A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition is a downloadable side-scrolling platformer starring a small white feline creature who embarks on an adventure to save his ailing forest and the creatures within it. Combat is challenging but fairly mild, and Ori generally doesn't fight. Instead, his floating friend Sein attacks plants and creatures that pose a threat to Ori, causing them to disappear in bursts of light. That said, an emotional moment early on sees Ori mourning a character important to him who dies of starvation. Themes of conservation, duty, and respecting the natural world permeate the story. This expanded edition also features multiple-play options, including both easy and very difficult play settings, although players will need to focus on split-second timing and precise moves to succeed in this game.
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What's it about?
ORI AND THE BLIND FOREST: DEFINITIVE EDITION begins in the same heartbreaking way as the game it builds on. A small, catlike creature named Ori falls from the forest's great Spirit Tree and is looked after and nurtured by the maternal Naru. But the tree and the forest soon begin to sicken, and Naru perishes of starvation, leaving Ori on his own. He meets a tiny floating being named Sein who explains the darkness that has befallen the woods and then guides him on a quest to set things right. Ori explores the forest and solves contextual puzzles as Sein floats alongside him, defending Ori from any malevolent creatures and plants they discover. The Definitive Edition differs from the original thanks to the addition of a couple of brand-new areas for players to explore that are filled with new puzzles and narrative, a greater variety of difficulty options (including both harder and easier settings), the ability to travel fast between Spirit Wells to save time navigating, and new extras that provide fresh insight on the making of the game.
Is it any good?
Unlike the definitive editions of many games, this isn't simply a basic collection and repackaging of previously released content; it actually adds significant play improvements and fresh content. For returning fans, the biggest draw will be the two new areas -- Black Root Burrows and Lost Grove -- both of which are just as visually sumptuous as the rest of the game. They offer original narrative (we finally get some backstory for Naru) while also providing new abilities -- including a lightning-quick dash move and missiles of light that can be aimed manually -- and new navigational experiences that will force players to find their way in areas lit only by the orb hovering beside Ori. Combined, these two locations add a significant amount of never-before-experienced action that merges and compares nicely with that of the original game.
Veterans will also appreciate the ability to crank up the game's already considerable difficulty (the single-life mode is for experts only), as well as being able to travel fast between certain points, which makes it much easier to quickly return to previous locations; that's a key part of the game, especially as Ori gains the abilities necessary to enter previously inaccessible areas. For those who found the original a bit too challenging, a new easy mode is noticeably more forgiving of mistakes -- especially around enemies. Keep in mind, too, that if you already own the original you can access all the new features for just $4.99 rather than repurchasing the entire game. Those fresh to Ori will need to pay full price ($19.99), but it's well worth it.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: Xbox One
- Subjects: Hobbies: collecting
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles, strategy
Emotional Development: empathy, moving beyond obstacles, persevering
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid (If you own the original you can purchase the Definitive Edition content for just $4.99.)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Microsoft Game Studios
- Release date: March 11, 2016
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Adventures
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Fantasy Violence
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