To even say that Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps are being featured on a Nindie Spotlight still blows my mind. I mean, first of all, let’s point out the elephant in the room: are these two games even indie? Well, the harsh answer is yes and no. Both games have a very indie vibe about them, but they are the products of someone who spent many years at Blizzard Entertainment and were produced by Microsoft Studios and Xbox Game Studios, which leads strongly to my next point: These were supposed to be Xbox exclusives! And here they are on Nintendo Switch. MIND. BLOWN.
I am so excited to talk about this, because these are two titles I am absolutely in love with. My name is Jason, and this is your Nindie Spotlight for this week: Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
Ori and the Blind Forest
The original title, Ori and the Blind Forest, follows the titular protagonist Ori as it attempts to save the forest and bring it back to its healthy state. Ori is a spirit of sorts, and it is tasked with something incredibly heavy, but Ori’s greatest strength is not so much in its various abilities. No, no. Ori has the magic touch when it comes to winning animals and other creatures over, even if they view Ori as an enemy.
The title is your standard metroidvania in many ways, including a giant map with lots of secrets, progressive powerups, and unique dungeons. Ori and the Blind Forest is especially unique in that there are no real boss battles. Instead, Ori is tasked with Super Metroid-like escapes that are as intense as they are fun.
It is an incredible journey from start to finish with a powerful story that needs no words to communicate the depth of things happening on screen, but how do you follow up on a game of this magnitude? Well…
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
In Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Ori finds its way to a new island with its own problems, and as it searches for its lost friend, Ori meets a collection of NPCs that were heavily missing from the first game, adding whole new elements to the sequel and giving the Will of the Wisps more to do in regards to side quests and assisting the many residents of Niwen.
The creatures of Niwen have not seen a spirit for generations, so Ori’s presence means a whole lot. Like Ori and the Blind Forest, the sequel is a metroidvania that drops some of the more traditional elements from the first title for some more RPG-like elements, and one of the first major differences you will notice in the sequel is the addition of proper boss fights.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps stands on its own as a brilliant title, but it is the combination of the both games that makes for the total package. These two need to be played together, and they truly are masterpieces in the genre.
The Jaw-Dropping Graphics
As is the case with many of these Nindie Spotlights, finding only a couple things to highlight in these games was a task in and of itself. Despite, one of the first things that immediately comes to mind are the graphics. Both titles are absolutely stunning, from the dynamic lighting to the radiant colors to the abstract designs, everything about these games just screams beauty and it is hard not to get lost in it all.
In Ori and the Blind Forest, seeing the color changes as you heal different areas of the forest brings such peace and serenity. There is something to say about a 2D title that can blow you away with its visuals, and somehow Moon Studios outdid themselves with the sequel, because Ori and the Will of the Wisps took everything wonderful that the first brought to the table and made it even better.
Both games are pure eye candy, and it would be criminal not to take notice of all the detail that has gone into each and every nook and cranny of the games. These two are jam-packed with artistic flavor and creativity, and they are genuinely two of the prettiest games on the Nintendo Switch.
The Escapes of Ori and the Blind Forest
After much personal debate, I had to talk about the escapes. At the end of each dungeon section in the original title, there are escape sequences that are simply perfect. Ori and the Will of the Wisps has these as well, but in my opinion, they are no match to the original’s fantastically designed escapes.
There are two particular ones that take the cake: the Ginso Tree where you are escaping northward as water flows upward through the tree’s insides, and the last dungeon which I will refrain from sharing for spoiler reasons. These, as well as all the others, including the sequel’s, are the right balance of challenging and exhilarating. As many times as I died attempting these sequences, I never found myself wanting to give up. Both games are fair in their escape designs, and their lengths are just the right amount to have you stretching your hand as you reach for the end.
Few things in gaming leave you with your heart pumping in a positive way, and few games have executed this mechanic wonderfully outside of Super Metroid. Ori and the Blind Forest, particularly, hits this out of the park and makes me wish more games attempt these high-tension escape sequences, because when they are done right, they can be a cornerstone of a title.
Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps are two near-perfect games that shouldn’t even exist on the Switch in the first place. There are so many reasons to purchase these titles, but if you are a metroidvania fan at all, you need to jump on that eShop right now and buy both games. You will absolutely not regret, and you will lose many, many hours of your life exploring some of the most pristine forests ever made for a video game.
Seriously, go and see what all the hype is about.
There is your Nindie Spotlight on both Ori games! Join us next time for another brief look into the Nintendo Switch’s best Nindie titles. What are some of your favorite indie games? Let us know in the comments below! Thank you for visiting Nintendo Link. Happy gaming, everyone!
What's Your Reaction?
My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.