Ori And The Blind Forest Is A Beautiful Tale Of Mother And Son
Ori And The Blind Forest was one of the indie highlights from Microsoft’s showing at E3 this year. With its Ghibli-inspired art style and interesting 2D platforming it is one of the indie games we have been keeping an eye on.
Name: Ori and the Blind Forest
Platforms: Xbox One, PC, Xbox 360
Developers: Moon Studios
Publishers: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: Q4 2014 (Xbox One, PC) Early 2015 (Xbox 360)
Ori And The Blind Forest is an adventure platformer that has been in development over the past four years by Moon Studios. The guys over at Moon Studios have been inspired by games like Super Metroid, Zelda: A Link To The Past and generally games of this design. Gameplay has been described for the game as Metroidvania, a combination of both the gameplay mechanics from Castlevania and Metroid. What this means is that gameplay-wise Ori And The Blind Forest pretty much plays as a game with strong platforming sensibilities and some light RPG elements in the mix. With that said, the game, as displayed in the prologue above, is atmospheric with a fantastic quality about it and both Ori, the white guardian spirit orphan, his adoptive mother Naru who is a bear creature of sorts, and the entity known as Kuro who takes Ori’s mother away all bring something different.
The story itself is heavily influenced by the fairytale qualities of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s works, as well as other great animated works like The Lion King and The Iron Giant. This truly does come across in the game’s design quite well. In the prologue video above, we see that Ori, a forest spirit guardian, was separated from the Spirit Tree (the life force of the forest) during a great storm. He is rescued by the gentle bear-like creature called Naru and the bond quite quickly generates between the two, that of a mother and son relationship, within the sunny setting that is the Forest of Nibel. But late one night Ori awakens to a great sound within the forest, and the Spirit Tree calls out to him. With no response from Ori, the tree erupts into light and the power of the forest is gone. Without this life energy the forest begins to decay.
On top of this Naru, Ori’s adopted mother, is taken away by a forest entity known as Kuro. Ori is forced to go on and adventure and explore the forest in order to return it to life. Ori on his journey will encounter Sein a character who will guide him through the game and attack enemies when needed. Players will be able to level up the abilities of both Sein and Ori, and even choose new abilities, as they explore the forest and make their way through the world. The platforming appears to be pretty standard fare and doesn’t do much in the way of being different from the crowd in that regard, but the execution looks to be far more intuitive with a greater sense of flow to how the characters interact with the world. Platforming and overcoming obstacles with Ori, in particular, appears to be organic and without stiffness to the character’s movement.
Additionally, there will be save points scattered across the game’s world. With these save points players can create “soul links” which serve as checkpoints. These soul links can be only created using special resources you collect throughout the game. You will be forced as result to be quite picky with how you use resources and where you create checkpoints, which adds an edge of difficulty to the game.
Ori And The Blind Forest is essentially a coming-of-age story. As Ori you are deeply connected to the forest at its very foundation with the Spirit Tree. Ori through his journey will discover his role within the forest. There is indeed a lot of story going on here and the game definitely feels like it’s going for a strong narrative alongside its action platformer mechanics.
As mentioned before, it is quite evident to see that the game is strongly influenced by classic Zelda games and Metroidvania styled games. It definitely brings a sense of nostalgia to the fore and feels like a hand-drawn game designed in the 90s. That nostalgic feeling of playing a classic Nintendo game is definitely present in Ori And The Blind Forest.
- You’ll Be Able To Play (Expensive) PS2 Games On Your PS4 Now | 2 months ago
- Jessica Jones Disempowers Its Male Characters And The Effect Is Refreshing | 2 months ago
- Hell Is 30 000 Deathclaws Tearing Through Boston And It’s Glorious | 2 months ago
- Sony Santa Monica Is Teasing Something Truly Strange | 2 months ago
Artistically the game is a visual delight to behold and you can see that the Moon Studios team wanted to bring a level of 2D polish to the game and it truly shows. It really does look like a painting has come to life before your very eyes. In tandem with this, the gameplay promises to be very challenging with exploration through the non-linear world.
Suspected Selling Points
- The beautiful Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki inspired art style and aesthetics brings another level of charm and appeal to the game’s design.
- The game looks like a classic 2D platformer from yesteryear oozing a level of quality and polish not seen in many games.
- The emotional story of a bond between a mother and adopted son is intriguing and could bring a whole different dimension to this game which sets it apart from the rest.
- There is a fear that Ori And The Blind Forest may rely too heavily on nostalgia leading to a drop in the depth and substance of what we’ve seen so far.
- The platforming may be downplayed due to a more particular focus on both story and art direction.
- This is a niche title that will not appeal to everyone.
Of course, one of the very big pulls for this game has to be the emotional story which very much seems to be the centre of Ori and the Blind Forest’s experience. The sense of hope is at the core of the game’s story and could drive it in interesting directions. However, this is a game we should all be on the lookout for when it is released later this year for both Xbox One and PC, with the Xbox 360 release following suit in 2015.