Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a metroidvania style video game and the sequel to Ori and The Blind Forest. I loved the first game, and recently started on this one.
At the End of Ori and the Blind Forest, Ori and his friends found an egg of the great owl they’d just defeated, hatching and producing a baby owl. This sequel starts with the gang raising the little owl. As time passes, the owl learns to fly, and in its joy, it takes Ori for a trip over the sea.
Unfortunately, when they’ve crossed the sea, they run into a storm. Ori and the owl are separated, crashing to the ground, and Ori finds himself in a strange hostile environment, looking for his friend.
Ori is a Metroidvania platformer. ‘Metroidvania’ is derived from the games Castlevania and Metroid. Those are both platform games with open worlds. Your character cannot reach certain sections at the start but only after gaining certain powers.
Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps both feature this type of gameplay. You start off with no way to defend yourself or climb stuff, or ways to pass certain objects. Slowly you get your bearings and pick up various magical powers. As you make your way, you gain clues to the whereabouts of your friend the owl. You also slowly make the lands a better place. With each step you unlock more powers for yourself, and more areas to explore.
It’s pretty fun, but also frustratingly hard. The chase scenes are hellishly difficult, and reaching certain spots is very challenging. Now I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to things like those chases, and will doggedly give it fifty tries until I make it. Frothing at the mouth in anger by the time I reach thirty tries, I will add. Of course, my reflexes have degraded since I was twenty, but you have to judge for yourself if you can take this kind of frustration.
The graphics and music
Ori and the Blind Forest was a beautiful game. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is even more spectacular. Just about every blade of grass and ground moves in the wind or at your passing. The many-colored magic that you and enemies use, provides mood lighting, while you are treated to all kinds of environments: pitoresque forests, windy deserts, muddy swamps, and dark caves. It’s a very pretty game, especially with 4k graphics and HDR, if your screen (or TV) supports it.
The game has also expanded on the various creatures inhabiting the world. Where the first part featured an evil Owl, this installment has a deformed bird-like creature called Shriek, who is truly terrifying, and several other multi-tentacles monstrosities. There’s also a giant frog, a huge bear, and a host of friendly creatures called Moki, making the forest feel very alive.
Like the first Ori game, the musical score is entrancing. The music manages to strike just the right balance between being unobtrusive and haunting, It also fits perfectly with the ghostly dreamlike quality of the graphics.
I’d summarize the game with one word: ‘lush’.
I loved the first Ori game, and I love this one as well. It is not for the faint of heart, and can be frustrating, but that makes it all the more rewarding when you’ve struggled through another chase to find a magical vista.