We’ve been in love with Ori and the Blind Forest since we got the opportunity to play it last year at E3 2014. Ori is a beautiful sidescrolling action platformer, both charming and sad – not to mention a lot of fun. With the Xbox One and PC game’s March 11 release date quickly approaching, we spent some time with Ori to learn more about how the game not only tests your reflexes, but also tries to break your brain.
In the Forlorn Ruins, the titular Ori finds a Light Vessel, which he must transport through the level. Carrying this glowing orb weighs him down, preventing him from double-jumping. No big deal; we’ve seen this before, we can adapt.
Then the game throws in a twist: The Forlorn Ruins are very vertical, but your jumping and wall-climbing are out of the question. You quickly find that while carrying the Light Vessel, you can walk up certain walls, shifting your gravity to wherever your feet are placed. The trick is, you can only walk on the ruin’s orange walls while holding the orb… otherwise, they kill you.
It starts out simply enough; you’re upside down, maneuvering through levels. But as you work through the ruins, Ori and the Blind Forest messes with you, forcing you to think about space differently. Gravity becomes another tool in your arsenal, and by maneuvering around the floating blocks, you can reach new heights (or “plummet” to your death sideways, if you’re not careful). We’ve never quite seen gravity used this way in a video game – it’s almost as if you’re playing gravity itself. It shows that Ori and the Blind Forest is more than an homage to old-school games. Instead, the game is taking the genre and turning it on its head.
Another innovative feature – and one we found ourselves using a lot – is the ability to set a checkpoint nearly anywhere in the level using a Soul Flame. There are still save points throughout the level that automatically serve as checkpoints, but they’re few and far between. The Soul Flame system allows you to celebrate the accomplishment of conquering a particularly challenging puzzle or battle, while ensuring you won’t have to go back and do it all over again the next time you die.
As we mentioned above, you only have to wait until March 11 to play Ori and the Blind Forest on Xbox One and Windows PC. Brush up on your old-school platforming skills; you’ll need them!