Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest

Titular Ori looks like a cutie with his appearance reminding of similarly titular Stitch with a more thin physique. It doesn’t stop him however from getting rather devious and mean to the player right off the start. The trial and error approach which the game is based upon overwhelms you at first. A new character death happens faster than you would’ve expected from a game which desperately tries to look like a Disney animated feature with a touch of Studio Ghibli’s design and mystique. Everything is dangerous and kills our hero instantly with one attack punishing for a single mistake. Sharp spikes, flying aggressive thingies, crawling aggressive thingies, thingies spewing glowing bombs will kill you mercilessly and send you to the most recent checkpoint which you created yourself with the same energy that can also be spent on you most powerful and helping in “oh shit” situation attack.

I don't know what to say. You don't care anyway.

And this creates an interesting resource management dynamic for a while. Should you keep it and see a little more or should you spend it right here right now so you won’t have to respawn far behind and re-do all that painstakingly hard jumps again? Of course you should do it now like any sensible person would! Problem is, that it stops being a problem after a while, as you progress through the story guided by glowing arrow on the world map pointing to where you should go next for things to happen: like gaining a new ability from the list which inevitably includes a double jump. Curiously enough you can turn that into a triple jump with leveling up of one of ability trees, though it won’t be really necessary. Otherwise how you would be able to get all those items hidden in the backgrounds or placed in previously inaccessible areas. “So many secrets” the game tells you through its achievement notification. Sadly that it doesn’t mention all of them containing only three types of glowing orbs, which you don’t really need after some initial leveling up. The main difficulty that persists throughout the game is a challenge of speed jumping puzzles which are using your newly acquired mechanic.

Dr. Hoo

Going back to the previous locations as the side activity can’t really compete with going on with the story; you run back to the already visited area to just use that recently got ability in a challenge that is fairly trivial compared to the ones you just did during one of those this-is-it-run-or-die-sections, and, well, while it doesn’t hurt you’ve already lost count of your energy glowing balls and you probably don’t really need that another one; it would’ve just unnecessarily lengthened the already not that compact experience which this game wants to be at heart. This unnecessary increase affects the story which in compensation tries to be more vague than it should be, making the narrator speak in an artificial language and immediately translating all his lines through subtitles with a fairly generic lines of not that inventive a story.

What I’m saying is not that cheesy stories with cheesy endings don’t work, because otherwise I wouldn’t love Pixar movies. But maybe they aren’t that stretchable to 12-hour-long format even if they are so adorable.