Ori: Will of the Wisps
Switch version tested
Review code provided
Amidst the massive stack of games that my friends recommend me, a portion of them happen to lie in the Metroid genre. This back and forth category of games has been left at arm’s length as I tend to get lost without a map or refer to it all the time. That removes a great deal of fun from the game and I get bored quickly then give up. BUT I decided to go against the grain and take on Ori and the Will of the Wisps as a challenge to step out of my comfort zone. This action/adventure/platformer was developed by Moon Studios, the creator of our spirit Ori. I’ve heard good and bad about the previous title but decided to find out on my own with the Will of the Wisps.
The Ori series is new to me and Will of the Wisps is a step out of my comfort zone. Some may be wondering how I could ignore the beauty of this game, and to that I say, I’ve no idea. Ori begins the game with a prologue that brought me to realise how wonderful this game looks. I would highly recommend playing with headphones as the multilayered visuals become immersive paired with the haunting and sombre music. Characters are lively, some speaking with facial expressions and mannerisms while others blurt sounds with text overhead. Dialogue switches between voice acting and text which feels balanced. Controls feel responsive when jerked from one direction to the opposite, and jumping feels airy. I wish a mini-map was available during gameplay as I referred to the pause screen map frequently. Details for each blip on the map can be viewed while holding Y.
Our Spirit friend Ori has a cosy band of friends, or rather a family that all live together. This group of friends welcomes a little owl Ku into their life and we watch it grow. Sometime after Ku grows up a bit, he or she heard the call of the wild and wanted to fly away. Ori joined Ku on this journey and they left home. During their flight, a disastrous storm hit that caused Ku to lose a feather recently added to his/her wing which separated the pair and brought them to the ground. This is where our story begins.
Upgrades and abilities will be purchased and found throughout the game, each giving a bit of satisfaction and feeling of progress. The bow and arrow ability is nice and using it while jumping is smooth. More than one occasion I felt it made me look like a pro because of the fluid movement while using it. This kind of pairs with the bash technique used to redirect purple enemy fire. I did run into issues with this as it did not state to use the opposite facing direction of the shot to use the attack for your own sake. Once I looked up how to break purple walls, I was able to make further progress in the game. A bash mechanic introduction would have saved me some time.
Spirit Trials are timed events unlocked when two shrines are found. Once discovered, the player must race their ghost to the finish. If the set time is beat the player will win Spirit Light which is the currency used to purchase upgrades. My first impression was that the trials felt clunky and useless but that simply reflected my handle on the controls. After a handful of retries and obtaining the win, I won 1,000 spirit light and the satisfaction of winning. As the game moves on the spirit trials become more difficult and teach or reiterate abilities Ori has that have to do with objects and the environment. This was helpful but somewhat frustrating at the same time. Overall it helped me become better so I suggest winning these trials. Online leaderboards are available but I didn’t find them motivational to keep attempting to beat my score that won the goods.
Being terrible at Metroid games, I did run into some snags along the way but I feel that may be my fault and not the game. At times I felt directionless without a clue as to where I should go next, but I’ve been making my way one step at a time. I’m not sure why the map screen calls for the player to press a button to see what each marker means, as in its entirety the map looks like an underground ant colony. Many areas have a similar look and feel which caused me to refer to the pause screen a ton.
The game gave an error message many times whenever my system lost an internet connection. Spirit Trials and time to complete the game are the only part of the game I can recall that requires an internet connection, but that should not be required to play the game. I’m not sure why that happened but it was bothersome. Sticking to the areas of bother, six times the game crashed! Each time it returns us right where we left off but it highlights the time needed to reach the games main screen. I’m not sure what the deal is or if anyone else is experiencing these crashes, but it is frustrating. There has been no update yet. Interfering with gameplay and the flow of it all is a massive intrusion I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Please fix this.
So many options of areas to travel to, the player has choices on how to tackle the game. Time and time again to break up the back and forth mission chasing, chase scenes will happen that bring variety and excitement. Each time it occurred I was surprised and delighted. A large Tauros fiend chases Ori until their untimely fate is met. The Matrix let out one of their ugly sentinels to pursue us literally over the river and through the woods. Jump scares happened whether I liked it or not, and that was made possible by way of immersion. Playing with headphones on helped a ton and allowed the music to enhance the feelings brought on from the story. I tend to not believe folks when they say the game scared them but I jumped more than a few times by way of surprise.
Each time I stepped away from Ori I was drawn back to play and find out how the story progressed. Unlocking upgrades, abilities and achievements are motivating. Controls are fluid and it feels satisfying to pull off swift manoeuvres when navigating the world. Music and visuals are alluring and as I said twice before, make the game an immersive experience.
TBG Score: 8/10
Platform: Xbox, Nintendo
Release Date: 17/09/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Platformer
Developer: Moon Studios
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop