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Video Game / Ori and the Will of the Wisps

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The sequel to Moon Studios' Ori and the Blind Forest, announced at E3 2017 and released on March 11, 2020, for Xbox One and Windows 10, with a Nintendo Switch port later on September 17 that same year. Like its predecessor, it is a Metroidvania in which you play as the foxlike light creature Ori.

Things are peaceful in Nibel. Ori, Naru and Gumo are living happily after restoring the light, and raising Ku, the last hatchling of Kuro. But Ku longs to fly, a longing hampered by her malformed wing. Ori decided to remedy this with Kuro's feather, allowing the two to take flight.

But a vicious storm soon separates the two, dropping Ori into the distant land of Niwen. Much like Nibel before it, the forest of Niwen is cursed with a vicious blight and tormented by a fearsome owl monster. Now Ori must track down its wayward friend, and will discover its own epic destiny in the process.


Ori and the Will of the Wisps contains these tropes:

  • Actionized Sequel: Combat plays a greater focus in the game, with Ori now capable of and frequently encouraged to use melee combos on enemies and having to directly fight actual bosses, in contrast to the previous game which only had passive ranged combat at most and had no bosses. The new combat system (justified in-story by the ending of the first game) has gotten a lot of comparisons to fellow Metroidvania Hollow Knight.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Shriek was the last of her kind, and forsaken by all others, to the point she literally has no idea what love and kindness are. After losing against Ori, she is last seen cuddling up with the corpses of her parents. She is confirmed to have succumbed to the Decay soon after.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Shriek was ostracized by all other races because she was the Decay carrier, leading her to grow up alone without a concept of love and warping her into the merciless force of destruction she is in the game.
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  • All There in the Manual: The Foul Presence is called the "Stink Spirit" in the credits.
  • All the Worlds are a Stage: The final dungeon, Willow's End, is a multiple-choice final exam stage, reusing design elements of the Wellspring, Midnight Burrows, Silent Woods, Baur's Reach, and Windswept Wastes, as well as the Ginso Tree and Mount Horu from the first game.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Early on in the game, Ori is hunted by Howl, a giant wolf monster in the Inkwater Marsh. When Howl treads into Shriek's territory in the Silent Woods later, however, the owl monster intercepts him, and Ori and Ku soon come across Howl's petrified corpse, evidently having been turned to stone by Shriek.
  • Animalistic Abomination: Shriek vaguely resembles an owl, but the feathers of her wings are capable of folding back, revealing long stilt-like arms that she uses to walk. Naturally, she was shunned by all other races, leaving her all alone and bitter. It is also implied that her appearance and her abilities are caused by the Decay.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: At the end of the game, Ori gives up their existence as a leaf spirit to heal Ku. They become Niwen's new Spirit Tree, and the last scene shows a single silver leaf blown away by the wind, implied to be their offspring.
  • Badass Adorable: Ori, more so than the last game where combat was mostly reliant on Sein, as now they have to fight on their own. Ori fights off enemies early on with the aid of a torch and soon gains the ability to summon a Laser Blade. They gain more and more spiritual weapons and tools as the game continues.
  • Bag of Spilling: Ori only starts the game with normal movement, jump, and the wall jump, with no explanation for why all other abilities (aside those given by Sein) are gone.
  • Beat the Curse Out of Him: Mora the Spider comes to her senses after you defeat her, thanking you for freeing her from the corruption. The Stink Spirit you encounter in the Wellspring also takes control of Kwolok in the Luma Pools and you have to fight him. Unfortunately, while beating Kwolok gives him a chance to crush the thing that was controlling him, he's left with no strength to keep living afterwards.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Mora is an enormous spider that appears to be infected with cordyceps fungi.
  • Big Good: Kwolok is doing everything in his power to protect the Moki, but his influence only extends so far. Ori becomes this at the end of the game.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Slightly more bitter this time around. The only way to save Ku and all of Niwen is for Ori to sacrifice their existence as a leaf spirit and become a new spirit tree. Gumo, Ku and Naru mourn that the Ori they knew is gone, but they lovingly care for the tree Ori's been reborn as, continuing to live and grow as a family. Many, many, many years later, Ori has fully grown into a new tree, and a glowing leaf is blown away by the wind, implied to be their offspring.
  • Blackout Basement: The Mouldwood Depths are initially covered in oppressive darkness, and moving out of range of a light source for more than a brief moment causes a One-Hit Kill. Several segments require Ori to stay close to fireflies as they move through dark areas.
  • Bookends:
    • When Shriek was hatched, she struggled to learn to walk as she wandered from her dead parents. Upon her defeat, Shriek flies back to the Silent Forest whilst on the verge of death, struggling back to the corpses of her parents and eventually dying in their embrace.
    • At the end of the story, long after Ori becomes Niwen's new Spirit Tree, the shot focuses on a single silver leaf that is blown away from a branch and into the wind, mirroring the beginning of Ori and the Blind Forest where Ori is torn away from Nibel's Spirit Tree by the storm.
    • The music for the last scene, "Ori, Embracing the Light", is a massive one for the prologue of Ori and the Blind Forest. After a brief section that is not a reference to anything outside of the series' leitmotif, there is a calmer version of the ending section of "Inspiriting", and the last section of "Ori, Embracing the Light" references the first section of "Ori, Lost in the Storm".
    • Shortly before that is another Call-Back to Blind Forest. At the end of the prologue Ori picks their way through spiky bushes and rocky terrain, clearly at death's door, collapsing in exhaustion just as the Spirit Tree saves him. At the end of Will of the Wisps, the last thing that Ori does is... pick their way through spiky bushes and rocky terrain, clearly at death's door, only this time Ori does not get revived. Instead, they're reborn as a blossoming new tree sprout, with a similar riff as the flower that bloomed when the tree revived him.
    • Both games begin with a Good-Times Montage, this game ends like-wise with Naru, Gumo and Ku taking care of the spirit tree. Additionally, The prologue has a montage of Ku, Ori, Gumo and Naru growing up together as a family. The epilogue has a montage of Ku, Gumo and Naru continuing to live as a family beside the Spirit Tree until the end of their days.
    • The first game's prologue and this game's epilogue both end with Naru dying peacefully.
    • The first game began with the Spirit Tree narrating that Naru "embraced [his] light" (Ori), whilst the second game ends with Ori (as the new Spirit Tree) narrating how they "embraced the light" (Seir).
  • Call-Back: The final reward of the Chain of Deals quest is a Map Stone Fragment, the same that were all over the first game. But since you don't need it to obtain maps this time (in fact, by the time you complete the quest you should already have every map but the last one), finding and activating the Map Stone instead marks every single remaining secret on your map. Also, the NPC who sells you maps? Wherever he appears, there's usually a map stone nearby in the background.
  • Cast from Hit Points: With the Life Pact shard equipped, using abilities when you have no energy costs you life instead
  • Chain of Deals: The "Hand to Hand" sidequest, which sees Ori trading items with friendly NPCs across the course of most of the game.
  • Chase Scene: Just like the first game, there's a few sections where Ori is being pursued by an enemy. Once by Howl at the game's beginning, twice by the Stink Spirit (once with it having possessed Kwolok), briefly in the boss fight against Mora the Giant Spider, and multiple times by Shriek.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Kuro went evil as part of a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, but she realized that the way she was going about things would have destroyed what she was trying to protect, and thus made a final sacrifice to save the egg that would hatch into Ku, and thus is never fought. Shriek went evil because she was rejected by the other owls and by Niwen for her decayed appearance, has absolutely nothing to protect, and spurns Ori's kindness out of fear, shortly before becoming the game's final boss. Ori repays the favour as the game's final boss.
  • Critical Hit: The Finesse shard gives a 10%/20% chance to deal 1.5x damage.
  • Critical Status Buff: The Last Stand shard boosts damage dealt by up to 20% when Ori has less than 15% life remaining.
  • Cub Cues Protective Parent: In the flashback to Shriek's childhood, the owl chicks are more curious than anything regarding her deformity, but soon their parents come and forcefully separate them.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: When she's not driven mad by the corruption, Mora the Giant Spider down in Mouldwood Depths is quite soft-spoken and gentle and she even speaks of the importance of light for everyone, even those like herself who usually stay out of the light.
  • Disabled Badass: Ku has a malformed wing and fails to fly until Gumo ties her mother's feather onto her wing. Her wing is healed at the end, however, allowing Ku to fly without the feather.
  • Distant Finale: The ending shows the growth of Ori as the new Spirit Tree of Niwen, outliving their friends and family, immortalized as shapes in their bark.
  • Driven to Suicide: One of the sidequests involves a Moki asking you to find his family so they can move into their new house in the Glades... but by the time you reach his old home, his wife and child have succumbed to the Decay. He does not take the news well: if you tell him, he disappears, and if you go back to the old house, there's now three statues there.
  • Drop the Hammer: A heavier weapon alternative Ori can purchase with Spirit Light is a hammer which swings much slower than the Spirit Edge, but hits much harder and can be used to break many things. Its downward attack also recreates the Stomp attack from the first game.
  • Energy Bow: One of Ori's new weapons, called the Spirit Arc.
  • Energy Economy: Spirit Light acts as a currency.
  • Equipment Upgrade: Many spirit shards and abilities can be upgraded to increase their effectiveness or provide additional perks.
  • Family of Choice: Ku, Ori, Gumo and Naru may be different species, but they all regard one another as family.
  • Family Theme Naming: Kuro's child is named Ku.
  • Fetch Quest: A new mechanic for the game, there's a trading sidequest that involves you exchanging various things with characters all over the map.
  • Fighting Spirit: Spirit Trials allow you to compete with the "ghosts" of other players to see if you can beat their speed records.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Doubles as a Rewatch Bonus. At the very beginning when the narrator is describing the birth of Ku, they mention that "We named her Ku." This seems like an oddly personal line for the otherwise distant narrator, but then you reach the end of the game and learn that the narrator is actually Ori, reborn as a new Spirit Tree, revealing that "we" referred to Naru, Gumo, and Ori themselves.
    • There is also the menu that shows your progress. It's in the shape of a single-trunked tree, unlike the doubled-trunked tree of Niwen.
  • Foil: Gumo to Shriek. Both were seemingly the last of their species, barely surviving a disaster caused by the loss of the local Spirit Trees' light. Both only find loneliness and eventually embrace "darkness and fear". Both are also spared by Ori from a potentially gruesome fate even after Ori has every reason to allow them to die. They differ in how they react to forgiveness. Gumo jumps at the chance of redemption, and eventually fully integrates into Ori's Family of Choice. Shriek completely rejects the forgiveness, leading her to become the final boss.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: Seir becomes golden when she is restored, and in the end, Ori bears the same golden light when they become a Spirit Tree.
  • Grand Finale: The game ends with Ori becoming the new Spirit Tree of Niwen and his adopted family growing old and living out their final days together happily. While the game does leave off open-ended enough for the potential of one of Ori's children to be the protagonist of the next game, this game is the definitive end to Ori's story.
  • Happily Adopted: Ku is very happy to have Naru as a surrogate mother, as Ori was.
  • High-Altitude Battle: Shriek as the Final Boss will eventually destroy the entire battlefield, forcing the player to constantly Bash off a rain of projectiles just to stay alive.
  • Javelin Thrower: The Spike ability lets Ori charge and throw spears of light.
  • Jaw Drop: Near the end, Most of the Wellspring Glades inhabitants invoke this trope witnesses Ori merging with Seir in the distance.
  • Laser Blade: Ori wields one called the Spirit Edge.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Ku's existence spoils the ending of the previous game, considering she's Kuro's last child.
  • Narrator All Along: The end of the game reveals that the narrator is Ori, many years in the future after they "embraced the light" and became Niwen's Spirit Tree.
  • Nintendo Hard: Similar to the last game, while players still get to choose the difficulty, by no means is Ori and the Will of the Wisps an easy game. Boss fights can be tough and require several retries; god forbid if a boss fight has several phases, since if a player dies during a later phase of a boss fight, they may have to restart the whole boss fight from the first phase. In addition, the chase sequences are also very difficult, as players are usually given only a small margin for error and few to no checkpoints in the chase sequences. If one mistake is made, players may have to restart the whole chase sequence, even if they died just before reaching the end of the chase.
  • Headbutt of Love: During the Big Damn Reunion Ori and Ku invoke this trope.
  • No Hero Discount: Averted with Lupo. When you encounter him in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, he gives you the area's map for free because he realizes just how dire the situation is.
  • Ominous Owl: Shriek, albeit with the ability to retract her feathers and use her wings as legs.
  • Parrying Bullets: With the Deflector shard, Ori can deflect projectiles with melee attacks.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: All of Niwen's problems started with the Spirit Willow dying of old age.
  • Retirony: The Spirit Willow decides to resign their role as guardian of Niwen and bestow it to Ori. But just before they could bestow Seir to them, Shriek swoops in and snatches Seir. If you look carefully in the background during the final battle, you can see the Spirit Willow fall as Shriek destroys the very ground. Either way, it falls to Ori to restore Niwen.
  • Power-Up Magnet: With the Magnet shard equipped, pickups within a certain range will be drawn to Ori.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Ori again, of course, but now also Ku. The Moki count too, given how much they resemble Ori, and help the two protagonists throughout their journey.
  • Rule of Symbolism: In the epilogue, as it progresses, we see day gradually turn to night. By evening, as she rests at the foot of the Spirit Tree that Ori became, Naru passes away peacefully.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: The title comes from a popular false etymology for the word "Will-o'-the-Wisp".
  • Sand Worm: One of the enemies in the Windswept Wastes, they are a threat while you are burrowing. A massive one chases you out of the Windtorn Ruins once you've gotten to the bottom and collected the Heart of the Forest.
  • Scenery Porn: Just like the first game. Even more so, thanks to graphical improvements.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Unlike many enemies in this game, the giant sandworm in the Windtorn Ruins is never fought; at the end of the chase sequence, its emergence from the ground causes several large stones to get knocked loose and come down on top of it, presumably crushing it to death.
  • Sequel Escalation: The map is bigger, there's much more to find, there's new abilities to get, there's more enemy variety, and you have actual bosses to fight.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Spirit Slam can be upgraded to unleash a damaging wave of energy when used to strike down from the air. It works similar to Ori's Stomp ability from the first game.
  • Spin-Offspring: Focuses on the child of Kuro, the antagonist of the first game.
  • Stealth Pun: Niwen's guardian is the Spirit Willow, and its light was split into five Wisps. They're willow wisps.
  • Taken for Granite: The Silent Woods is home to many, many inhabitants that have become petrified and turned into stone prior to the beginning of the game by the Decay. And a couple more, namely Howl and one of the Moki you can talk to, likewise turn into stone during the course of the game.
  • Together in Death:
    • The "Family Reunion" sidequest ends with the father Moki willingly succumbing to the Decay and becoming petrified with his family.
    • After Shriek is defeated, she returns to her parents before passing away.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Without Sein to fend off enemies, Ori has to rely on their own skills to defend themselves, gaining the ability to summon a variety of spiritual weapons.
  • Tragic Villain: Destructive and terrifying though she might be in the present, Shriek was born the last of her colony and was ostracized for her strange and sinister appearance, leaving her bitter and alone with no concept of love. After being defeated by Ori, she is last seen cuddling up with the corpses of her parents and eventually perishing in the Decay.
  • True Companions: The lengths Ori goes to find Ku and bring her back home safely to Nibel clearly marks them as this. The same goes for Gumo and Naru even though they're more Out of Focus.
  • Tunnel King: Ori becomes this after gaining the "Burrow" ability.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Shortly after Seir is made whole, Shriek attempts to attack Ori and Seir as they make their way to the remains of the Spirit Willow, only to be repelled by Seir and knocked off her feet. Seir's clearly getting ready to kill Shriek in Ori's defense - and Shriek's clearly expecting to get fried alive - but Ori holds Seir back and tries to befriend Shriek. Shriek... screeches in Ori's face and flies away, attacking Seir and Ori again later on.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Willow's End, the location of Niwen's Spirit Willow and the heart of the Decay, serves as the game's final area.
  • Wham Line: "When my name was Ori." Delivered by the narrator during the game's ending sequence, revealing that just as the first game was narrated by the Spirit Tree of Nibel, so is the second - but in this case, the Spirit Tree of Niwen is Ori, far in the future.
  • The Worf Effect: the first boss is a giant wolf named Howl, who you can’t actually defeat, but rather fend off temporarily. Instead of a rematch, you find their corpse petrified by the decay.