When in 2015 the independent developers of Moon Studios they published Ori and the Blind Forest on PC and Xbox One the game hit the public and the industry right away like a lightning bolt. In a market often willingly not brave Microsoft in fact, he trusted this small team, which managed to propose a real love ode to the genre Metroidvania, which at the time definitely conquered everyone. Five years later, this sequel therefore comes loaded with expectations, given the past of the previous title. As is well known however to have hyping it is not always a good thing, because the higher the hopes, the heavier the thud if the latter are not met. It is therefore right to premise immediately that all the trust that the community, but also that Microsoft itself (which is not the smallest company out there) has placed in the guys of Moon Studios has been widely repaid in this Ori and the Will of the Wisps, a work without a shadow of doubt poetic and masterful in every aspect, capable of affecting the heart, and not only, in these days of sad forced quarantine.
A fairy tale on screen
The prologue of Ori and the Will of the Wisps introduces us to the little owl Ku, a new character from this sequel that joins the atypical family made up of Ori, Gumo and Naru, and that because of a not quite perfect wing it cannot fly like its like. Ori, however, thanks to a feather inherited by Ku's mother manages to solve the problem, and so the two friends are able to take the first flight together. A storm, however, catches the two little ones off guard, separating them. Ori therefore finds herself having to look for her friend by going through the huge game world and facing a thousand vicissitudes, in order to finally be reunited with the rest of the family.
La plot proposed by the guys of Moon Studios is as simple as that of one tale, but just like fairy tales is preparing to have multiple levels of reading (more or less mature), and trust me, it is able to pour some tear even to the most adult player and navigated in certain points of the narrative.
In everything that stands out most in Ori and the Will of the Wisps are just the settings where our adventure takes place. Compared to the first chapter, in fact, the biomes are much wider and more varied, and the glimpses that are offered to us in each individual scenario are memorable, without any exclusion. There artistic component of the game is in fact one of the pillars of this title, and every time you stop for a moment from the frenetic action that Ori can offer to admire what appears in front of your eyes, I assure you that you will always remain open-mouthed for the details and the obsessive care that this small studio has managed to instill in every single pixel of the work.
As if all this wasn't enough, Gareth Coker is reconfirmed as composer of soundtrack of the title. Once again his music is able to touch the soul of the player, blending perfectly with the visual ecstasy offered by Ori's graphic sector, thus creating a spectrum of emotion that is able to pass from joy to amazement , but also to the deepest sadness in a few moments.
Video game with a capital V
Ori and the Will of the Wisps however it is not a graphic adventure, nor a walking simulator, and therefore alongside a sublime visual and sound sector, it is also flanked extremely technical gameplay and more satisfying than ever. In full style Metroidvania in fact, the exploration of the various areas that make up the game world goes hand in hand with the growth of the ability of our candid protagonist. If at the beginning we are endowed with little life and energy, few attacks and little mobility, in end game Ori is a real one war machine, with an arsenal of attacks and spells, which combined with jerks, double and triple jumps, glide, and whoever has more than put more, make us feel like the masters of Niwen.
It is clear, however, that although Ori at first glance may seem a cute and cuddly title, it can also be tremendously ruthless in certain boss fight or in some difficult sections of platformer, in which the same is tested patience of the player, in addition to his ability pad in hand. The instant rescue system of the first chapter is also replaced in this sequel with more classic ones automatic checkpoints, which prevent the player from getting stuck in uncomfortable situations with no way out. Even the character progression system has been renewed, and taking full hands of the "amulets" of Hollow Knight, here too Ori can equip a decidedly varied set of these upgrades, leaving the player the freedom to build one build suited to your style of play, which may be focused on bullets, or healing, or resistance, and so on.
Wanting to draw conclusions, Ori and the Will of the Wisps it starts from the strengths of its predecessor but does not stop there, on the contrary goes further, expanding and improving the user experience in each sector. Through visual, sound, narrative and masterful gameplay solutions, the work of the children of Moon Studios is capable of touching something deeply of every type of player, and in these days of worry and emergency, if you are looking for something that can both warm your heart, but also offer you a complete and rewarding gaming experience, then I highly recommend to give this candid spirit a chance, I assure you that you will not regret it.