Closing Thoughts – Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest sits at the edge of perfection, looking out at a small gathering of “instant classic” games before choosing to stubbornly sit in place, leaving me with the thankless job of criticizing its one pervasive flaw. Combining the hardcore platforming of Super Meat Boy with the non-linear exploration of Metroid, Ori’s unique abilities are not only useful for both the platforming and exploration, but remain engaging throughout a perfectly-paced, 6-to-8-hour experience. The visuals are jaw-dropping, providing an alternate reality where 3D games were never invented, where developers just iterated on the lessons of the 16-bit era. But those visuals are also Ori’s worst enemy, as the richness of the environment leads to confusion and unfair, unwanted deaths. A foreground threat may look like an innocent background bit of ambiance, and vice-versa. Meanwhile, what should be fast and precise combat is made into mindless button-mashing by visual noise that obscures the action. Behind the flash is a brilliant, must-play game with a story that punched me in the gut more than I’d like to admit, but that one flaw keeps it just short of the highest possible recommendation.

It’s still a 5/5, though

Closing Thoughts are reviews-in-brief, meant for games I play that are either too old or too small to write a full review for. That, or it’s the only part you would have read in a full review anyway. The world may never know.

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