Ori and the Blind Forest Xbox One Review

March 20, 2015

Ori and the Blind Forest was released last week, and while it’s not the longest game in the world, this review has unfortunately been delayed by numerous crashes and bugs while playing. I wanted to get these technical issues out of the way first, as there is a lot of very good things about Ori, but I can’t recommend picking it up until a patch resolves the problems. The game has crashed on start-up, frozen when switching back from another app, frozen upon loading a save or loading an area, crashed during cutscenes, and generally made it difficult for me to enjoy the experience, which is a real shame as when it works, Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the nicest experiences the Xbox One has to offer.

Much like Pixar’s Up, the game begins with an emotionally demolishing animated opening. Without spoiling too much, after your glowing sprite of a character, Ori, is separated from the great tree of the forest, a darkness falls over the land, withering the world and creating famine. This is told through slow, somewhat interactive scenes that highlight the amazing animation and artwork of the game – one of the best examples of a modern 2D game since the recent Rayman entries.


Ori owes a debt to Rayman, as it shares its lush forest landscapes and tight platforming, but also contains influences from Metroid. You begin in a central forest area, but soon learn that you must visit four outer areas in corners of the map (recalling Ocarina of Time too). Every level is connected to the next in one continuous unbroken flow, with hidden caverns and routes you’ll have to return to upon unlocking extra abilities.

That means there’s a lot of room for exploration, which is assisted by the ‘soul link’ system. Upon gathering enough energy, you can expend portions of it to create ‘soul links’ – checkpoints where you revive upon death and which also allow you to upgrade your abilities, via experience lifted from enemies. If you find yourself respawning too far back, with a long way to traverse to reach your former position, you have only yourself to blame, and this adds a nice element of strategy and compulsion to your exploits.

Your primary attack is a glowing orb which follows you wherever you go – capable of spitting out homing flames to enemies in your path. Since it’s quite easy to target and fight opponents, enemies have other creative ways of challenging you. Baddies can shatter into numerous smaller parts, requiring you to crowd control, or burn the ground in patterns that you’ll need to hop across in order to reach them.


Playing Ori makes for a very soothing, atmospheric experience. While there are no puzzles, it’s almost like a Myst game in its ability to place you within its world, as you enter a zen-like state of exploring, leveling-up, checkpointing and respawning. The entire experience can last 8 hours or so, but if you want to collect every power-up, map fragment and ability, you can probably whack a few more hours onto that as well.

I really hope the technical issues with Ori are sorted out and hopefully they currently will not affect too many Xbox One owners. The game is a pleasure to experience and play through, and a very addictive one as well – when I could get it to start. It’s an achievement for Moon Studios, a developer collective from across the globe, to put together a game this beautiful and endearing, and hopefully a patch will fix what issues there are to make one of the Xbox One’s must-have purchases.


Beautiful design and animation | Tight platforming | Lots to explore


Technical issues | Framerate drops

Overall Score: