The Game Guy
Let me start by giving game developers a quick pointer about my response to a specific kind of video game. If a game nails “Metroid-vania”-esque progression and exploration, I’m automatically interested. If it has that base and then adds something unique to the genre like a creative story and art style, I’ll place the game in the upper echelon of video games. Lastly, if it has extraordinarily tight, responsive controls, just go ahead and take my money. Moon Studios’ “Ori and the Blind Forest” meets all of the above criteria to become 2015’s first truly exceptional game.
Forget for a second that “Ori and the Blind Forest” is a total treat to play from beginning to end. Gameplay is such a driving force in this game that it’s easy to overlook the heartbreaking story that’s on display. The story is one of loss. Ori is a small spirit-like being who befriends a larger forest dweller. The two have a strong bond that is a mixture of parental and friendship. The once thriving forest begins to decay after a great storm of fire and lightning. Ori’s friend dies of starvation, forcing Ori to wander the forest alone. On that journey, Ori meets a spirit guardian named Sein.