Hollow Knight, smollow knight. If you’re into jumpy backtracking games that effortlessly walk the line between “d’awww” and “DANG NABBIT WHY IS THIS SO DIFFICULT” look no further than Ori and the Blind Forest. Released back in the heady days of 2015, Ori is arguably the pinnacle of the cute-but-crazy-hard platforming genre thanks to its gorgeous world, meticulous platforming and formidable sense of challenge – and best of all, only one of its main characters is a rubbish bug thing.
There’s the obvious appeal in that it looks just so darn lovely. Its lush forests and colourful, effervescent landscapes are instantly more eye-catching than the dark and dreary depths of what Hallownest has to offer. And the fact that Ori’s tiny cat-like squirrel body takes up such a small part of the screen means you’re better placed to drink it all in and savour its delights as you jump, swoop and dash through its glowing, ethereal landscape.
Ori himself is beautifully animated as well, and his fluid, graceful movements are a key part of what makes him so inherently satisfying to control – much more so, I’d say, than the jerky, sudden strikes and kickbacks of Team Cherry’s titular knight. Wall jumps, double jumps, stomp attacks… you name it and it is chefkiss.gif.
The jewel in Ori’s acrobatic crown, however, has to be his bash attack. Quite possibly the greatest platforming manoeuvre ever conceived by the human brain, this bash lets Ori propel himself off enemies and enemy projectiles to dazzling effect, turning ranged attacks back on their creators or using them as a springboard to reach greater and greater heights. It makes for some ingenious platforming sequences – the best in the whole game, if you ask me – and there’s simply no greater feeling than chaining together several bash attacks in quick succession to reach far-off secrets in the shadows or deliver sweet justice to those cackling creatures sitting just beyond the range of your regular double jump.
There is, of course, the small problem of getting past the breakneck gauntlet that is the rage-inducing Ginso Tree before you can bathe in all the delights bash has to offer, but trust me, it’s worth it.
If you’re into your platformers and somehow haven’t played Ori and the Blind Forest yet, you really owe it to yourself to rectify this situation immediately.