Moon Studios’ Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the finest indie games available on the Xbox One, and now it has found itself on the Nintendo Switch. Published by Xbox Game Studios, Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition is one of those rare titles with the ability to form an emotional bond with the player. The game’s prologue is used to not only introduce the player to the gloomy story and setting, but to also have the player come to adore its central character. It is this admiration for Ori that gives way to the game’s magic and splendor. This sense of wonder will continuously flow as you explore transcendent lands in a quest to bring life to a dying world shrouded in darkness.
If you played Ori and the Blind Forest on the Xbox One but missed out on the Definitive Edition and own a Switch, then now is the perfect time to revisit this gem. Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition builds on the concepts and elements of the original release but expands on them with key changes and exciting new additions. If you are a fan of the original game, you’ll love what this new version has to offer.
While we wait for a Metroid title to grace the Nintendo Switch, Ori and the Blind Forest is a more than suitable substitute. Ori welcomes you with simple controls and gradually presents stimulating obstacles for you to overcome. At its onset, you have limited skills and abilities but gradually acquire new talents and grow as a character. Like a Metroid game, these new skills open new avenues of exploration and will have you discovering new areas, alongside hidden energy orbs and bonus experience.
Having players solve environmental puzzles and skillfully navigate a hazardous world riddled with obstacles and foes, Moon Studios has crafted a beautiful world to explore. The world design is splendid and feels organic. The forest feels authentic and exploration gives off a sense of wonder. Genuine curiosity will blossom as you navigate the environment.
The environmental challenges presented in the game are done so in a manner that encourages the player to approach a situation with slight hesitation. Leaping into a situation unprepared or unaware of the environment will lead to a quick and near-instant death. One must first survey an area and make sure there are no traps and then gradually move forward.
For example, you may need to perform a series of acrobatic skills to reach a goal area. Moreover, it may require you to exploit the attack of an enemy to destroy an obstacle that will then allow you to double jump off a wall to access a key. Those that play patiently and don’t rush won’t encounter too many problems, though some areas are a bit trial-and-error when it comes to learning the proper execution to be successful.
Thankfully, the game uses a unique checkpoint/save system. Players can manually save whenever they want by using one of Ori’s energy spheres. There are some auto-checkpoints dispersed throughout, but you will want to create a save point after you complete a challenging platforming section.
Aside from traversing the game’s large world, there is a fair amount of combat situations. Ori utilizes a simplistic, but powerful means of attack known as a flame. The flame can lock-on to nearby enemies or targets and deal damage in a flash. As you gain new abilities and skills, the flame can lock-on to multiple enemies, deal more damage and be charged for a more powerful energy burst that can defeat enemies and destroy crumbling structures. The flame is Ori’s primary offensive maneuver, though other skills – like stomp or bash, can be used to disrupt, damage or defeat enemies. Think creatively and discover new means of completing a task.
For those familiar with Ori and the Blind Forest but not the Definitive Edition, there is quite a bit of new content awaiting you; including a new area, new storyline, and new abilities. The new area, Black Root Burrows, sheds new light on the history of Naru and her motivations. Expanding on the game’s lore is welcome, and the way it is seamlessly woven into the existing storyline is quite remarkable. The area itself is a beautiful challenge. Black Root Burrows is blanketed in darkness and has bioluminescent sources of light that illuminate the path you must take. Be attentive to visual cues as they will assist you through this difficult area.
Completing Black Root Burrows not only provides you with new story information, but it also equips Ori with two new abilities: Dash and Light Burst. Dash is required to reach the second portion of the Burrows. Dash is a useful tool when it comes to navigating through the game’s world and allows you to perform some stylish acrobatic maneuvers while in combat. It’s a very fun new addition to the game. Light Burst, meanwhile, serves a greater role in the game for those looking to achieve 100% completion as it is required to access the various locked off areas.
The original game launched with just a single difficulty, but the Definitive Edition has four difficulty modes to select from: Easy, Normal, Hard, and One Life. Those looking to enjoy the story and setting are advised to select Easy or Normal. However, if you completed the original game without issue, you may want to consider One Life. Just as the name implies, you are given one life. If you die, you restart at the beginning of the game. For the platforming gods among us, One Life mode will prove itself a worthy test of your skills.
Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the Xbox One’s most visually pleasing games due to its lovely art style and use of colors and, thankfully, all the visual splendor transitioned to the Nintendo Switch. Whether played docked or in handheld mode, Ori and the Blind Forest looks amazing on Switch. The subtle effects of mist and fog are rendered beautifully, and everything bursts with life on the Switch screen. Ori and the Blind Forest plays like a dream on the Nintendo Switch.
If you have played Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition on the Xbox One, then you won’t find anything new here except for the option of portable play. Those with a Microsoft account can sign into their account within the game and earn Xbox achievements to increase their Gamerscore with this new release.
Much like the game’s visuals, the soundtrack for Ori and the Blind Forest is first-rate. Emotional and powerful are just a couple of words that can be used to describe the moving and enchanting music found in this game. The music perfectly matches the scenes being displayed on the screen. It’s a masterful pairing.
Ori and Blind Forest: Definitive Edition is one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch and is a must-own. It’s an exceptional Metroidvania that successfully blends elements of the platforming genre to create an experience unlike any other. With beautiful visuals, an imaginative setting, flawless gameplay, charming characters, powerful soundtrack, and an emotional narrative, Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition is one of the best games in the Nintendo Switch software library.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Xbox Game Studios