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Review: Ori and the Blind Forest (Switch)

I was recommended Ori and the Blind Forest by a good friend, who is typically reputable with his suggestions. The E3 trailer reflected brilliant artwork and character concept, and the fact that this platformer was developed by an indie team instantly got my attention. Moon Studios developed this game in 2015… so, how did it take 4 years, and the port to Switch, for me to hear about this?

The opening cutscene instantly set the stage with beautiful artwork and an inviting/emotional story. You’re put into the 2D world as a Ori, a Guardian Spirit, exploring worlds and defeating enemies in search of three main elements, Wind, Water and Warmth. All this while collecting health cells, energy cells and new exciting abilities.

The trailer was very accurate to the gameplay I experienced. Ori is a great balance of platform jumping, attacking enemies with “Spirit Flames” and solving puzzles. The Saving function is very interesting. You create a “checkpoint” anytime by using some of your energy cells. This brilliantly plays into your strategies when navigating difficult zones, and keeps you cognizant of the health you want to sacrifice for this option. Ability points are gained by building your experience. This is achieved by killing enemies, finding energy cells, or finding ability cells. These ability points are used towards building your skill tree. Which are extremely useful and sometimes necessary to move forward to new areas.

Overall, I really enjoyed this game and was deeply invested in the story. For me, what appeared to be a simple platformer made for controls that were more intense than I would have imagined. Luckily the developer adds button pushing complexity over a comfortable timeframe to a point where I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with what I was doing.

Moon Studios just released the followup to this game called Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Sadly, it’s not available for Switch right away. Looks equally brilliant.

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