Disclaimer: This was written in one short sitting, didn’t even reread it, and I only have 2h of playtime, so don’t take it too seriously either pls. It’s just that I had to do at least something once Xist called me out, rofl. (It’s only like 400 words though, but meh.)
How does one review a game that is universally acclaimed as being a masterpiece? Perhaps by asking the question whether it is a masterpiece to begin with. There is no doubt about the fact that it is an audiovisual masterpiece yes, but a game consists of more than images and sounds.
As soon as you launch this game, you are taken aghast by the beautiful vistas and the hand-drawn illustrations, presented in a color palette that constitutes a feast for the eyes. There is no doubt that this game looks stunning, and one cannot but be impressed by this feature. Likewise is the audio aspect of the game. The soundtrack is simply put no less than amazing, having been recorded by a top-tier orchestra at the Nashville Music Recording Studios.
Once you actually start playing though, you start having questions as well, who is narrating (sometimes it seems there is more than one narrator too), what exactly is happening, and what does it all mean (is it all meant to be a metaphor about climate change or pollution in general)?
Some of the gameplay-related design choices, however, are perhaps a little clumsy or make less sense. Whereas fellow modern Metroidvanias like Guacamelee, Sundered, Salt and Sanctuary, and Hollow Knight had a strong focus on skill-based combat, Moon Studios decided to give their character a fighting ability that basically can be likened to having a noob tube with auto-aim, allowing the player to simply bash a single button, whereupon Ori proceeds to automatically hit whichever enemy (or enemies later on) is close-by, effectively destroying them without having to focus on anything but avoiding getting hit by them. This is a far cry from the hectic, super fast and precise nail-fighting which many a player had become accustomed to while conquering the world of Hollow Knight.
Another aspect of the gameplay which is questionable is the wall jump, not the fact that you can wall jump, but the way in which it was implemented. It is rather clumsy and unsteady, resulting in different outcomes. Sometimes you would run up the wall for a bit, while at other times you are able to make little jumps only, which leads to frustrating moments when you need absolute precision in order to avoid taking damage by nearby spikes or make a difficult jump.