Ori and the Blind Forest

A beautiful but FRUSTRATING game

Ori picture

I really wanted to like Ori and the Blind Forest. It was on sale at the recent Steam sale and was recommended, although not to the degree that games like Hollow Knight were being recommended. Just about any video or screen shot will show off the game’s strong visual art style. I’m always on the look out for quality platformers and Ori seemed like it would be my sort of game.

Ori picture

There’s no getting around this, the controls are just terrible. The thing about a game’s controls is that you don’t notice it if it is good. Almost the entire time I’ve been playing Ori I’ve been aware of the controls. The controls are loose, floaty, and imprecise. It is down right absurd that a game where platforming makes up so much of the game play was released with such poor controls. When there’s a tricky jump, and I’m not sure it can be done, I have to try multiple times. On a game such as Hollow Knight, I could try to make a jump once, succeed or fail, and know if it was possible. Not with Ori, I have to do tricky jumps multiple times because one of the times the controls might work properly. In the game’s defense, things do get better with upgrades such as double jump and the ability to launch on projectiles.

Ori sports some uncommon platforming game play. The player doesn’t aim any attack, you need to get within proximity to a foe and an auto aim attack does the rest. The most interesting game play aspect is the ability to use harmful incoming projectiles to launch yourself in a direction of your choosing. This ability can also be used to reflect projectiles back at foes. Because this ability can be used repeatedly on projectiles it allows for some impressive game play segments - zipping around an area safely avoiding dangerous threats on the ground. A high point of this game is at the end of a once poisoned tree. The tree begins to flood, starting an escape sequence where I was zooming from projectile to projectile trying to stay ahead of the water.

One problem that can be seen in screen shots is that the playable character (Ori) is significantly smaller than what you’d find in other games. This can make things unnecessarily difficult in visually busy parts of the game. I would expect this to be a major issue for someone playing on a small screen. It’s easy to see why such a choice was made, zooming out from Ori allows for more of the game’s art to be shown off. It certainly is a very nice looking game. But I found myself taking damage from spikes multiple times because I made contact with spikes that I thought were just background art. The parts of the game I needed to pay attention to and the parts that were there to make the game look pretty were never as distinct as I would have liked.

On the Linux side of things, I did try to play Ori with the recently released Proton version 4.11-1 but had no luck. The Proton compatibility page shows many platinum level user reports so obviously others are having more success than I am. Oh well, games are the only reason I have a Windows partition anymore.

Bottom line: only consider getting Ori and the Blind Forest if you have a high tolerance for frustration and bad controls. The game does have good parts to it, but it’s just not worth the aggravation.