Game preview: Ori and the Will of the Wisps

The whimsical fantasy gets its high-in-demand sequel, but is the enchantment all talk?

Game preview: Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Before we even had the chance to get too excited, after five years of waiting, the release of Ori and the Will of the Wisps was postponed by another month.  Frustrating, yes, but when it comes to highly artistic, intricate platform adventure titles such as this, we’ll wait as long as we have to so it comes out just as developers Moon Studios intended.

The original Ori and The Blind Forest caught gamers off-guard when it hit stores, with its hand-painted artwork, suave animated character performance, and a fully orchestrated score. It slapped us in the face with an adoring fantasy tale we didn’t know we wanted. Once it was over, gamers were left pining for more, and Moon Studios seems to have spent the half-decade since getting ready to deliver even more slaps to the chops.

What are we most excited for this time around? The fluidity of movement and combat. Remember the cartoons of the ’90s where everything was so meticulously drawn? That’s how Ori looks and feels when jumping off walls or trees, bouncing out of pits or dashing  through the air using a list of special abilities. Speaking of abilities, the sequel brings new ones to the table, including a magical spear, bow and arrow, hammer, and self-healing.

Gaining these power-ups to get through areas or fight off foes has been switched for a more flexible slot-based shard system, with each shard offering a unique ability that players can equip to customise their character builds. This change in formula might mean the game has a different tempo and progression to the first one, but it should also makes for a more tactical experience.

Autosaves are replacing the original’s manual saves, which will help, but it could tarnish that old-school feel and difficulty.

Will of the Wisps also takes Ori out of the forest and into a broader landscape – with NPCs and sidequests to go on – all to find the creature of light’s destiny. We’re ready to find out, but for now, we’ll admire the art.

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