Ori and the Blind Forest [official site] is a beautiful game. That’s the first thing you’ll notice. The extended intro sequence plays out like a vaguely interactive Studio Ghibli animation as your character – a glowing mouse-like guardian spirit called Ori – is cared for by adopted bear-like parent Naru after she falls into the forest from the Spirit Tree. The animation is luxurious as Ori perches on Naru’s shoulders as they seek apples and while the pair build a bridge over a pool. It’s the first cut scene in a long time where I’ve sat back and watched rather than mash buttons in order to move the action along.
As the intro draws to a close the story and the forest darken. A gigantic angry-looking owl has disturbed the natural order of things, ripping the light from the woods and from the Spirit Tree which cares for the area. It’s at this point that the game proper begins with Ori stranded in a tangled wilderness, needing to heal or repair the damage to the land.
From this point you’ll find a tight, polished Metroidvania-style platformer with echoes of Ocarina of Time.
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