Ori and the Will of the Wisps - Review.
It's been some five years since Moon Studios bought us the splendid platformer of Ori and the Blind Forest in 2015. In those five years the Austrian studio has been hard at work on it's anticipated sequel and it's finally here. But does Ori's latest adventure manage to deliver us yet another magical experience or does he fall flat on his face?
Due to a series of unfortunate events, Ori finds himself in unfamiliar lands as he ventures forth in search of a lost friend. Quickly it becomes clear that these lands are dying and the light of life is fading. It falls upon our bright little hero to help heal these decaying regions, from lands frozen over in a perpetual winter, a watermill no longer functional due to decay to sand swept dunes hiding all manners of dangers, Will of the Wisps world is simply stunning in both sound and design. You'll certainly find yourself taking in moments of splendour upon your journey.
No matter how good a game might look or sound, it's nothing without great gameplay and here to The Will of the Wisps stands out as one of the best platformers I've played in recent years. Every movement and every input feels precise and on point. Jumping from platform to platform, scaling high cliffs and gliding Ori around all feels fantastic and with the many abilities and skills picked up along the way, you'll quickly find a combination that makes it quicker than ever to traverse the game's varied locations.
Will of the Wisps offers a larger selection of abilities then the previous game, from extra air jumps to new combat moves many of which can be upgraded with light, the currency of the world. The skills on offer give players a greater choice on how to tackle traversal and combat, with some being more useful when combined. Experimenting with what's on offer is a large part of the enjoyment and the game always feels like it offers you more than one way to solve a problem. Combat benefits from a wider selection of abilities too, I quickly found a combination of offensive moves that helped me take down all those nasties.
As you travel you'll open up side missions from a cast of colourful characters and power ups that are scattered throughout the world, some of which can't be accessed unless you obtain a certain skill in true metroidvania style. There's even a home base of sorts, where new buildings can be built using ores located in little nooks and crannies found in each region of the map. Whilst not a large part of the game, it's still pleasant to see your own spot of land improve and the home can even be enhanced with special seeds that make traversing the location even easier. It's here where most of the game's delightful cast of characters can be located, including where new abilities/skill can be obtained, new maps can be bought and even a record keeper for those stat fans out there.
All of this is realised in a world of stunning detail, the artwork stands out as some of the best I've seen in some time with little details giving every location a spark of life. Animation work is top notch and it all gives off the sense that every little detail was handled with the utmost attention and care. It's combined with a beautiful soundtrack, with a delightful mix of vocals and orchestral pieces that give boss battles in particular, a heightened sense of importance. It's the sort of soundtrack I can see myself listening to in many months to come.
With all that positivity, I feel it's only right to say that one or two bugs were noticeable in my playthrough. The first being an issue with a selection of falling stones that appeared to get stuck in mid animation leaving me unable to move forward until it fixed itself and an issue with crashing that only occurred the one time. Having played through the game on PC, it should be noted that there have been reports of issues on console so it's worth keeping that in mind. But with Ori and the Will of the Wisps available on Xbox Game Pass right now (both console and PC), I can't help but give it a big fat flying recommendation. Easily one of the most colourful, stunning and enjoyable platformers of recent years, Ori's latest adventure is his best yet.