I can still remember the exact moment I started playing Moon Studio’s Ori and the Blind Forest. As the opening cinematic ended, I heard someone crying softly behind me. I turned around and saw my daughter, who had watched beginning of the game, crying her eyes out. From there, I knew I was in for an emotional rollercoaster. And Ori delivered an emotional story, as well as tight gameplay. Ori and the Blind Forest is a fantastic game, even though my daughter never wants to be in the room when I play it.
Fast forward to 2017, when Ori and the Will of the Wisps was announced. Admittedly, I was hoping the sequel to Blind Forest would be out by now. But a game like Ori needs time to develop. And on the June 10th, Xbox announced that we will see Will of the Wisps in 2019. Luckily, a playable demo was available at the Media Showcase, and I was very pleased with what I played.
We still don’t know much about the story, and the demo did not take place in the beginning of the game. By this time in the game, you are in a desert type environment. At the beginning of the game, I had access to many different attacks, which were a great mix of melee and ranged attacks. There is a bit of RPG elements in Will of the Wisps, as you can use the Spirit Light to upgrade your attacks.
I also saw a new ability called Burrow. This allowed me to dash through sand to access different areas of the map. Of course, there are enemies in the sand as well as hazards along the paths that can hurt you while you burrow. The burrow can also help you reach high ledges. Simply hit the RB button and you’ll launch yourself out of the sand. It’s a great addition to the game.
Just like the first game, there are multiple paths to take. Along with these paths, there are NPCs that can give side quests and have items for purchase. In the demo, a much needed map was available for purchase, and I eagerly bought it. It’s a really interesting move to include side quests in Ori. Of course, these are ways to power up as you move along. But i think it is interesting that the development team added things that may take away from the story. If anything, we should be happy with their inclusion because it will undoubtedly make this game longer. And a longer Ori game is not a bad thing!
Ori and the Will of the Wisps played extremely well. The controls are as tight as ever, and the platforming is challenging, but not frustrating. The team at Moon Studio is so dang talented and passionate about Ori. The demo showed that Will of the Wisps will be a game worthy investing in. We don’t have a release date, but my prediction? We’ll see it next August. And I am eagerly anticipating when the full game launches.
Guest Writer Ryan Welch represented Rectify Gaming at the Xbox Media Showcase on Sunday, June 10th.