Ori and the Will of the Wisps was developed by Moon Studios and published by Xbox Game Studios.

Well, I didn’t expect to turn this game on and experience what I can only describe as one of the most visually and audibly pleasing games I’ve played this year and the game-play isn’t bad either. Players are put into the role of Ori, Ori must rescue Ku from a mysterious forest but the journey doesn’t exactly go to plan. Without spoiling the story I can’t go into much detail but the story is wonderfully crafted and shown through the beautiful design choices and memorable characters. The sense of dread through some parts of the game are brought to life by so many elements it was such a wonderful experience. Potentially the game can be done in 12 hours but really it’s how you explore the title, do you take your time and learn everything there is about the game and explore every little nook and cranny? Or do you fancy yourself the speedrunner type? I myself prefer to take everything in but I’m not quite at achievement/trophy hunter just yet.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a Metroidvania style game where exploration and backtracking are often rewarded whether it be interesting power-ups, health upgrades or energy upgrades. I felt that this also offered a lot of customisation in how you want your Ori to take on the perilous tasks ahead. I chose most of the heavy attacks as I felt that I could then defend myself from enemies coming from all directions. Despite being on normal mode though I found it quite challenging at times and navigating the map with constantly having to bring it up kind of broke the flow a little in between the platforming sections that just ran so smoothly and beautifully. The variety in enemies is interesting, you can tell each one is crafted with such care and precision but boy can they have a host of attacks that take you by surprise, this is good though as you can’t always predict the patterns, I had trouble in some of the combat shrines to win awards but over-all it was quite interesting and added something else to the game. Experimenting with new skills, collecting coins and investing in Ori’s pool of abilities is a lot of fun and drives you forward, it offers a lot of replay-ability and player choice.

What I want to talk about most when it comes to Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the talent that went into the overall design of it. I was listening to the music and it gave me chills, it was mesmerising and inspiring, it really helped convey the emotion through-out the play-through. I just cannot put it into exact words of how it made me feel because it is unlike any score I’ve experienced in a long while. The art style as-well, Ori and the Will of the Wisps level design and graphical design are a joy to experience, especially after the first encounter with a boss, you end up in this den full of bones but as you go higher you started seeing the light and tree’s, go a little bit further and you reach the stunning vista you can see in the screenshot above.

Verdict

Ori and the Will of the Wisps has a beautiful story, fun game-play and the winner has to be the design of the game in music and graphics. While I don’t usually play Metroidvania type games and I never played the first title, it introduced me to a genre that I should be looking into more, especially if they’re as wonderfully crafted as this. The developers at Moon Studios should be proud as I felt more emotions here than I have with some of the biggest games released. Apart from a couple of minor hindrances in having to check the map and the challenge can sometimes get slightly intimidating, I can’t recommend this game enough to fans of 2D platforms or people that just want to experience something a little different.

9/10

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