Ori and the Blind Forest | Game Review

Atmospheric, incredibly detailed and breathtaking to look at, Ori is a captivating platformer

Ori and the Blind Forest
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Publisher: Microsoft
Reviewed On: Xbox One
Cert: 7
Available On: Xbox One,PC

If games scores were awarded solely on how a game looked, Ori and the Blind Forest would get top marks all round. The game, which was unveiled at E3 last year, is beautiful. Atmospheric, incredibly detailed and breathtaking to look at, Ori is a captivating platformer.

Developer Moon Studios describes the game as a "loveletter to 2D gaming", a mix of genres, a "Metroidvania".

It doesn’t feel derivative though.Moon has put serious effort into the story and how it’s told. You take control of Ori, a small forest sprite who is tasked with saving his home, which is under threat. After a touching lead-in to the game, you have to wander the forest, building up Ori’s powers as he and his companion Sein try to save the forest.There are puzzles to solve and dangerous obstacles to overcome, all of which take time, effort and thought.

Building up Ori’s abilities takes time. But the game is so engaging that you’ll want to put in the effort, and when you do, you’ll put them to good use. Double-jumping, Bash attacks – they’ll all have their place.


Another well thought-out element is the save mechanism. Instead of hitting checkpoints, Moon has put the power in the gamer’s hands through the soul link. This allows Ori to save progress at any point, but it comes at a price. To create a soul link you need to build up energy, but you’ll also use that for some attack abilities, and it’s not always an easy thing to build up. That means making a careful choice; it also takes away the sense that the game can be too forgiving of mistakes. It’s not; although it’s not frustrating, there are some difficult points that will require thought and patience.

Ori, quite simply, has it all. If anything, it’s a little on the short side, with the average playing time of six to nine hours. We want more, Moon.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist