It’s not every day that a stylish, beautiful, Studio Ghibli-inspired 2D platformer hits the retail shelves, but that’s exactly what’s happening this March when Moon Studios’ Ori and the Blind Forest lands on the Xbox Marketplace this March. With gameplay guided by such genre stalwarts as the Rayman and Metroid franchises, artwork influenced by Ghibli’s lush, gorgeous anime classics, and a coming-of-age story inspired by some of the best Western animation has to offer in The Iron Giant and The Lion King, Ori is building a lot of expectations in a hurry—especially for an indie game.
Ori situates the player as a young guardian spirit lost at birth in the forest, then found and adopted for a time before losing his way once more due to the intervention of an evil entity named Kuro. As Ori grows, he navigates the forest on his own, gaining different abilities to navigate some very different environments. While the story is bound to tug at a few heartstrings, the visuals would be right at home in a Miyazaki movie. The game plays very much like a puzzle-based platformer set in a non-linear 2D world, and different sections are designed specifically to exploit and explore unique gameplay mechanics. In one level, you might be running up and down walls and ceilings; in another, propelling yourself through mid-air without touching ground; in another, shifting gravity on a whim. If you’re a fan of platformers with RPG elements, distinct visual style, and a focus on story, keep an eye on Ori.
Ori and the Blind Forest launches on March 11 for Xbox 360, One, and PC.
In other gaming news this week, the roster for Mortal Kombat X keeps expanding, the second episode of Game of Thrones launches, and BioWare throws us a few new Mass Effect tidbits. Read on!
- While we’re talking indie games, you may wish to keep track of upcoming Haruki Murakami-inspired RPG, Y2K. The game, set to launch later this year or early next, features some definite JRPG influence, but also includes robots, killer alpacas, and most importantly, frickin’ weaponized panda plushies. Weaponized. Panda. Plushies.
- If you’re looking to get your zombie killin’ on, you should take a look at Dying Light, which launched last week.
- We’re at 14 and counting for the character count in NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat X. We haven’t been this excited for a fighter since Street Fighter IV.
- Current-gen game engines are starting to take the next graphical step, as we can see in some of the recent Unreal Engine tech demos. That’s one realistic-looking sofa.
- IGN took a look recently at new technology on the horizon designed to enhance the upcoming VR wave, and there’s some pretty cool stuff on the way, including eye, motion, and facial tracking hardware, as well as a Jaeger pilot sim, straight from the set of Pacific Rim.
- Episode 2 of Telltale’s Game of Thrones series, titled The Lost Lords, is now available for PS3/4, Xbox 360/One, and Android/iOS.
- While BioWare has remained understandably tight-lipped regarding their next venture into the Mass Effect universe, we learned this week that the developer is not content to sit on its laurels. GM Aaron Flynn noted the game will very much stay in a similar tone to that of prior ME entries (albeit somewhat less linear and with larger environments to explore), rather than going the fully open-world route of their latest hit, Dragon Age: Inquisition. Oh, and also, the Mako’s back.
- Finally, Persona V just dropped the mic.