Ori and the Blind Forest is possibly the first game of this year that within a few minutes of playing, I decided that it’s in my Best Games of 2015 list. The story grabs you from the first 5 minutes, the gameplay is solid and hits all of it’s marks to keep me coming back.
Let’s get one thing out of the way real fast, every one else has already said it, but this game is gorgeous. Even on my old PC, this game is downright stunning to watch. From the very beginning you are thrown into a beautiful Miyazaki-esque world. If there was a Princess Mononoke boss battle I would not have been surprised. As the recently released Axiom Verge wears it’s Metroid pedigree proudly in it’s graphics, Ori shares the same DNA but does so in a stylish new way.
So yes, graphically, it is beyond compare in the 2D video game realm, but how does it play? Tightly, the controls are incredibly precise. So accurate that the purchase of a new XboxOne mini controller was necessary, the cheap Logitech controllers I have were not cutting it. This game requires a level of precision and punishes a single mistake swiftly. A misstep, or poorly timed double-jump over a pit of spikes and you will quickly die. There are moments that are incredible stressful, where time is running out, your path is filled with obstacles and enemies, death is chasing you and all feels lost. You will die, many, many times, but there was never a moment where aggravation got the better of me and I threw the controller down. Each death was a lesson in timing, or how to properly use a newly acquired ability. The save mechanic, mixed with Super Meatboy levels of platforming difficulty work perfectly together. Early on the decision to save, or use that precious energy to open a door is often a very hard one to make. Those times where you forget to save right before a particularly demanding section only to miss a jump, or a Bash angle is just not right and you fall to your doom, losing any progress you have made since your last save, are mistakes you rarely make twice.
Ori and the Blind Forest is a game that fulfills all of my gaming needs. It rewards risks, but equally punishes. The joy you get from perfectly executing a mixture of jumps, wall climbs and bounces to find new hidden areas, or just to make it to a place where you can save and take a breath, are to me, incomparable. If you are a fan of the Metroidvania genre, or Super Meat Boy style platforming, you don’t want to miss this game.