Rebekah’s Game of the Year – #2: Ori and the Blind Forest
I will not soon forget the story of Ori, a strangely adorable forest spirit who sets off on an adventure with his little light guide Sein, to restore the light to Nibel, the great tree from which he came. It’s a story of love; of friendship; of motherhood; and of how differences can unknowingly harm others. And it’s one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played.
From start to finish, Ori and the Blind Forest had me in tears. Sometimes it was out of frustration, because I couldn’t nail a particularly difficult jumping sequence with the game’s challenging but well-designed platforming levels. Sometimes it was pure joy, a rush from completing an area or experiencing my absolute favorite platforming sequence in any game ever (hint: the game’s first “boss battle”). And sometimes it was simply that the story, told in a few words, watercolor, and uplifting music, moved me that much.
While I found Ori and the Blind Forest challenging as a platformer, the level design, beauty, and story pacing encouraged me constantly to press onward. I never got mad, though I died hundreds of times (the unique save feature helped alleviate this somewhat). Constantly gaining new abilities through the ability tree, finding collectables, and learning new jumping techniques felt rewarding and appropriately paced, and the game’s three major escape sequences lent their frantic gameplay to the feel of the story itself. And Gareth Coker’s score was the cherry on top.
Ori and the Blind Forest is one of my top ten favorite games of all time, and one I’ll be delighted to revisit when the enhanced edition finally releases. It would have easily been my Game of the Year, had it not been for a sneaky little indie title that I picked up toward the very end…
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