Fairytale Metroidvania in the preview

The platform adventure Ori goes into the second round with Ori and the Will of the Wisps and the first audition of Microsoft's bouncing makes it clear: For PC and Xbox One you can expect a lovingly designed 2D adventure full of emotions.

In 2015, the Austrian developer Moon Studios triumphed with Ori and the Blind Forest with a splendidly designed jump and runthat captivates the pad in a playful and story-like manner. The saga continues with Ori and the Will of the Wisps. After the happy ending of the predecessor, the cute owl Ku is a new member of Ori's household. But Ku and Ori lose themselves after a stormy streak into the unknown Niwen area, far behind the Nibel forest from the first part.

It is hardly surprising that you are on your own again and have to master numerous skill passages. The gameplay is reminiscent of blissful "Jump and Run" times and, in a sense, also of the Rayman series. The eponymous hero Ori has become an amazing climber. Even if he initially no longer has the skills of his predecessor. Take a look at the picturesque world of Ori and the Will of the Wisps:

Well-tried platform fun

You typically jump over platforms, jump up vertical cliffs by wall jump and overcome thorny tendrils or poisonous water. This time Ori also shuffles along moss and can hold onto vertical walls independently (as soon as he has learned the ability). For this reason alone, the jump passages are considerable less frustrating than in the prequel, This time the little hero not only learns double, but even triple jumps.

He can also use Grappling hook pull on tabs. Ori is also allowed to dig through loose surfaces such as sand. Little by little new skills are unlocked. However, no longer in a linear way as in part 1. Instead, you put up to three learned special skills directly on the action buttons. At the same time, three passive skills can be equipped.

Threatening wildlife

More extensive equipment is available for the constant battles against emerging opponents. With bows and arrows you can shoot at enemies from a distance or trigger switches. Again, a sword attack is used, as well as a hammer, bombs and torch. The latter also sets flammable environments on fire. Ori again offers simple switch puzzles, but in some places you get pondering how to proceed.

Ori and The Will of the Wisps builds heavily on that Metroidvania principle: If you do not get ahead at one point, continue somewhere else and unlock the perhaps crucial element. So you open passages with collected stones, lower the water level or break barriers. Slowly an ever bigger 2D game world opens up with many secrets and hidden bonuses. Any backtracking can be worth it as soon as you have learned new skills.

Enchanting backdrops

What immediately captivates you is again fairytale surroundings, Ori does without opulent 3D graphics, instead relies entirely on lovingly hand-drawn backdrops. The skilful coloring always creates the right mood when you move between forests, swamps and sandy climes. A look at the overview map is crucial to help you find out where to go from there.

In addition, the world appears much more alive than the lonely Nibel forest of the predecessor. Because you meet all sorts of friendly characters. These ask you for help for one side quest or offer interesting skills to buy. You will also receive useful tips or map fragments. Will of the Wisps is full of small stories and cutscenes, which makes the whole adventure seem bigger and more substantial. If you leave Release on March 11, 2020 want to sink into Ori's world, you can pre-order.

Conclusion

After the audition it becomes clear: Ori and the Will of the Wisps offers more of everything, be it story, characters, skills or size of the game world. It's also nice that the eponymous hero has more options to overcome obstacles and opponents. At the same time, the adventure scores in terms of atmosphere. Above all thanks to the wonderful, two-dimensional natural environment with its subtle and varied animations and a convincing depth effect. On top of that, the harmonious soundtrack has catchy tunes.