Blindingly beautiful, hauntingly atmospheric
From Moon Studios, another new indie studio on the gaming scene, comes the Puzzle/Platformer, Ori and the Blind Forest. The game hit the limelight when it swooped in and grabbed several awards at E3 2014, and had an official launch last month. With this much hype surrounding the game, it better be good, right? But is it?
The game’s visuals really stand out. The visual aesthetic of Ori and the Blind Forest bears a distinct resemblance to James Cameron’s Avatar. But it does, regardless, have a je ne sais quoi of its own. The colours dazzle, the detailing is uncanny and each element of the game is designed to enhance the undercurrent of emotional upheaval that flows throughout the game. The graphics complement the game in every way, enhancing the experience for the player. The game designers have certainly utilised the full power of the Unity engine.
The music of the game has been chiming through the internet for the past year. The music composer is one Gareth Coker (of InMomentum fame) who has been composing music for short films, commercials and video games for the past seven years. The title track for Ori has been on his SoundCloud feed for the past few months, and hearing it (along with the other ambient tracks) in the game, it doesn’t disappoint. The music really is highly atmospheric and charged with emotion.
It’s been some time since a game of this genre and style has well and truly challenged the gamer. The game finds that sweet spot and nails fine balance in pacing and skill. The learning curve is smooth and committing actions to muscle memory is very natural. This gives the player freedom to use said moves in new and interesting ways—there’s definitely more than one way to skin an evil forest spirit.
If you’re playing on a PC, the game is fairly easy to play on a keyboard, though a controller would be recommended for a more fluid experience.
The game uses timing as an integral aspect of the gameplay. Based on how fast you grasp and predict your environment, a level can take you anything between a few minutes to an hour to finish. It takes a game like this to make you test your limits and make you realise exactly how haphazard your hand-eye-coordination can be. But then again, it’s not like SuperMeatBoy didn’t do the same. Still, this is a more elegant package.
Ori in a world of Puzzle/Platformers
Puzzle/Platformers have been entering the gaming sector in droves lately. Most of them indie, but there are some high-budget titles to be found as well. The competition in this genre has helped motivate developers into thinking outside the box to keep the gamers entertained. To look at, the game has followed the generic formula of sidescrollers over the past few years – a simple, straightforward story, great graphics, puzzle-based levels and skill-based gameplay. The game holds its own against other games like Trine, Nihilumbra, Bastion, Child of Light and Dust – An Elysian Tale.
There are very few flaws to pick from, and a whole lot of great gaming. The replay value, however, seems a bit low. Once you’re done with the game though, there’s very little chance that you’d want to play it again for a while. Another downside to the game is the fact that it’s being distributed by Microsoft, which means it won’t be available on the PlayStation (not any time soon, anyway). If you have an XBOX One (or an XBOX 360, which will receive the game later in the year), that shouldn’t matter, and the game is available on PC as well (to the relief of several Halo fans who wanted to play this one). Priced at $19.99 (approx. Rs.1,200) on steam, the game may seem a little expensive, but even at that rate, it’s worth the money and time spent on it.
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Prakrit "The Pony" Dhondiyal
From across the white-tipped mountains of the North comes a warrior with unusual skill in digital warfare and a penchant for bacon-topped pizza. Known by many names across the lands, his own name lost to the western winds, he is known by many as simply... ...The Pony.