Ori and the Will of the Wisps is breathtaking. Equal parts Studio Ghibli, Castlevania, and Zelda – the game is a master craft come to life. My time with Moon Studio’s sequel to the beloved Ori and the Blind Forest, is the type of game that reminds me what it’s like to be a kid again. The type of game that demonstrates how the marriage of art and pixels can truly give birth to something fascinating.
Moon Studios, an Austrian developer who prides itself on Sattelite work, is run by the charismatic Thomas Mahler. Known for their incredible animation and attention to detail – they are swinging into 2020 with a statement piece. Ori And The Will Of The Wisps, their sophomore effort, is a grand adventure that is set to define how a narrative can amplify the Metroid Vania genre.
So without further ado – this is Remote Play’s review of Ori And The Will Of The Wisps.
Ori And The Will Of The Wisps is a charming tale. The game starts off with Ori raising a baby owl named Ku. Ku is the child of Kuro, the antagonist from the first game. Ku struggles to fly due to her wings not functioning. Ori helps Ku by attaching her mother’s feather to her wing so she can finally fly. After a series of unfortunate events, however, the pair get separated and a new adventure begins.
Without spoilers – the story takes many twists, turns, and will take players on an emotional roller coaster. Moon Studios have done an incredible job and the attachments players will develop across the journey is something that will melt the hardest of hearts.
When it comes to gameplay of the original Ori, platforming was the main focus with less attention given to the combat. That’s certainly not the case with the sequel. They’ve doubled down on the combat. It feels completely fresh and refined. Ori will encounter many creatures with their own move sets. The combat in Will Of The Wisps is satisfying and addictive. Spirit Flame is replaced by Spirit Edge, a sword that comes in handy when you encounter enemies and bosses. Spirit Smash is a hammer that helps you fight multiple enemies. You can also use it to smash through walls to help you navigate to another area. You can navigate around the world in style and it’s even more satisfying when you gain new abilities and go back to an area you couldn’t get access to previously.
Environmental hazards and enemy projectiles can be used to your advantage when it comes to combat and platforming. It’s a great way to make use of the skills you unlock. Environmental puzzles can be a little frustrating at first, but once you solve them, it feels rewarding. You’ll see many Spirit Trees that help you unlock abilities like a double jump, dashing, and grapple hooking. There’s a weapon wheel that allows you to switch weapons and abilities on the fly. As you explore the beautiful forests, the vibrant pools, and the sandy deserts- you’ll find spirit shards. You can use them as perks to make your journey less difficult. You’re given a limited amount of slots at first, but you can have additional slots for your Spirit Shards when you complete a challenge at any combat shrine.
These shrines can be found in hidden areas. Spirit Trials is a cool new addition to Ori. You can unlock them by finding Keystones. Spirit Trials allow you to race a ghost from one location to another. Rewards can be earned by completing each trial. It’s definitely a fun way to test your platforming skills. Speaking of platforming skills, the chase sequences really give you an adrenaline rush when you use your acrobatics to breeze through an area.During your journey, you’ll befriend many NPC characters that give you advice and words of wisdom. They may send you on a side quest and some also give you hints on a undiscovered location.
Graphically, Ori and the Will of Wisps is a Disney Animation Classic come to life. From the moment you press start, everything – and let me say this with emphasis – everything – is animated.
Backgrounds sway and swoon to the wind, Ori acrobatically jumps and leaps with pizzazz, and the enemies / NPCs / and Earth feel lived in. But let’s get this out the way – it’s not just art direction. Ori uses some of the finest technical tools available today. Running native 4k 60 FPS with an HDR Pass – the game is a treasure to behold.
Rays of light touch the ground, foreground / back ground objects have their own planes of distance, effects emit blistering lights of particles. In short – it’s a feast for the senses. And one that will impresses the hardest of graphic enthusiasts.
The score for Ori and The Will Of The Wisps is something I can have on repeat on my iPod. The lush sounds from a flute and piano made me feel relaxed. Some of the tracks from certain boss fight are very memorable. The Orchestrated music in Will Of The Whisps is something worth buying on its own.
Overall, Ori And The Will Of The Wisps is one of, if not the best Xbox games- period. From the beautiful animation to the mesmerizing score, Ori And The Will Of The Wisps is a type of game that belongs in an Art Museum.
A Review copy was provided by Xbox UK
Developer: Moon Studio / Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Release date: 11/03/2020
Platforms: Xbox One and PC
Version Reviewed: Xbox One X
“Ori And The Will Of The Wisps is one of, if not the best Xbox games- period. From the beautiful animation to the mesmerizing score, Ori And The Will Of The Wisps is a type of game that belongs in an Art Museum”.