Preview: Ori and the Will of the Wisps - Maximum whimsy

Published: 16:43, 20 December 2019
Updated: 16:44, 20 December 2019
Moon Studios
Key art for Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
We haven't had such a viscerally positive reaction to visual design since Rayman Legends.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the long awaited follow up to Moon Studios first side scrolling effort, with every bit the charm and detail you've come to expect. With a release date rapidly approaching, we take a look at what makes this sequel so special.

It's a considerable achievement for a games opening moments to instantly secure your attention, especially with a new IP. But the emotional wallop that kicks off Ori and the Blind Forest was enough to cement that first title as a modern classic. What followed was a platforming dream, evoking the visual palette of Rayman Legends (with an implied hand drawn aesthetic) and the kind of zippy, responsive movement that makes exploring a breeze. 

This follow up looks set to continue that trend, with significant enhancements to graphical density, and environments sporting an obscene amount of detail. Will of the Wisps is every bit an iterative sequel; taking what worked so well the first time around, and then building on that foundation. 

Varied locales definitely plays a big part in this, and Moon Studios have already confirmed that you'll be exploring places beyond the boundaries of the previous map. 

This extends to the animation and movement, which are now being produced at 60fps to match the base refresh rate of the game itself. Interactivity is also seeing a bump with more reactive levels that, combined with Ori's expanded moveset, will definitely add weight to your actions. There's a whip like ability which can now pull apart obstacles, an upward heavy attack, and a renewed emphasis on smooth traversal. 

Moon Studios A wolf like boss creature in Ori and the Will of the Wisps. That's the last time Ori will try and correct a wolf's grammar...

Moon Studios have also put a lot of time into expanding boss encounters, with all manner of twisted creatures for Ori to defeat. They're exaggerated versions of existing real world specimens, so there's a touchstone to reality despite being quite fantastical. You'll face an enraged wolf, a tunnelling worm like adversary with a snapping jaw, and the oft shown bird creature. 

Their unique animations, attack patterns, and vulnerabilities should make for an interesting challenge. The Metroidvania style progression returns, with multiple different routes locked out until you've secured an appropriate skill that will allow you to proceed. 

Beyond the single player campaign, a set of brand new modes is being thrown into the mix. Spirit Trials is a speed runners dreams, forcing you to navigate a space in record time, while Spirit Shrines is Ori's take on a horde mode like experience. Both could potentially be expanded in future updates, and could help maintain interest even after the credits roll.

We're so excited to see this sequel finally come together, and combined with a Day 1 release into Xbox Game Pass, the stage is set for Will of the Wisps to deliver and then some. 

Moon Studios Ori engages a group of enemies in Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Those bats brought wings to a bow and arrow fight.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps launches on 11th March 2020, for Xbox One, and PC.

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