Ori and the Blind Forest Gameplay: 10 Things You’ll Love

Enjoy the beautiful forest of Nibel.

Ori and the Blind Forest, developed by the independent Moon Studios, came out of nowhere. It is a beautiful game that has a story and atmosphere to match. It has won many awards and is becoming highly talked about.

So what is it about this 2D Metroidvania game that has gamers talking?  

Sonic Meets Miyazaki

Ori and the Blind Forest Launch Trailer

I saw everyone in the Steam community talking about this game and I wondered why, because it looked so different from everything else that has been popular.  However, I bought it anyway.  I was captivated by the graphics and the first ten minutes of gameplay reminded me so much of Sonic games that I coined the phrase: “It’s like Sonic meets Miyazaki.”

Turns out, Moon Studios took a lot of inspiration from Miyazaki.  Though, Sonic is not on their list of influences. 

Regardless, the game is special because it is different than everything else that’s popular right now.  It’s a game that reflects on an older era of games, but with the technology of games today.  I’m about to tell you everything that you’ll love about this game and it’s gameplay. 

1. Old Game Feel

 Back to the realm of side-scrollers.

The game takes its leaves from Super Metroid and A Link to the Past to fully bring back the feel of games from the early 90s.  It’s a simple map design, a simple set of controls, and a simple enough concept to get you into the game and hooked almost instantly.  Ori is super well-polished with an encompassing atmosphere. 

For me, it truly does bring back the feel of those older games.  I hope it does the same for you. 

2. It’s a Mix of Genres

It may look like a side-scroller, but it’s so much more than that.

The game is classified as ‘Metroidvania’, and it certainly looks and behaves like your average side-scrolling game, but there’s more of a platforming focus and RPG elements to it than that.  There is an underlying story that is more complex than games of the early 90s, making it almost a bridge of the Metroid-esque games then and the high-fantasy RPG games of now.  Because of this, Ori and the Blind Forest appeals to all types of gamers.

3. Beautiful Graphics

Every single frame is an artistic masterpiece. 

Moon Studios used Unity for their engine in order to enable Ori to turn into a painting come to life.  They developed a lot of their own engine patches to allow Ori to become a seamless RPG art piece. 

Yes, Ori is 2D, but it does not look or feel like old, pixelated graphics.  The graphics, colors, shading, and contrast, do everything to contribute to the fantastic story and gameplay of Ori. 

4. Gorgeous Musical Score

Behind the music of Ori and the Blind Forest.

Ori has been nominated for Best Original Composition and Best Sound Design for the Music and Sound awards 2015.  The music seems to take on Ori’s own point of view.  Every minute of music has been carefully orchestrated to fit the aesthetic of the overall game. 

In the trailer alone, the music grabbed my attention and made me click “Buy” that much faster.  The game has virtually no dialogue, but you won’t feel like you’re missing anything because the music supplements all that you would need out of dialogue anyway.  The music matches the little forest spirit’s journey perfectly. 

5. Innovative Save Points

Soul Links are your save points.

Soul Links are how you save in Ori and the Blind Forest.  The cool thing about them is that you can place them pretty much wherever you want, so long as it’s in a safe spot.  So, you can’t place them in any of the escape sequences, but why would you want to, anyway?

You might run into a few problems with the Soul Links early in the game, because you do have a limited amount of them, but this problem goes away as the game progresses and you level up.  Soul Links are also used to access the Ability Tree, which you’ll use every time you level up.  But more on that later. 

The system is mostly intuitive and only becomes a problem if you forget to use a Soul Link and save, then you run out of life points and have to go back to whenever it was you did last use a Soul Link.  Alternatively, it can become a problem if you want to save, but don’t have the energy to create a Soul Link.  Again, however, these problems fade as the game moves along.

6. The Ability Tree

Super simple to understand. 

The Ability Tree is easy to understand and personalize.  The branches are split into survival and defense, convenience and exploration, and attack and offensive.  In the above screenshot, there’s a lot of attack and convenience options selected. 

The attack options are great, because it means that Ori can get more orbs, to level up more.  The Flame attacks are great to use against just about every enemy.  You’ll be able to get through so many more areas once you have those unlocked.

The Magnets in the purple branch are great because it collects your orbs for you, like it says it’s going to.  As far as survival and defensive techniques, upgrading those allows the ability to recharge abilities and use Soul Links more than once. 

Akin to earlier RPGs, you can only access the Ability Tree from Soul Links.  The process is fairly intuitive however.       

7. Creative Story

So, on top of the awesome graphics and music, you get a bombin’ story, too.

First and foremost, the story is easy to get into and fascinating to follow.  There is nothing overly contrived about it and everything flows great. 

Moon Studios made it into a little bit of a coming-of-age story.  You grow as Ori grows and you find out together what it means to be a forest spirit.  Moon looked to The Lion King, The Iron Giant and Studio Ghibli for inspiration there. 

Despite those influences, however, Ori and the Blind Forest is a story unique to its own.  Ori is the bastion of hope in a blinded forest that has lost its light to Kuro, the spirit who hates the light. 

8. It’s so Pretty! But You’re Gonna Die

This image is a testament to how pretty it is, not to how much you’ll die

Ori is really simple to play through.  And there’s no doubt that it’s beautiful to watch and listen to.  That said, just about everything can hurt Ori it seems.

Water is dangerous, there are plants that are actually enemies that you can do nothing about until you’ve gotten some form of a Flame attack, and sometimes falls can kill you too.  Honestly, it all makes sense and reminds me a lot of Sonic or Mario games.  

That said, if you use your Soul Links wisely, you won’t find yourself cheated out of hard work when getting through a certain stage kills you repeatedly.  It’s all a learning experience combined with some good timing. 

9. World Exploration

Well, that’s pretty easy to read.

You can trace every area you’ve explored on the map once you’ve explored it.  You can see where you’ve been, and what you haven’t explored yet.  The game gives you clues as to where you need to be heading, and when it doesn’t, the answer really is to just explore everywhere. 

There are Keystones that you find to open up gates and allow you to progress through the game.  Exploring the world and looking for the Keystones comes naturally and doesn’t feel forced. 

10. Good Pacing

Ori moves a rock out of the way.

Throughout the game, there are no points at which you feel that the game is dragging or rushing too much.  The game keeps moving and there are reasons to go back to previously explored areas once you have new abilities learned so that you can find more collectables or open new pathways.   

Some of the escape sequences may seem a bit frustrating, but the game needs its challenging bits.  These sequences also are spaced pretty evenly throughout the game and balance well with the regular world exploration. 

Ori is Simply Amazing

So, now you know the reasons why everyone is raving over Ori and the Blind Forest.  Technically, I only listed ten reasons as to why it’s great, you might find even more.  Even still, the artwork, the music, the innovative gameplay, and the simple but original story arc make Ori a great way to spend your time.  

Gamer Since: 1999
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Dragon Age: Origins, Ori and the Blind Forest
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dragon Age: Origins, Portal 2, Resident Evil 4 Ultimate HD
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