One of the more intriguing new games announced during Microsoft’s E3 conference this year was Ori and the Blind Forest, a sidescroller from indie developer Moon Studios. While at Microsoft’s booth today, I took the opportunity to try a demo of the game, with a member of the development team giving me tips and information on the gorgeous-looking title.
Ori appears to use completely hand-drawn graphics, similar to such recent efforts as Rayman Legends, Child of Light and Dust: An Elysian Tail. It will chronicle the adventures of the titular Ori, a small woodland creature who sets out to save his forest home from the forces of darkness.
The Moon Studios representative cited classic sidescrollers from the 8 and 16-bit days as the biggest inspiration for Ori‘s gameplay, particularly the Castlevania and Metroid games. Exploration is a big factor, as Ori will be required to collect mystical stones strewn throughout each environment to open gates blocking his way.
You’ll also be able to find new abilities for Ori (I discovered a wall-jumping ability midway through), as well as earn experience from slain enemies to upgrade him through skill trees. My main method of attack, obtained early in the demo, allowed a companion spirit to follow Ori and shoot homing projectiles at nearby enemies, but the developer did say that alternate fighting methods will be available in the full thing.
One interesting aspect worth noting with Ori is that it does appear to be a fairly challenging game from the get-go. Despite having years of experience with platformers, I died quite a few times in my demo playthrough. Thankfully, you appear to have unlimited lives, and checkpoints are numerous, though unlike most other games, you’ll have to activate each checkpoint manually by holding the B button over a specific spot.
Ori and the Blind Forest will launch this fall simultaneously for Xbox One and the PC. We will keep you updated on the game as more information becomes available.