Well, Game of Last Week I suppose; I’m a day late after all!
I recently picked up Ori and the Blind Forest in Xbox’s Black Friday sale, for the princely sum of €10,00. This being the price for Gold members, which I wasn’t, it was a pleasant coincidence that a month of Gold was also on sale for only €1. €11,00 total for this beautiful game is quite a bargain.
Previously I owned this on Steam, and was impressed for the short time I spent with it – I wasn’t much in the mood for its slower pace, and then I replaced my Mac and haven’t bothered to install Windows this time around. I bought my Xbox One two and a half weeks ago, and this was the first exclusive game I wanted after Forza. Waiting for pay day to pay the €19,99 asking price, the sale was an even sweeter surprise.
The game starts off very slow, with a semi-interactive introduction sequence showing your land of plenty facing unexpected destruction, leaving you alone and hungry. A forest spirit calls out to you, and so begins your adventure.
Sitting proudly in the “Metroidvania” genre of adventure games, you jump, climb, and shoot your way through the different areas, upgrading your abilities to unlock progress. Enemies change and toughen up as you move on, and are then rebalanced as you upgrade your firepower. You don’t shoot directly, being a creature of the forest, but instead utilise the power of a sprite who flies along by your side, and shoots fireballs on command.
An upgrade tree follows three paths, all of which hold useful upgrades to your abilities. Killing enemies is the main way to earn experience points to spend, and you will also find bonus XP around the levels.
The art direction is where the game truly shines, with beautiful use of light and colour and a well-animated world to explore.
Sadly by the time you read this the sale will be over, but even at the full asking price this game provides many hours of beautiful exploratory fun, a moving story, and a compelling reason to own an Xbox One in the first place.