Game Review: Ori and the Blind Forest (Definitive Edition)

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After playing several very long games I took a break and focused on three shorter and simpler games I had pending. The first one was Ori and the Blind Forest. I followed with Limbo and Inside, which I’ll review jointly in the following days.

Ori and the Blind Forest is a platformer game that plays much better when using a controller. I’d say it almost requires a controller to be experienced properly. In the platformer genre it belongs to the “Metroidvania” family. If you’ve never heard the term, it refers to platformer games in which there is a large interconnected world that can be explored by the player nonlinearly, unlocking paths, doors and new parts of the map as the player progresses and gains new abilities. The term originates from the classic Metroid and Castlevania series, which started in 1986. The way Ori plays also reminded me slightly of other games like Super Meat Boy, but with a slower pace.

The story follows the adventures of Ori, a child of the Spirit Tree in the forest of Nibel, trying to restore the balance to the forest. It’s a quite interesting fable, masterfully told as the game advances. The gameplay is completely addictive. The controls feel really nice and I was always eager to advance and gain new abilities in order to explore new parts of the map and visit new secret areas, getting items that had been previously out of reach.

Artistically, the game is impeccable, with detailed and well cared for 2D-drawing style graphics that, under the hood, are powered by 3D polygons. Sound and music have a main role in the game experience and are also remarkable. With so many things right in a game, it’s no wonder it was so well received. In contrast to more complex “AAA” games, the lack of any single bug, glitch or crash in my playthrough is worth mentioning and contributed to an overall charming experience.

Yes, it’s not a long game. It can easily be finished and experienced almost completely in under 20 hours. Most people will finish it in less than 10, and its hours of entertainment to money rate is smaller than what I’m used to, but I can’t stop recommending it. It offers some, not much, replay value thanks to well-selected achievements that set up some interesting challenges, and its only noticeable flaw is that the two new map areas present in the Definitive Edition are not integrated in the normal game story, which forces you to visit every other area. They have to be explored under your own initiative whenever you decide to do so.

I give Ori a technical, gameplay and overall score of 9. Superb game and totally recommended. Stay tuned for the future release of Ori and the Will of the Wisps.

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