The Will of Wisps is the most beautiful 2D platformer of this generation. There’s no other game that can surpass its story, majestic visuals, and level designs.
The follow-up to the Xbox 2015’s masterpiece expands what made that game beautiful. It widens its gameplay, plot, and characters with more choices and diversity. And when everything was ready, Moon Studios splashed it with gorgeous lights plus inspiring music.
Ori and the Blind Forest’s sequel is a 2D platformer in a big open world. As you go along your journey, you’re followed by a beautiful score that shifts around you.
The world is big and filled with detail, consistent lore, and artistic style. And every moment is full of passionate storytelling.
This world is where you live to adventure. Your goal is to discover the mysteries beyond the forest of Nivel and unravel your true destiny.
- Platforms: Xbox and Windows exclusive
- Publisher: Xbox Studios
- Developer: Moon Studio
- Genre: 2D platformer
“Discover Ori’s true destiny in this emotional and engaging story driven adventure with a stunning soundtrack. Explore a vast, exotic, and strikingly beautiful environment.”
Ori and the Will of the Wisps – Review
My take on the might be a bit controversial. Most of you are going to think Doom Eternal is a better pick. And that’s a perfectly valid point.
Still, please hear me out. Ori and the Will of Wisps execute what it’s trying to do correctly. Nothing is dragging the game down, no boring sequences, and no unexciting moments. Doom Eternal is a near-perfect game but a few tedious jumping and swimming puzzles that shouldn’t be there.
As a 2D platformer and as an artsy game, Ori and the Will of Wisps is outstanding. Moreover, it’s the kind of game that everyone would love, from elders to kids. It’s easy to play, easy to understand, and easy to follow. On top of that, it looks, feels, and sounds so gorgeous you’re going to want your full attention on how the story unfolds.
With a unique identity, Ori and The Will of The Wisps, a stirring piece of art representing how gaming studios should look when they reach their absolute best. Think of Valve’s Half-Life 2 or Obsidian’s Fallout: New Vegas.
It’s the perfect sequel. The Will of the Wisps is better, bigger, more ambitious, and completely memorable. That’s why it’s a perfect 10.
It’s not all about being pretty, though. Much like the game before, Ori and the Will of the Wisps deal with family loss, forgiveness, and healing.
The game starts with a cute prologue that soon introduces the peril. Our hero is lost on new and deadly land, away from his friends and families. And much like the previous Nibel forest, the land needs help.
Naturally, Ori, the spirit, delivers help on a journey that will ultimately reveal more about himself than the world itself. It’s a coming-of-age story of the highest quality. It’s the best story video-games can possibly deliver, and living through the experience makes it more prosperous.
Moon Studio was also smart to get us invested with a great supporting cast, minimal dialogue, and zero exposition dumps. Moreover, the score by Gareth Coker hits the right notes all the time, from the quiet moments to the dangerous boss fights.
Simple combat, booming life
Ori and the Will of Wisps is much larger than the original title of the franchise. As such, this 2D platformer mixes combat, exploration, and lore with Metroid-like non-linear storytelling. It’s gorgeous, always. Most of the time, it’s also fun. And even though it’s a big game, it doesn’t get sloppy.
The world is alive. It booms with creatures of light and shadows. Bombing mosquitoes, tricky spiders, treacherous slimes, or elemental bug-things are going your way. There’s a bestiary testing your combat skills all the way through.
Your fast-slashing Spirit Edge sword is just a secondary part of the journey, but still one of the best. You get a mix of basic attacks, ranged abilities, magic abilities, and mobility skills. You unlock the skills over time. When everything starts to build up, Ori turns into a dynamic, fast-moving, colorful character with many tricks on its sleeve.
Ori and the Will of Wisps is not a combat experience, though. Instead, it represents a lively world filled with stories and music. It does help that boss fights are thrilling and challenging. And, most of all, the design of the enemies is intimidating but still pretty. How did they do that?
Ori and the Will of the Wisps – RPG elements
Healing a decaying, dying world is a big part of the journey, much like in the original game. As you explore, you’ll have to restore light to pitch-black caves, clean poisonous swamps, rejuvenate toxic air, and so much more.
If you played Blind Forest, you’re already familiar with the raw take of the game. Yet, The Will of The Wisps takes it even further with puzzles, side quests, hidden paths, and pieces of information you need to collect to complete the missions.
You’ll also explore the overworld of many dungeon areas and bosses. Naturally, there’s loot to pick too, which aids you through your combat. Both the seizure and the abilities extend your arsenal to add attacks and tricks. However, you can also have several skills active at any time, so you have to think about what each situation needs to prepare yourself.
The RPG mechanics extend to passive abilities as well. You can pick passive skills throughout the world to add additional buffs. You can, for example, expand the radius of your attacks, do more elemental damage, or stick to walls forever.
That means exploring every corner of the map is sweet and rewarding. The way you add new powers to your backpack is by reaching further and exploring beyond.
On top of that, no dungeon, and no area feels like the last one. For example, you might follow a firefly lighting the path one time. The next time, though, you might be dashing away from a thunderous giant bird to eat you.
And, by the way, Ori and The Will of The Wisps is a challenging game. Once you start adding dashes, jumps, grapples, and electrical beams, Moon Studio will consider you ready for the toughest areas. And that happens early on.
Alongside the many woodland creatures that want to hurt you, many want to help you. NPCs pop up left and right to tell you about their homes and their problems—significant changes are happening around you, and every piece of information matters.
All of it is part of Ori’s grad quest. Often, short conversations deliver side quests to keep you invested in the story. They might ask you to check on their family members in stranded regions. Or they might tell you about a forgotten shrine where you can learn a new ability.
Every side quest makes a part of the grand scheme of things. All of them are also rewarding. And if there’s no reward, there’s just the realization that you can’t be everyone’s heroe.
At the same time, there’s a central hub village where all your critter friends go once you help them. Here, you can talk to merchants to upgrade your abilities. Or you could turn collectibles to improve the village and unlock new options.
For example, you can turn ore to construct more huts for the critters. Or you could plant seeds to grow plants and trees in the village. None of this is pure cosmetics: everything can unlock new portions of the map, new NPCs to speak, and lots of currency.
Just like the side quests, building up the village is a way of connecting with the world. It’s something to do and to care for rather than something to speed-run to reach the end.
Outside of what the creatures call home, there’s much to explore. Each region is loud with secrets.
You advance in pure Metroid fashion. Your abilities give you ways to interact with the world as you progress the story. That means you can revisit locations to unlock new sites. And from deep underwater layers to barren deserts, every part of the world is alive.
There’s no mandatory skill, but many can unlock new hidden bits of the world map. It gives this game vast replayability.
I have to note there are ten unique areas you can explore with exiting run, jump & dash abilities. You can go straight to the end of each map to pass the game in 10 hours. However, I recommend you take the full 20 hours plus experience.
There’re no checkpoints, though. Yet, there’re interactive scape scenes where you have to float, grapple, jump, and dash for your life. There’re also boss battles with just enough balance to enjoy.
Moon Studios created a gorgeous 2D game with a 3D aesthetical environment. As an extra reward, the world has stunning lighting effects and superb music going from the start to the end of the journey.
With such a fantastic artistic design, it was hard to nail the rest of the elements. But they did: they created a flawless combat system that serves as the means to achieve Ori’s goals. Both factors combined to deliver a coming-of-age story you would only see on the best movies and series.
Even the side quests give meaning with collectibles, lore, plot, and overall depth.
As I said, Ori and The Will of The Wisps is a perfect 2D platformer. It’s as gorgeous as it is unique. Moreover, you can get the game through the Xbox Game Pass service, either on PC or Xbox consoles.
Moreover, the studio is also working on the optimized version for Xbox Series X and Series S. It will run at 4K/1440, respectively, with instant load screens and 120 fps. Moreover, the new hardware power adds extra options like 3D audio, zero input latency, and increased graphical fidelity.
The game has the Smart Delivery feature, which means you don’t have to buy the upgrade if you already own the current version.
All in all, the second installment of the Ori franchise is a strong contender for Game of The Year Awards.
Have you tried this game? What’s your take on this? Otherwise, let us know what’s your favorite 2020 game!