Average Playtime: 5 hours

Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition review
by Serge Ulankin

The game gave me hours of terrific challenging gameplay dotted with emotional spikes of the story. I wouldn't lie if I said this is one of the best games I played this year, and I am both sad I haven't played it earlier and very happy that I played it only now, because Moon Studios is releasing the sequel soon—so it's not long to wait for it! The game is a must for Metroidvania lovers and those who like platforming challenge. If you are not really into this kind of stuff, I'll try to explain why you still need this game.
Ori and the Blind Forest has a rather small scale, its story is epic, so to speak, but on a level of just one magical forest. You play as Ori, a small white spirit, accompanied by Sein, an even tinier spirit that helps Ori master new abilities and guides the protagonist through the murky woods. If I wanted to retell the story I would finish it in one minute and wouldn't be quite able to tell why it's so expressive and captivating. But when the story is matched with such great art-style with painstaking attention to detail—it's known that every object in the game is used just once—and a wonderful soundtrack, you won't notice when you need some tissues.

Random comments will give you the idea that many people were devastated by Ori and the Blind Forest. My favorite thing is to see how people change the title to make it more “accurate,” such as Ori and the Bucket of Tears, or Ori and the Onion Forest (Because onions make you cry. Well, it's a complicated one but still…), or just Crying Simulator (Stimulator, I say). And yes, it's a rather short game, I completed 100% of the Definitive Edition in 14 hours, and if you are better at platformers than me, you can beat it even faster.

You will fight forest inhabitants but you probably won't feel like they are bad, because they are just living predatory creatures of the forest, and you have to survive them. (Not the green-barfing pigs and stony fireballs, those guys are assholes.) When you progress further through the story, you will understand that Ori and the Blind Forest doesn't really have antagonists—both Kuro and Gumo, whom you oppose during the game, do what they can to save those who are important to them.

Gameplay-wise, it is a solid Metroidvania with tight platforming sequences. Platforming is a dangerous “enemy,” but the motion is fluid and buttery-smooth. Ori sticks to ledges, flips between platforms and glides in the wind just the way you want. Ori has one of the best feelings of being in control of the character—along with the controls scheme itself. If you, by any chance, have already played the game or completed Ginso Tree, enjoy this thoughtful video about the philosophy behind this level particularly and the special ability “Bash” which is the hallmark movement of the game that lets you gain speed from projectiles and enemies throwing them in the opposite direction.
Speaking of moves, the level design is top-notch for a Metroidvania, and when you gain a new ability, it doesn't just let you go to places you couldn't reach before, but entirely changes the way you move through most of the rooms. There's plenty of backtracking in the game, which some gamers found tiresome as I understood reading other reviews, but for me it was not an issue. On the contrary, the backtracking is quite enjoyable here! You get new moves, you can try a different approach to the places you've seen before, and also collect some power-ups and whatnot that were inaccessible before. Major alterations in some areas after you complete certain parts of the game make it even better. Finally, in Definitive Edition, there are portals that let you travel between them instantly—I used them only three times, if I recall correctly, but again, I saw that, for some, that was a real godsend after the base game.

Other differences in Definitive Edition is that you can get two more optional abilities, they are not too much to change anything dramatically in the gameplay, but are nice to have. Then, there are a couple more levels with some unique mechanics and puzzles where you get to learn Naru's past. People complained that it was too expensive on the launch day and the owners of the original game should have received it for free, but a few years have passed already, so I don't think this matters now. I can just say that I loved those additions and they didn't feel out of place, try to get this edition instead of the base game.
All in all, Ori and the Blind Forest is a unique game, I doubt anybody will feel disappointed after playing it. It is on the same level with some of the best Metroidvanias of the recent years including Guacamelee! and Hollow Knight, and, in some respects, such as controls and motion or visual detail or music, one might say it even surpasses them.
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
«OST on repeat»
I like it even more than Guacamelee, and you should know HOW I love Guacamelee! I have three versions of it. I found Ori more fluent, more smooth in its "mertoidvaning". And I still want to try Hollow Knight someday. For now I don't even have it. Heard a lot of great things about it too!
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