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Ori and the Will of the Wisps Review | An Emotional Story of Friendship

Ori and the Will of the Wisps Review

Moon Studio’s Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the highly anticipated 2D platforming sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest. After being separated from both his family and Nu, Ori is left lost and alone. Ori and the Will of the Wisps tells a beautiful story of loss, hope, and reconnection. Below is Guide Fall’s Ori and the Will of the Wisps review.

What’s Ori and the Will of the Wisps All About?

The main storyline of Ori and the Will of the Wisps is all about reconnecting Ori with Nu and his family. After being separated early on in the game, Ori must find his way back to Nu, who is lost in a very dangerous land. However, to find Nu, players will have to make their way through a couple of different areas and will need to receive help along the way from some strangers.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

The real core of the game doesn’t begin until a few hours in. After finally reconnecting with Nu, players will once again find themselves separated and this time, things aren’t looking good. To avoid spoilers, we will leave it at that — but this is when the game really hits its stride.

 In the first few hours, I found myself thinking, “Surely the whole game won’t revolve around me trying to find Nu?” Turns out, I was right. However, I must admit I was not prepared for everything that followed, and certain parts really moved me emotionally. 

Do the Mechanics in Ori and the Will of the Wisps Live Up to the Previous Title?

Confession time — I did not play Ori and the Blind Forest. Thus, all of the mechanics are new to me. However, my understanding is that there are some mechanics from the old game featured in Will of the Wisps, as well as new mechanics that developers added in. 

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a 2D platformer through and through. If you’re a fan of the genre, you won’t be disappointed. Players will also get to experience a variety of environments throughout the game, including dark caves, underwater areas, and a whole lot more.  

The in-game mechanics that support the game’s platforming elements are incredibly smooth as well and make playing a whole lot of fun. One of the key mechanics is the “Spirit Edge,” which allows Ori to produce a sword-like mechanism to fight off enemies. While there are a plethora of other skills and abilities that players can use to fight off enemies, I found myself coming back to Sprit Edge over and over again.

My only complaint about it is that it seemed to be a little underpowered as you progress through the game. Sometimes I found myself dying because it took so many hits to kill a regular enemy before they died. However, if you’re using the other skills and abilities in addition to the Spirit Edge, it’s not really a problem.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Will of the Wisps Screenshot Codyceps

Personally, I also felt like some of the bosses in the game were overpowered, especially the fight against Mora. It honestly took me hours to beat her. I am not a huge fan of games that require players to spend a long time on the same task, so this specific battle was frustrating. However, I must admit, it did feel good when I finally won.

Another mechanic that I really enjoyed using was “Grapple” — I can’t even begin to explain to you how useful it is for the player. Essentially, grappling allows Ori to launch himself to specific objects, helping him reach higher platforms, distant ledges, and avoid spikes on the ground. 

In addition to making traveling easy, players can use their grapple ability to boomerang an enemy’s attack back at them. For example, some creatures will shoot out an acidic ball at you while you’re trying to fight them, this is especially true in the battle with the giant spider. Instead of just trying to dodge the acid, players can grapple onto one of the balls and fire it back at the enemy, dealing a whole lot of damage. 

Unlike some games, players aren’t always directed to new skills and abilities, so they can be easy to miss. You’ll find skills by exploring the nooks and crannies of the map to find Ancestral Trees and skills by visiting Twillen

Like we mentioned earlier, you’re not always directed to new skills and abilities, which can be a little frustrating. So it’s always worth exploring a little bit more or checking back with Twillen to see if there is anything new available. For example, I was halfway through a water area when I discovered that there was an ability I could purchase that allowed Ori to breathe underwater — changed my life. 

A Beautiful Design and Fitting Music

Similar to the previous title, the art of Ori and the Will of the Wisps is colorful, beautiful, and overall stunning. If you’ve played Ori and the Blind Forest, you’re likely aware of Moon Studios’ ability to create a beautiful, immersive environment. However, as a newcomer to the series, I hadn’t had the opportunity to experience it firsthand, and I must say, I was very impressed. 

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

In addition to a beautiful design, the music in Ori and the Will of the Wisps is simply perfect. The symphony background meshes with the vibrant environment perfectly. When it’s time for a boss fight or a tense cutscene, the music changes appropriately as well — allowing for an even more immersive environment. 

A Couple of Stray Bugs

If you’re not aware, Ori and the Will of the Wisps received an Xbox One and PC release. I reviewed the game on a day one Xbox One, and experienced a handful of bugs leading up to launch — which is why our review was delayed. However, thanks to a day one patch, I can happily report that most of those bugs have been eliminated. 

However, I am still experiencing a few brief moments of lag, especially when trying to fast travel or attempting to come back into the game from the map. It’s nothing major, but it can be slightly annoying after it has happened a couple of times in a play session — especially if you’re like me and constantly checking the map.

Final Thoughts and Verdict

Overall, Ori and the Will of the Wisps builds off of what Moon Studios’ left behind in its previous title. The skills and abilities feel flawless, and the game’s art and design are exceptional. While the core story may take a few hours to fully set it, once it hits, you’ll want to see it through. A couple of overpowered enemies and bugs hold it back from being the best it can be, but overall, it’s a great game.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps Review

With all this in mind, Guide Fall is awarding Ori and the Will of the Wisps an 8.5/10.

Guide Fall’s review of Ori and the Will of the Wisps was conducted on an Xbox One, a code was provided by Xbox Game Studios.  

Andrew Smith is the owner of Guide Fall, follow him on Twitter @_andrewtsmith.

Written by Andrew Smith