Game of the Year 2015 – #4 Ori and the Blind Forest (130 points – two 2nd place votes, three total votes)
Developer: Moon Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
If you want a game that blends an excellent story, remarkable gameplay, gorgeous artistry and hauntingly beautiful music, look no further than Ori and the Blind Forest. Truly a collaborative work, it took the reigning in of artists, engineers and other development staff remotely working from around the world on this years to complete this momentous title. Boy, did the results ever pay off.
You play as Ori, a fallen spirit who is reborn by the Spirit Tree in order to restore life to the Blind Forest. A Metroidvania title of the highest regard, you encounter a lost being named Sein, who provides Ori with help in the form of bolt attacks. You unlock access to new areas of familiar landscapes over time as you become more powerful, talented and agile in your combat experience. You also learn skills that let you platform through narrow, spike-laden impasses, and are pressured in daring escape sequences to use the most of your skills to dash to safety.
Ori and the Blind Forest is both forgiving and unforgiving. Death totals will climb in the hundreds, but respawning is almost instantaneous. Its tumultuous story is so emotionally gripping you may be dead inside if you don’t shed a tear at least once. Its wonderfully orchestrated soundtrack breathes life into the scenery, weaving a portrait rich in depth and detail. The story pacing is so on point, never rushing or dragging for a moment’s notice. The level design is impeccable, sectioning off hidden elements and set pieces to create a fully realized universe.
Ori and the Blind Forest is the kind of game that doesn’t come around too often. Embodying the best out of numerous elements with a masterful precision, you could not ask for anything more than this.
Next: A Game Years In The Making