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Ori and Naru

On that fateful night
When I lit the skies ablaze
I called out to Ori
The Spirit Tree
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Amidst a violent storm, a young forest spirit named Ori is torn free from the mystical tree that fathered them. The turbulent winds blow them deep into the dark forest, to where they are discovered by the motherly Naru. Life for the spirit and their new family is good... until one night, when the tree finally calls out for its lost child, inadvertently setting in motion a terrible chain of events that threatens to destroy the forest and all of the life it contains.

So begins Ori and the Blind Forest, Moon Studios' debut game, a 2015 Metroidvania for the Xbox One and PC. The player controls Ori, a small foxlike creature seemingly made out of light, who is later joined by Sein, an even smaller orb of light that can unlock doors and unleash powerful energy blasts. Together, they will brave murderous wildlife, dangerous environments and Kuro, a massive black bird hell-bent on their demise, all in order to save the forest from its extinction.

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A Definitive Edition was released in 2016, which adds new areas, new abilities, and other improvements like selectable difficulty levels and easier backtracking.

In 2017, Moon Studios announced that they're developing a sequel called Ori and the Will of the Wisps. The teaser trailer was released in June 2017.


Tropes appearing in Ori and the Blind Forest:

  • Ability Required to Proceed: As is standard for the genre. There are many places that tease you by being just out of reach without the proper abilities.
  • Accidental Murder: The Spirit Tree did this when the light he used to find Ori burned three of Kuro's children to death, but he was unaware that this happened and was surprised and possibly remorseful by what his light had done.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The three elements needed to restore the forest and win the game? Water, Wind, and Warmth.
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  • Advancing Wall of Doom: In one of the side chambers of Mt. Horu, Ori has to stay ahead of a rapidly advancing wall of lava. Each of the game's three escape sequences also features similar mechanics.
  • Adult Fear: Naru hurrying Ori into their cave when the sky is alight. And even more heartbreaking, Kuro hurrying back to her nest to protect her children from the same. She doesn't make it.
    • Made even worse by the ending. First, Naru finds Ori seemingly dead after being attacked by Kuro. Then, the forest fire caused by Mount Horu's eruption is shown to be spreading close to Kuro's nest, and threatening to burn her last surviving egg. In other words, the actions she took trying to protect her child nearly killed it in almost the exact same way.
    • It's how the plot kicks off. When the Spirit Tree realizes that Ori is missing as a result of being swept away in the storm, he sends his light to try and find him. Unfortunately, his desperate attempts to find his own child accidentally results in Kuro's children being burned alive.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The final escape sequence rapidly changes zone to zone.
  • Amazing Technicolor World: The game is renowned for its beautiful and fantastical scenery.
  • Arc Words: "She hated our light" is said a few times by Sein and the Spirit Tree in regards to why Kuro attacked the Spirit Tree and comes across as a typical example of Dark Is Evil. It is only after the revelation of her children being burned alive by the Spirit Tree's light that the full significance becomes apparent.
  • Asteroids Monster: The large, spiny blob enemies, which split in two each time they're killed. Fighting one of the big ones can result in quite the swarm of little tiny blobs by the time you've broken it down.
  • Back from the Dead: Ori's quest begins by being whisked away from death's door by the Spirit Tree, and their goal is to return the favor. Partway through, Gumo resurrects Naru.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: The game plays around with this; initially playing to our traditional Christian expectations of Light vs Darkness, only to subvert them midway through and reveal that their take is actually a bit more Daoist.
  • Beef Gate: While you can try exploring areas like the Valley of the Wind or the area around Mt. Horu as soon as you get the abilities that let you go there, the enemies in those areas are much tougher than anything you'll face when exploring the areas you're supposed to be going to.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Overlaps with Meaningful Name; Kuro is Japanese for Black.
    • Fittingly, Ori is Hebrew for "my light", and a reasonably common personal name in Israel.
    • Gumo is Japanese for "spider", given his spider-like appearance.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Kuro sacrifices herself to restore the Spirit Tree and hence the forest, after she realized that her actions doomed not only the forest but her last egg. Naru is brought back, and Naru, Gumo, and Ori live happily ever after (and also watch over Kuro's egg until it hatches). But the events of the game mean that Gumo is the last of his kind and the forest will never really be the same.
    • There's also the possibility that Ori now has to oversee the birth of new spirits and, with Naru unable to live near the Spirit Tree (it's implied she is a creature of darkness too), they are forced to separate at least for the time being.
  • Blackout Basement: The Black Root Burrows in the Definitive Edition starts out as nearly dark. Thankfully, the entire place is lit up after a little ways in.
  • Book-Ends: The game begins with the player briefly controlling Naru, who finds Ori and takes them in her arms. The very last player action in the game is controlling Naru and taking Ori in her arms again.
  • Bottomless Pit: Used sparingly, but present near the entrances to the Forlorn Ruins, Sorrow Pass, and Mount Horu.
  • Bonus Level of Heaven: The Lost Grove, a secret area added in the Definitive Edition is a variant. While the rest of Nibel is slowly dying, the Lost Grove is surprisingly bright and vibrant and full of flourishing plant life. It's also where Naru lived with her father until his death.
  • Catch and Return: The Bash ability lets Ori latch onto an enemy projectile or an enemy itself and then launch themselves in any direction of their choice, sending the projectile (or enemy) in the opposite direction. This fairly unique mechanic is one of the game's main features, and is used in many different ways, such as throwing enemies into spikes or water, throwing projectiles into otherwise invincible terrain or enemies without recoiling yourself into a pit, and ascending a long spiked incline with nothing to hold onto except the crossfire of enemies that you have to be careful not to kill with a carelessly launched projectile...
  • Cephalothorax: Gumo, a feathered ball with eyes and four limbs.
  • Chaos Architecture: The Misty Woods rearrange themselves when you're not looking.
  • Checkpoint: Notably all but absent in the traditional sense. However, whenever Ori is in a safe and stable place, they can spend a point of energy to create a Soul Link, saving their progress and respawning there if they die. Energy doesn't regenerate on its own, but is easy enough to replenish.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Lava is deadly only if touched, though Mt. Horu is also filled with hot rock that hurts to stand on for too long.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Ori can jump and run like the best of them even at a half life point remaining. Once it disappears, however, Ori explodes in a shower of magic sparks in nearly every instance, save for drowning.
  • Cub Cues Protective Parent: Ori and Sein reach Kuro's nest and find her last egg, from which they learn the story behind Kuro's attack on the Spirit Tree. Kuro arrives just in time to see Ori touching her last egg, and she is not happy.
  • Dark Is Evil: Kuro, the giant black owl/crow who doomed the forest and is out to kill you. Subverted in that she's not evil, merely driven mad by grief after the Spirit Tree accidentally killed her children. She believes (not without merit) that Ori is a threat to her sole surviving unhatched egg.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The kind, motherly Naru is a creature without light, which would also explain why she ran to the safety of her house when the Spirit Tree emitted the light to call Ori, and in the Definitive Edition, why her father objected to her childhood friendship with the light spirits Eki and Sol.
  • Deadly Dodging: It’s possible to position yourself in a way that makes enemies launch projectiles at other enemies or parts of the environment that you otherwise couldn’t destroy yourself. There’s even an achievement with the same name.
  • Disney Death: In the ending cutscene, Ori is snatched out of the air by Kuro and flung violently to the ground. While it's never explicitly said that another character thinks he's dead, Naru's reaction certainly makes it seem like he is. And he doesn't get back up, or open his eyes, or show any other sign of life, until the very ending shots after the forest has recovered, which shows Ori watching the next generation of Spirits be born.
  • Double Jump: Later upgradeable to a Triple Jump. Ori visibly projects a gust of wind in the opposite direction. Combined with the Air Dash upgrade in the Definitive Edition, it basically becomes a quadruple jump.
  • Easter Egg: A Wilhelm scream, pipe from Mario, a Legend of Zelda Triforce, and Meat Boy all show up for no other reason than to be funny.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: And it's never really explained why. Sein implies they're hunting either itself or Ori, but again, it's not explained.
  • Experience Points: Spirit Light, dropped by defeated enemies, broken out of caches or simply found as orbs hidden in nooks and crannies or along harder paths of escape sequences. Gathering enough lets Ori purchase abilities such as a stronger attack, displaying powerups on the map or gaining health whenever a Soul Link is created.
  • Exposition Fairy: Sein's dialogue explains most of the plot and events.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Kuro in the ending when she returns Sein to the Spirit Tree, saving both the forest and her last remaining child from the fires of Mount Horu's eruption at the cost of her own life.
  • Fairy Companion: Sein, the last spark of the Spirit Tree's power, joins Ori early on, acting as an Exposition Fairy, tool, and main weapon.
  • Fisher King: Without the Spirit Tree, the three Elements no longer function properly - water becomes stagnant and corrupted, the winds refuse to blow, and Mount Horu is on the cusp of eruption.
  • Fish-Eye Lens: Part of the Misty Woods' hallucinations.
  • Forgiveness: Ori catches up with Gumo, who stole a McGuffin and repeatedly tried to kill them. What do they do? Pull a heavy rock off of him. Cue instant Heel–Face Turn.
  • Fragile Speedster: Ori starts the game as this. The game's default run speed is pretty damn fast, but you're only able to take one or two hits before kicking the bucket. After a few upgrades though, Ori becomes a Lightning Bruiser, below.
  • Foil: Naru to Kuro. Both are mothers who care dearly for their children, and both are creatures of the dark that can be harmed by light. Where Kuro lost her children, Ori lost their mother (although this is not permanent). The events of the game are ultimately driven by the actions of both characters as influenced by their love for their children, for where Kuro destroys the spirit tree and the balance of the forest out of grief for the death of her chicks, Naru raised the child that would ultimately undo the blight. And finally, the final confrontation occurs not between Ori and Kuro, but Naru and Kuro. Ultimately the forest is saved when Naru's motherly love for Ori reminds Kuro of how she loves her own chicks and she rushes to undo her own damage before it kills her last child.
  • Genius Loci: The Spirit Tree has shades of this.
  • Giant Flyer: Kuro is massive.
  • Gravity Screw: The Forlorn Ruins has a lengthy segment where you use a device to interact with the Gumon machinery. The machines allow you to walk on walls and ceilings, as well as reorient your personal gravity to jump in every which direction.
  • Green Aesop: The entire game is about half focused on restoring the forest to its former, green, vibrant self.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: At first, the game makes Kuro out to be an evil, rage-driven Curse God that wants to destroy the forest, and portrays the Spirit Tree and forest spirits as innocent victims. Later, you find out that the only reason Kuro became a tatari-gami and attacked the Spirit Tree is because the Light that the tree was using to try to find Ori killed her babies. That corrupted her and forced her to take extreme measures to save her last egg. Basically, the ENTIRE plot is caused by a huge and tragic misunderstanding that could've been avoided if the two parties had communicated with each other, or at least paid more attention to the possible consequences of their actions. To restore the forest, you basically have to fight a mother who is simply trying to protect her children. But on the other hand, if you don't, the whole forest dies.
  • Grimy Water: All water is poisonous to Ori until they manage to purify the Ginso Tree.
  • Hailfire Peaks: The Forlorn Ruins, combining frozen terrain with superheated machinery.
  • Harder Than Hard: Above Hard difficulty in the Definitive Edition is One Life mode. It's exactly what the label suggests — you can't die at all, and if you do, your save is erased and you have to start all over. You can't copy any saves in this mode either.
  • Headbutt of Love: Kuro is shown doing this to one of her children while mourning their death.
  • Healing Checkpoint: Spirit Wells completely restore your life and energy in addition to saving your game.
  • Heart Container: Life and Energy cores, each one letting Ori store one point of vitality or energy more.
  • Heel–Face Turn: When Gumo turns, he turns hard. Rescue-them-from-a-mad-bird-god, bring-their-mother-back-from-the-dead hard.
  • Heroic Mime: Ori is one. Naru is also an example, although she's only playable during cutscenes.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kuro brings Sein back to the husk of the Spirit Tree, fully aware that reigniting the tree may well kill her. It does. The cutscene is even called "The Sacrifice". The ending shows that Ori's family honored Kuro by including her in the family painting and looking after her egg.
  • Homage: The whole game can be seen as one to Studio Ghibli, especially Princess Mononoke; Ori is easily recognizable as a high-level kodama (tree spirit) and his enemy Kuro is a tatari-gami (curse god). Naru resembles Kaonashi but in personality the gentle yokai is far more like Totoro.
  • Hope Spot:
    • As the forest decays, Naru and Ori run out of food. Ori leaves the cave and climbs a tree containing some more fruit Naru couldn't reach, then brings them back. By the time Ori gets back, however, Naru has already starved to death.
    • The Element of Warmth is cleansed! Mount Horu's eruption is stopped! Nibel is sav—nope, here comes Kuro, smashing into the Element and dooming the forest to a fiery end. Another occurs shortly after, when Ori escapes Mount Horu and glides off to return Sein to the Spirit Tree, only for Kuro to seize them both mid-flight.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Not only can Ori not defeat Kuro, there's only one point in the game when Kuro can even be injured. Whenever Kuro confronts Ori, the only real option is to run. Ultimately Kuro is beaten not by fighting, but by convincing her to stop attacking.
  • Interface Spoiler: The upgrade screen reveals a few of the skills Ori will gain much later on.
  • Last of His Kind: Gumo, the last Gumon, explicitly called that by Sein. It's also probable that Ori is the only surviving forest spirit up until the ending — you certainly find a lot of their remains.
  • Leitmotif: Parts of the main section of "Restoring the Light, Facing the Dark" can be heard in several other songs in the soundtrack. Fitting so, since its title describes the major focus of the game.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Mt. Horu, in spades. You have to stop the flow of lava through the mountain in order to reach the Element of Warmth.
  • Level Up Fill Up: When you gain an ability point through Spirit Light, your life and energy are completely restored. It can come in handy in a pinch.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Ori, once you collect all the powers, abilities, and Heart Containers, becomes disgustingly agile, and relatively hard to kill.
  • Long-Lived: Both Ori's and Naru's kind, implied in Definitive Edition. Naru has lived long enough to have taken care of a sapling Spirit Tree in her youth, while the tree spirits she played with during the same timeframe, namely Eki and Sol, apparently lived till the time of Kuro's attack and perished while trying to find Naru.
  • The Lost Woods: Nibel Forest, so vast the game never leaves it.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Gumo's Hideout is littered with falling rocks and smashing stones.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Kuro, who would kill a god to avenge her children and hunt down Ori to protect her last one, dooming the forest both times.
    • Naru is an exceedingly good mother to Ori and rushes to them at the end of the game when they are down and unconscious, facing a burning forest and Kuro herself to do so.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: It's eventually revealed that Kuro is getting revenge for the Spirit Tree killing her young ones.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Possibly this for the Spirit Tree and Sein when they learn of the reason for Kuro's hatred of their light: he unintentionally killed all but one of her offspring.
    • Kuro, realizing she was so obsessed with hunting Ori and Sein partly out of grief-stricken revenge that she almost let her nest burn in the forest fire she caused.
  • Nintendo Hard: Oh boy is it ever. This game will make even masters of platform games cry. Advancing in some of the later areas requires slingshotting yourself off projectiles launched at you, in real time. In the Definitive Edition, at least one section requires you to do this with your own projectiles!
  • No Death Run:
    • The Immortal achievement requires you to perform one.
    • One Life mode in the Definitive Edition enforces this; when you die, you have to start the entire game again.
  • Otherworldly and Sexually Ambiguous: As a small white spirit being, the most that one can really figure out for certain is that Ori is a child. Their gender is never explicitly stated within the game itself.
  • Owl Be Damned: Kuro resembles a giant owl. Ultimately subverted as she's not evil by nature, she's reacting how any mother would to the killer of her children.
  • Oxygen Meter: While swimming. A later upgrade removes it.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The Ginso Tree, Forlorn Ruins, and portions of the Misty Wood all contain the occasional life cell, energy cell, or spirit light, as well as the map exploration and map stones needed for achievements, all of which become inaccessible once they're completed. This is fixed in the Definitive Edition, as all of those areas can be re-visited freely.
  • Please Wake Up: Very early on, Ori, to Naru. And in the Definitive Edition's last Bonus Dungeon backstory flashback, Naru, to her father.
  • Point of No Return: Sein warns you of this before you enter Mount Horu. Sure enough, the entrance collapses behind you. Averted in the Definitive Edition, though.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The primary cause and theme of the plot.
  • Pokémon Speak: Gumo tends to use it.
  • The Power of Love: At the very end, Naru's love for Ori from Kuro's wrath. Not in any magical way, mind — it causes Kuro to pause, realizing that Naru is a mother who loves her child the same way she loves her own chicks. This also causes her to realize that the burning forest is now a danger to her last chick, prompting her Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Gumo amends his ways and in the end lives Happily Ever After with Ori and Naru. It's Kuro who performs the Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Inverted. Kuro's eyes are normally red, but it's when they become blazing white that the trouble starts.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Ori the kodama.
  • Rise to the Challenge: Escaping from the Ginso Tree ahead of a budding geyser.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Sein has a marked tendency to rhyme while speaking.
  • Rule of Three: The three Elements required to bring life back to Nibel.
  • Scenery Porn: The game consists entirely of beautiful, hand-drawn scenery and is a wonder to look at.
  • Sequence Breaking: The Definitive Edition gives Ori the ability to throw balls of light that can be used to propel yourself like one would off enemy projectiles. While full-blown sequence breaking is avoided, you can use that to take a lot of shortcuts and bypass quite a few puzzles that would normally require other skills.
  • Shockwave Stomp:
    • Ori's Stomp power, used to fight and to break through some floors, a Metroidvania staple.
    • Also present with the jumping frog-lizard enemies, though to a lesser extent.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: After purifying the Element of Water in Ginso Tree victorious music swells... which becomes frantic once the tree begins to rapidly fill with water.
  • Speaking Simlish: None of the characters speak a recognizable language. Ori, Naru, and even Gumo can be heard making vocalizations and even using each other's names, whereas Sein and the Spirit Tree's narration is in subtitled Simlish. The only intelligible dialogue in the game are names.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Averted, as Ori can swim from the very start. Pity the water's corrupted and poisonous...
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Once they manage to purify the water, Ori can pick up a skill that lets them swim indefinitely.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Kuro, especially during the final escape. She thinks — not without merit — you're a threat to her last child.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: There are many places in the game where just being cautious or quick to react will not suffice. This is especially common during chapter endings and boss scenes, when the only way of learning how to survive it to repeatedly die trying.
  • Underground Monkey: Later zones feature slightly tougher variants of the same few enemies you've encountered before. For example, the slime enemy starts firing a three-projectile spread that additionally creates damaging urchins when it hits a wall. Then you run into icy and fiery variants.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: When the Spirit Tree's light starts to search for Ori, Naru (implied to be a creature of darkness similar to Kuro) instinctively sees this as dangerous and hides Ori to protect him. Unable to find Ori, the light continues to spread until it inadvertantly kills Kuro's children, triggering her Roaring Rampage of Revenge and every tragic event that follows.
  • Updated Re-release: Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition, which adds some new content along with some gameplay improvements.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Mount Horu, a volcano on the brink of eruption.
  • Videogame Dashing: In the Definitive Edition, Ori can gain a dash ability, which lets him cover a large amount of ground very quickly. Additionally, an air dash can be unlocked through the ability tree.
  • Weakened by the Light: Or, in this case, killed by the light. The light the Spirit Tree was using to find Ori, while safe for light spirits, had a fatal side-effect on creatures of the dark, like Kuro and three of her children.
  • Wham Episode: In Kuro's Nest, after completing the Forlorn Ruins, Ori discovers Kuro's last egg... and the bodies of her children, cooked alive by the Spirit Tree's power.
  • Wilhelm Scream: Occasionally heard when Bashing an enemy off a cliff.
  • World-Healing Wave: Once Sein is returned to the Spirit Tree, it sends forth one of these to put out the fire and begin healing the forest. Kuro, who returned Sein in a Heroic Sacrifice, does not survive this explosion of light. Her egg, however, does.
  • Zip Mode: In the Definitive Edition you can warp between any Spirit Well you've discovered.

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