One of the first things I was blown away by when booting up Ori and the Will of the Wisps was the beauty of the game’s opening sequence. With only a handful of narrative text and some breathtaking animation, the game immediately manages to set the tone, raise the stakes, and get you emotionally invested as a player. Playing as Ori, you start your adventure together with Ku, a small owl with a broken wing. After obtaining a feather to repair Ku’s wing, you take off on Ku’s very first flight together, only to be separated moments later in a violent storm. It’s up to you to find Ku and, in the process, restore the balance of Niwen, the beautiful forest world Ori and the Will of the Wisps is set in.
You’ll explore Ori’s world through different levels, often populated with quirky characters ranging from cute meerkats to intriguing vagabond map sellers. Even though there is little dialogue in the overall game, every character feels unique, as do the different levels and settings. Through its colourful scenery, stunning soundtrack, and beautiful character art, Ori and the Will of the Wisps masterfully delivers a layered and immersive story. It may only have minimal dialogue and cutscenes, but it uses non-verbal storytelling and a beautiful and well-rendered universe to great effect.