Today, we revisit the concept of the Artistic Indie Game. I will not hide the fact that I absolutely love this genre. Most of these games are single player, which appeals to me, have an artistic feel to them, which appeals to me, have a typically low price tag, which REALLY appeals to me, and on the whole portrays video games as a new blossoming form of artistic media. While I criticize the digital download generation as a way to exploit gamers by selling them bits and pieces of video games as ‘DLC’ and also publishing horrifically unfinished games as ‘betas’, I will praise the generation for giving us the opportunity to enjoy games such as Ori and the Blind Forest. Just like its predecessor, Journey which arguably started the mass market appeal of the artistic video game, Ori and the Blind Forest appeals to a niche market of people who can consume the game and enjoy it for hours at a time.
Ori and the Blind Forest is the story of Ori, a white spirit that fell from the Spirit Tree in the forest of Nibel. After being separated from the tree, Ori is found by a creature named Naru who raises Ori. There is a quick montage of the character interacting, that is heartwarming and touching. But of course, shit turns into an absolute tear-jerker fast when a cataclysm rocks Nibel. Trees, foliage, and fruit begin to wilt and the world begins to die. During this time, Naru perishes in order to let Ori live.
After wondering the forest alone, Ori is revived by the Spirit Tree who sends him on a quest back to his home in order to resurrect the Spirit Tree and save Nibel from the horrific cataclysm.
Like any artistic game, this game looks beautiful. Graphically speaking, it is one of the most stunning and artistic masterpieces that I have seen since the vastly underrated Okami. Combined with enchanting music, the graphics of this game immerse you into the world of Nibel. You become much more invested in the game through its graphics alone as it draws you in like the moth to the flame.
The graphics and musical score is the bread and butter to the artistic video game genre and on this area, Ori and the Blind Forest is a grand slam!
The Gameplay is Solid
One of the major criticisms of the artistic gaming genre is that they tend to focus more on the storytelling and the graphics and focus on a well tuned, yet simplistic game play mechanic. Ori and the Blind Forest expands on this to create a visually stunning game with rock solid gameplay.
Not only does the game a tight and challenging 2D Platformer, but it also incorporates a level up mechanic when it comes to abilities such as offense, defense, and stat increases. If you include a limited save mechanic that keeps players on their feet and eliminating the spamming of saves one can utilize, it makes the game one of intense strategy and thought.
It Is Well Worth the Price Mark
Just like most artistic games, it is priced accordingly. I can get much more enjoyment (and feel much less shame) from buying a game that is $19.99 as opposed to $59.99. If the game is terrible, there is less worry in it, and you still save money in the long run.
Ori and the Blind Forest is an absolute steal for $19.99. You will obtain hours of enjoyment out of it and at a third of the price of the over budgeted Triple A games that still tend to be (for the most part) well polished turds. I would buy three Ori and the Blind Forests before I purchase a single The Order 1886.
The Story, While Told Well, is a Little One Note
Artistic games do tend to suffer somewhere and in this case it is in the story. The story isn’t… Terrible… In fact, it is very well told. The problem is that the story is very simplistic. It is the kind of story that you would expect from an artistic game. It seems to have a deep meaning and comes across as very intelligent, but overall the story is very shallow in its premise. A little white spirit becomes friends with a big lovable oaf. The big lovable oaf dies and the white spirit goes on its own little spiritual journey to resurrect a dead tree and his friend. Overall, that is kind of it.
It isn’t a major con, but it is one none the less. The story does have that expected artistic story behind it and when the story itself has no substance beyond what it is at face value, it does seem a little deceptive.
Ori and the Blind Forest is definitely worth your time and your money. The story may be a little contrived, but the graphics, the musical score, and the gameplay are well enough to make up for its minor short comings. It is easily worth its $20 list price and should be instantly scooped up any time the game goes on sale on Steam. You will not be disappointed and will have hours of entertainment.
Final Score 4.5/5
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