Ori is maybe the most beautiful 2D metroidvania I have ever played. It looks fantastic on the Switch even if the character looks a little small undocked. The backgrounds are amazing, the particle effects, the animation. It is a gorgeous game. Aesthetically it reminds me of Heart of Darkness but gameplay wise it’s very different from that game.
So let’s talk about gameplay. It starts off as a traditional platformer with shoot mechanic but pretty soon turns into a platform puzzler, and a very technical one. I would say that it is almost as technical as Celeste, but it doesn’t have as tight controls so you fail more often because Ori didn’t do what you wanted it to do, rather than you being at fault. The shooting mechanic becomes secondary, and that’s for the better. I think it would have been a better game if they just remove the shooting all together tbh.
The platforming puzzles are mostly about “the floor is lava” and you shall traverse the room without touching the spikey walls, floor or ceiling. These puzzles are very hard as it requires you to dash off projectiles shot at you and sometimes glide through very narrow passages.
Luckily you can save your game whenever you want, if you have energy. But beware of using your last energy saving the game with low health. You might end up in a situation where you need to finish a long puzzle on 1 health orb before you can save the game again. This got me stuck a few times. It would be nice if you were allowed to go back to a previous save.
The environments are fantastic, both the graphics, the animation and the music. The level design is okay and it is a metroidvania-ish game. Well it’s really not using its metroid parts in a good way. There is a hub that you will pass through a couple of times going from area to area, but once your designated area it's always linear. You shall get yourself to the end. Then you backtrack to find the next area that is also linear. New paths unlock with gained abilities but the world doesn’t have another dimension, like Hollow Knight does where gaining an ability can open up how you view and traverse a whole level.
The skill tree is almost useless and I think it was put there as an afterthought, or because that is expected by the player. The story is what confuses me the most. It’s about a tree, and a bird, where Ori needs to restore the tree in order to kill the bird babies. It is very confusing and told in a very irritating way. Not in verse but some fluent mumbo-jumbo that you only should half understand. The characters, the few there are, are very weak and not built very well. It is hard to get a sense of their motivations, even the protagonist.
All in all it was good. I had a good time playing it. It was a bit too hard, a bit too long and the story didn’t motivate me, but I got myself to the end.