The first time I saw Ori and the Blind Forest on display was at last years E3, and one of the first things that caught my attention was the unique artwork and the creation and attention to detail that had gone into this game. Almost a year later, both immediately jump out of the screen at you, and you can’t help but be pulled in to this fictitious forest.
The game begins with our hero, Ori, being swept away at a young age from her home in the spirit tree, the force of nature that watches over the forest. Ori is then found and adopted by a creature that can only be described as a gorilla with a far less threatening demeanour and a pale, white face. We are then presumably transported into the near future, where Ori’s adoptive mother passes away for unknown reasons, and our protagonist then leaves the home and meets a spirit from the guardian tree, who tasks Ori with bringing back balance to the forest.
The plot may be incredibly simple, but that’s all it needs to be in a game like this. From the main menu I was instantly captivated by what the forest had in store for me and the many things a game like this could create with such imaginative artwork. Needless to say I was left blown away by the creative design of the forest, and if you think a 2D platformer can’t provide you with imaginative entertainment you’re very, very wrong.
The actual gameplay is incredibly smooth and satisfying, as puzzles are just difficult enough to make you stop and think, but never leave you completely at a loss for what to do. The combat is actually much more well developed than one might think of a game like this, as there are both many different types of enemies to fight and various ways you can upgrade Ori to better suit your combat and exploration methods. I should also add that nothing about this game ever gets repetitive, as one might fear from a platform game, rather the mix of environments and abilities keeps the game feeling fresh and new.
In short, Ori and the Blind Forest is an experience everyone should aim to play. The story is just intriguing enough to make you want to delve deeper in the world, and the art direction and puzzle system really bring the game to life.