The direct sequel to 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest, Ori and the Will of the Wisp is three times the size of its predecessor. A stunningly beautiful fantasy world, the game is gorgeous to look at, with smooth animation and incredible attention to detail throughout the background.
You play as the white guardian spirit Ori who has to explore the forest in search of Ku, the owl that has been raised as his sister, after she has drifted away on the wind with a broken wing. You start off exploring by running and jumping, occasional swinging off vines and clinging to walls, to get around. You also have to fight off various aggressive creatures you’ll run into in the wild.
The controls are very simple to pick up. Movement, jumping and attacking are all exactly where you would expect. You can customise the remaining buttons to perform different attacks or powers as you learn and develop them. This gives you a fair bit of control over the gameplay and the option to tailor it to however best suits your style.
As you progress, you learn new skills that will help you get around and also fend off more dangerous enemies. Scattered throughout the map are Spirit Trials where you can test your abilities. These mostly take the form of speed runs through particularly tricky areas, which force you to become a rapid expert in your newest skill. They are difficult, but in the kind of way that makes you feel the full force of the reward when you finally win.
The story is an environmental one. As you search for your missing sister, you see the way that the world has grown sickly. The waters are poisoned and more and more of the land has become uninhabitable. Some creatures have even been infected by the decay and have turned entirely to stone. For all the beauty of the landscape, the story is mournful and it’s difficult not to be moved by it as you play.
The tasks you undertake in order to reach the darkest corner of the map bleed goodness back into the world. Even the smaller side missions have a lot of heart to them, often things like delivering messages between Moki who have been separated from their family.
Ori and the Will of the Wisp is a beautiful game in every respect. It is gorgeous to look at, with both design and animation executed with stunning precision. The gameplay is fast and addictive. Most of all, though, the narrative is touching and absorbing in equal measure, drawing you into a wonderful fantasy world that you can’t help but ache to see survive.
Review: Ori and the Will of the Wisp (Nintendo Switch)
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a gorgeous game with fast-paced action, an enormous, beautiful world to explore and a solemn story crafted very well.