me scratching my head wondering “how do I get up there?” and I felt genius when I finally figured it out. At least on the game’s hard mode I was provided a delightful challenge and a tight focus on these platforming elements.

There is combat, but it’s light. Enemies are more obstacles (and later tools) in your momentum rather than ends unto themselves. Your primary attack initiates from Sein, who is a separate entity from Ori which floats around close to you. Because of this you can attack while moving, clinging to walls, or floating, which allows Ori to focus on positioning as Sein takes out your foe. There are “Bosses” but they function more similar to a miniboss. What would be more traditional “boss” encounters are platforming races which take what you’ve learned and add a pressing feeling of urgency and speed.

The focus on platforming is supported by the game’s checkpoint system. You have the ability to use your energy to create a checkpoint pretty much anywhere where there isn’t an active trap or enemy. Functionally this is basically a quicksave if you’ve played other games that have that feature – but the limitation imposed on it adds needed tension. But the freedom also adds needed relief, as the game gets hard enough to make these quicksaves a godsend. The flow is almost Super Meatboy-like at parts – since when you die you instantly respawn back where you saved. I found myself flinging Ori at the presented problems until I either obtained enough practice to progress, or I found a new solution. Frustrations were quickly mitigated by re-positioning a new savepoint and trying again.

There are some parts where these savepoints are unusable, namely in the platforming races I mentioned. I personally found those parts to be thrilling, but I can see them being jarring for some players. It took me a lot of attempts to get past them especially in the late game – but that only magnified the level of satisfaction I felt on completion.

Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition is a gem. It’s a specialized Metroidvania Platformer, and its unrivaled at what it does best. Other games – like Hollow Knight – capture what it does in parts, but if challenging platforming is all you want, look no further. It’s a game that deserves to be praised.


Final Score

5/5

Scoring system overview


Metroidvania Breakdown

Combat
– 3

Functional and sometimes fun, but far from a focus in this game. No ''Bosses'' to speak of.

Platforming
– 5

Among the best in the genre, with new things to add with every power-up found. Never fell below exciting wonder

Exploration
– 4

Lots of optional treasures to find - and a lot of them can be obtained without powers that you'd think you'd need to get them

Puzzle
– 3.5

Not a heavy focus, but utilizes the ''Problem Solving'' kind of puzzle solving where you create your own solution

Story
– 3

Narrative works to drive the gameplay, but is pretty throw-away. Would not work too well if it wasn't a video game.

Graphics
– 5

Maybe the most beautiful Metroidvania ever made.

Music
– 5

Perfect atmospheric soundtrack for every occasion, whether it's a dire escape or a quiet journey through the woods

Replayability
– 3

Has a skill tree that can alter your approach to the game, and might keep interest for a subsequent playthroughs if you don't max out via completionism


Want a second opinion? See what other reviews say:

Steam Reviews
Recent: Very Positive
(93% of 532 Reviews)
All Time: Overwhelmingly Positive
(95% of 38,782 Reviews)


88 Metacritic
Read critic reviews