The world is full of wonders, and there is always room for heroics in it; therefore it’s most important to stay away from that room, as the saying goes. But the wonders we’d want to stay close to. We want to see them, feel them, hear marvellous music accompanied by explosions of bright colours, creating intricate patterns and constellations. This is sorely lacking in our dull reality and routine of everyday life. Fortunately, there are games like Ori and The Blind Forest, they burst into our lives, bringing in so many different emotions that last a very long time. And that’s wonderful.
Here in the fairy forest, where magic is hiding under every bush, grows a large tree that emits light and life. One day a leaf fell off and it turned into our protagonist named Ori. He is found by one Naru, a person of a good-natured character and a strange appearance. Together they begin to live happily ever after and acquire food. But a catastrophe came to the forest and the trees began to die. Soon there was no more food, which led to a tragedy that forever changed the life of Ori. He was left all alone, but overcoming the emotional and physical pain, he goes on a long journey through the terrible and dangerous forest, hoping to put everything back in its place.
Motivation is important in any story. Ori’s motivation is clear and understandable; it corresponds to 99% of all similar adventure stories. The world around is deprived of light, dies and decomposes as a result, and little Ori gathers the elements to revive it. However, the fact is that Kuro – a giant owl who represents a typical all-powerful evil and who’s responsible for the whole night apocalypse, – too, has motivation, and as soon as the authors disclose it, you will not be able to stay calm. Yes, Ori and The Blind Forest is one of those stories where there is no obvious Evil, but simply two sides of the same coin, and no one can tell in advance which side you will identify with.
But this is just one of the many advantages of this game. Amazing music, visuals, and a 2-dimensional open world filled with secrets, various situations and enemies, extreme complexity of the gameplay – all this is an integral part of this seemingly small platformer. And this beautiful ambience, which can be enjoyed even if you just mindlessly wander through the locations. Authors have a lot of surprises and secret places in store for the players which you won’t reach without some finger dexterity. You can, of course, level up Ori so that any trick will be trivial, but professionals will be able to beat the game without resorting to it at all. They even have a few special achievements for effort.
Actually, the complexity of passing though certain places is the only drawback of this battle platformer. One moment it gives you a job with which a child could cope, and the next, for no reason at all, it throws you a marathon of creepy places that are impossible to pass without dying twenty times in a row. It seems, the authors inserted your statistics of deaths into the pause menu as a kind of mockery. Experienced players will make it in two hundred or less lives, for everyone else the figure could grow into thousands.
But the more complex the test, the sweeter will the victory be. In fact, no one promised an easy ride. It falls on you with a load of gameplay and emotional difficulties, makes you hate and adore its creators, nurture hope and shed bitter tears for the heroes of this world. Ori and The Blind Forest is a story that goes a little beyond fables. Children will find it difficult to play for many reasons, as will, indeed, quite impressionable people. If you cried over “Hachiko” in the first 10 minutes of the film, then you’ll be crying over Ori and The Blind Forest as well. The game teaches that the world is unfair that there is always someone who will have to die and sacrifice themselves. But even when the Sun goes down, there is always the hope that it will rise again. The sad ending, which is in general positive, is still sad, despite the successfully completed mission. If you are ready to test yourself, prepare a few handkerchiefs, the game will be emotionally merciless to you. But it’s definitely worth it.
Kirill Ilukhin. Born in 1985 in a land with snowy summers and flooding winters. Games addict from the age of 13, actively voicing opinions about them since 17.