During Microsoft’s press event Monday evening, the official start to this year’s E3 was kicked off with an onslaught of interesting and innovative games. One game revealed during the show captured the attention of the thousands watching the event thanks to its unique visuals and promising gameplay. That game, Ori and the Blind Forest, offers so much more to gamers than the short trailer could possibly convey. Yesterday, Thomas Mahler, Game Director at Moon Studios, took the time to show some of the brilliant features that Ori and the Blind Forest has to offer.
To understand Ori and the Blind Forest, you must first understand how Moon Studios operates. A small team featuring eight core members, Moon Studios is truly unique in their methods. The eight developers are an international bunch, working remotely and sharing everything they create digitally. This convention certainly shines through, allowing each and every member of the team to use their own inspirations from the world to create a video game experience that truly stands out.
The gameplay shown of Ori and the Blind Forest took place in what was referred to as the ‘Lower Sunken Glades’, a remarkable location awash with vibrant tones of blue and purple. After taking in the beautiful scenery and 2D visuals of Ori, it instantly became clear that Moon Studios has captured the very essence of traditional ‘Metroidvania’ style platformers in a way that will surely hit home with fans of the genre.
This focus on creating an experience that feels natural permeates every aspect of Ori and the Blind Forest. Ori, the game’s protagonist, is on a quest to save the forest in which he resides. Simple in premise, Ori and the Blind Forest goes much deeper than this, however, as Moon Studios has taken much of their inspiration from films, games and literature with deep and memorable stories.
Ori’s journey is very much a coming of age tale, as the game begins with Ori’s birth and follows him throughout his life. Exploring and being immersed in the lush locations of the game is one of Ori and the Blind Forest’s core tenants.
Gameplay, as mentioned previously, is reminiscent of classic 2D platformers. Moon Studios has stressed the fact that controls and game design are of the highest importance in Ori and the Blind Forest. Despite the game’s art-heavy visuals, the developers have worked tirelessly to make a game that plays just as good – if not better – than it looks.
Moving about the game’s locations and levels won’t be a simple affair for Ori. The game’s Metroidvania influence will have players continually backtracking to locations in order to access previously unavailable areas in order to progress, ensuring that the experience in Ori and the Blind Forest continually feels fresh and engaging.
Navigating the world of Ori will be challenging. Moon Studio’s efforts to create precise controls have a lot to do with this, as platforming veers towards the more difficult side of things. This, however, can be managed by Ori’s ‘soul link’ ability which can be cast anywhere in the game to create an instant save point. In doing so, Moon Studios hopes that players will not be afraid to experiment in order to complete areas.
Outside of traditional 2D movement and the soul link ability, Ori can also shoot white orbs at the enemies he encounters. Those who try to stop Ori’s quest to save his beloved forest must be taken care of, which becomes more manageable once players unlock various skills and perks by progressing through the game.
When he is all powered up, Ori feels like a playable Superman.
It is clear that Ori and the Blind Forest is Moon Studios’ passion project. Every aspect of the game feels well-realized and important. Mechanically and visually, Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the most noteworthy games to be revealed at this year’s E3.
Ori and the Blind Forest is set to release next year for the Xbox One and PC.
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