Deconstructing Ori and the Blind Forest’s Best Bit | Game Maker’s Toolkit

Deconstructing Ori and the Blind Forest’s Best Bit | Game Maker’s Toolkit


Pretty much everyone who has played Ori and
Blind Forest, will give you the same answer when you ask them about their favourite part
from the game. It’s the Ginso Tree. It’s one of the three main levels in this
gorgeous platforming Metroidvania, and it’s kinda like the combination between a Zelda
dungeon and a Super Meat Boy level, in that it introduces you to one of the game’s core
abilities – but tests you on it through a gauntlet of tricky platforming challenges. In this video, I want to break down the Ginso
Tree, beat by beat, to reveal how this one area in the game shows off the power and adaptability
of Ori’s best mechanic, before finishing off with a memorable set piece sequence that
sidesteps a lot of the traps that these cinematic moments can fall into. I’m Mark Brown, this is Game Maker’s Toolkit,
and here’s how the Ginso Tree works. Before we get to that new ability – the first
half of the tree is there to really hammer home what Ori can do with his current set
of moves – which include a double jump, a wall jump, and his spirit flame attack. So we start with a tricky platforming section,
with lots of wall-jumping and double-jumping between hanging platforms, and using these
new – and rather disorienting – portals to whip around the screen. Then we have a section that involves some
puzzle solving. We need to redirect this monster’s projectile
to smash through these splintered trees, by using these cornered portals to change the
direction of the bullet. Next, we shift to a combat arena, where we
have to use Ori’s flame attack to destroy these gross slug things. And finally, another platforming section where
we’re jumping through portals and avoiding spikes – this time with four keys to collect. Now, with Ori’s current moveset thoroughly
tested, it’s time to grab that new ability: Bash. This move lets Ori snap on to lanterns, projectiles
and enemies, before choosing a direction and firing off like a rocket. It’s essentially the game’s signature
move and – if you ask me – it belongs in the pantheon of great game mechanics, alongside
reverts in Tony Hawk’s, High Time in Devil May Cry, and more. Look, I’ve got video material for years. You’re never getting rid of me. Anyway. The move is great for so many reasons. For one, it gives you another way to stay
in the air, which is when Ori is at its absolute best. The game’s floaty physics can make precision
platforming tricky, but the game feels great when you’re chaining moves to stay airborne. But Bash is not some instantly accessible action, like a double jump, because you need to skilfully manoeuvre yourself into the right spot, to
pull it off. Bash also connects platforming and combat, so that might involve bashing an enemy into
some spikes, or returning an enemy’s projectile right back into their squishy face. Either way, it’s a lot better than Ori’s
standard combat. Unless you’re really into hitting the X
button a lot. It also gives you two things to think about. When you bash off a projectile, the bullet
will fire one way and Ori will jet off in the opposite direction. So you need to consider both, or you might accidentally
ping Ori into some spikes. And the way time slows down gives you a moment
to think and pick the perfect direction. You can bash off in all 360 degrees, after
all, which makes the ability so expressive. But this time-stop doesn’t break the flow
of the game. In fact, that moment almost serves to emphasise
the action. The contrast between the static build-up,
and the resulting rush of speed, just makes it oh-so satisfying. Like a catapult. And so, because it’s so adaptable, Bash
recontextualises everything you’ve seen before. Projectiles and enemies, which one were once
something to be avoided, are now a key part of your platforming, combat, and puzzle-solving
skill set. And what better way to prove all this, than
to take everything you did in the first half of the Ginso Tree – and repeat it, but now
with the Bash move under your belt. So we have another platforming section, but
this time we can use Bash to leapfrog over projectiles. Then we get a repeat of that puzzle where
we needed to redirect a projectile into a tree – but this time we can just use Bash
to quickly fire it in the right direction. Also, the slug-like enemies from the combat
arena return, but now we can see how their barf bombs can be used to our advantage. We next have another platforming section with
keys, just like before. But bashing off the lanterns significantly
changes how the area plays out. And finally, there’s another combat arena,
and this time the only way to win is to use bash to fire back projectiles. Also, here’s a perfect moment to learn about
that whole catapulting Ori into spikes thing. When we move up to the top of the tree, we
get two more tests. To the right, is a final puzzle challenge. We need to bring a projectile from here… …to here, using both Bash and those cornered portals from earlier. You’ll need to observe the level layout,
defeat enemies, and avoid getting hit by the projectile yourself. And on the left, we have a challenge that combines
all of the bash uses. There’s some platforming, some combat, and some puzzle solving all in one room. And now it’s time for the grand finale. The Ginso Tree escape. This is a climactic, white knuckle, set-piece
challenge. It’s Ori‘s version of a boss battle and
the real test of your new ability. You’ll need to use bash again and again
to overcome a non-stop gauntlet of projectiles and enemies, all while a great jet of water
is nipping at your heels. Now the problem with this sort of set-piece
moment is that if you screw them up, it completely breaks the illusion. It’s like cut cut cut, let’s go again,
places people, and action! You know, the cool moment just kinda gets ruined. You can make them very easy so the player
is unlikely to screw it up, but then it’s all spectacle, no substance. That’s not the case here – the escape from
the Ginso Tree is tough and you will likely fail more than once. But Ori does a few clever things to stop the
sequence from breaking apart. One is that restarting is instant, with no
loading screens or cutscenes. If you fail, you just go again. Two, is that the music, which is incredible
by the way, doesn’t reset, it just keeps going which makes failed attempts flow together
as part of the set piece. And three is that there are no checkpoints. Which means when you do succeed, you will
have successfully done about a minute of unbroken platforming challenges. This wasn’t a war of attrition though checkpoints,
or some flashy pseudo cutscene, or some low stakes smoke and mirrors. It was real gameplay with the threat of death
at your back and you nailed it! Ori is never really better than during the Ginso
Tree. Sure, the later dungeons – Forlorn Ruins and
Mount Horu – are also well designed. And you’ll get to use your new Bash ability
throughout the adventure in even more difficult and exciting scenarios. But, the game has its issues. The Metroidvania structure mostly just leads
to backtracking and confusion, rather than navigational joy. The challenge is all over the place with frustrating
difficulty spikes. And because Moon Studios keeps chucking new
mechanics on top of old ones, the game starts to lose some of the elegance found in the
moveset you had during the Ginso Tree. By the end of the game you can charge jump,
triple jump, wall jump, climb up walls and then fire off them, stomp, bash, attack, do
a charge burst, and float with a feather. And if you’ve got the Definitive Edition,
you can also dash and throw out a ball of light. It gets to the point where almost every button
on the controller does something new, resulting in a finger-fumbling exercise in frustration
as half the challenge is just remembering which button does what. But still, Ori is a great game and I would recommend
it. Especially for the Ginso Tree which confidently
shows off the brilliance of the Bash move by showing you what you can do without it,
what you can do with it, and then putting your new-found skills to the ultimate test
in a memorable set-piece moment. Who knows what Moon Studios has cooked up
for the sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest, but I know I’ll be checking it out. Hey there, thanks for watching. GMTK is powered by Patreon, and these are
my top tier supporters. Also if the stuff about Zelda dungeons and keys in this video made you think about Boss Keys, don’t worry. It’s coming back soon.

62 thoughts on “Deconstructing Ori and the Blind Forest’s Best Bit | Game Maker’s Toolkit

  • What. The Ginso Tree is one of the Worst part of the game, highlighting the huge flaws in the base mechanics of the game and only being slightly good by introducing the bash gameplay.

  • I may be biased considering Ori is probably my all time favorite Metroidvania game but I personally feel like the new moves aren't something to be looked down on or decrease the game's overall merits if anything it adds new and different ways to tackle the challenges the game throws your way, with that being said you can tell a lot of time and care went to this game and it really shows Ori has great gameplay and fantastic soundtrack and a whole lot of heart (Remember what I said about probably being biased my inner fanboy is showing and when it comes to Ori and the Blind Forest I'm not ashamed of it. All aboard the hype train for Ori and the Will of the Wisps!!!!!XD)

  • I never thought the game was cluttered or stuffed. Every move had use, and was easy to remember. Nothing felt like it was only there for one piece, and it was so satisfying to finally get charge jump towards the end.

  • When the climbing section began I assumed that I would never be able to go back. So I made sure I got every single collectible on the way up. Hour and a half well spent.

  • You should do an episode on sound effects and/or thematic music. There's only been a few games where I was truly blown away by the music but this was definitely one of them.

  • I think you highlight well what this segment does correctly and with a careful quality of design, something I perhaps should have emphasized in my analysis. But more than just adding confusion, the controls are great, but just not for this game. The type of movement and enemy interactions you face don't support the combination of floatiness and required precision movement the game demands from the player.

  • The way the music doesn't restart when you die is indeed a large part of what makes you want to try again instantly when you die. Whoever thought of that was a genius.

    Also, while I agreed with most of the video, I never felt overwhelmed by the number of abilities, I just felt more and more powerful. To each their own, I suppose.

  • I'm going to very strongly disagree at everything you said from 7:10 to 7:49
    The game doesn't really make you backtrack unless YOU want to find secrets that were previously inaccesible, except maybe when going to a new area by traversing previous ones, but that's not a problem in DE with fast travel.
    Every time you get a new ability you proceed to use it repeatedly on that area, (not as well as ginso tree, I know) and by the time you finish the area you should have enough muscle memmory to remember what button to press.
    The fact that you have so many abilities in the end gives you the power to go absolutely wherever you want, both vertically and horizontally and that feels really satisfying

    Of course, everyone has their own experience, and I'm only defending this game because of how much I enjoyed it from start to end
    Ginso tree was without a doubt the best section of the game, but it doesn't mean the rest of it is bad or poorly designed

  • When i played the final boss battle thought it just another big fight I dont even have the whole skillset, just purely bashing and somehow manage to complete it.

  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps is coming up!!! I love Bash but sadly I don't think it will be in the next game…

  • You missed a key detail about the Escape Sequences in the game.

    The water/whatever rushing up from below is NOT insta death iirc and the speed it moves adjusts depending on how well you're doing. If you progress quickly the water will rise more quickly giving you shorter room for taking breaks/wasting time doing something subpar where as if you're not progressing so quickly you'll be given a lot more breathing room. The game has a bit of a delay when switching between fast and slow water rise so you can't easily exploit it to get a breather if you've been doing well.

    This has a real effect during successive attempts at it because you progressively learn what is expected and optimize your playthrough of the challenge, resulting in you completing stuff more quickly while conversely getting less time to take a break/less room for mistakes. This helps ensure the threat remains real when you improve your skills and keeps victory feeling awesome when you succeed. It also ensures it's possible to beat without needing too much skill.

    I think in the re-release of the game they made the mechanic more granular to better accommodate a wider range of player skill.

  • I agree that the the game has add too many abilities.
    Especially when I first get the charge jump, I keep forgetting which trigger to use because it require jumping, climbing and dashing at once, and it is mostly only useful at the part I got this ability.
    And the light ball…I beat the game without realizing it's a thing. The area that requires the ball is fun, but outside that part of the map it's pretty useless, so they added some orbs in some random places that require the light ball to access, which in my opinion is just to make some problem so the solution can serve a purpose.
    It's a great game, but I just hate it try to make every bottom on the controller do something.

  • And this doesn't even touch on the fact that at the end of the Ginso tree, you meet the main antagonist. It's like, "Whew, I managed to beat it! Great job, me! Oh wait, what's that? OH WHAT IS THAT AAH I HAVE TO FACE THAT THING WHAT NONONONO"

  • I think the design that in definitive edition we could return back to the Ginso tree is pretty awesome ! You will see the water flows down the cave and the familiar place you could jump with BASH again.

  • the game was great in both design and story, thank you for pointing out what makes it different

  • Eh. I honestly couldn't remember the Ginso Tree at all — bar the escape sequence, of course, but that's because I hated it so much I almost shelved the game then and there. In fact, the only parts of Ori that I have vivid memories of in general, are the parts I strongly disliked — particularly the "boss" sequences and giant owl stealth section.

    I think the biggest contributor to my lack of strong memories of Ori, though, is that I played it at a time when I was binging on new Metroidvanias, and Ori had the unfortunate luck of being experienced between better examples of the genre: Axiom Verge, Environmental Station Alpha, Steamworld Dig 2, and Hollow Knight. Especially Hollow Knight.

  • Ori has some of the best platforming I've ever seen. However, it also has some of the most boring combat I've ever seen, but the bash was able to make the combat better and elevate the platforming to be better than it was before.

  • Me and my friend were playing this together and we were literally screaming because of this part. The music and everything was a beautiful spectacle of a masterpiece. Truly something to go down on time!

  • Also the story in this game is amazing, and everything about it it beautiful. This is a game that I played as being just another generic game, but stuck in my mind forever.

  • I actually wasn't a huge fan of the linear dungeons. I preferred going back to old areas to find all the secrets with my new abilities. I also love how they kept introducing new abilities. It never got old, and I was never confused at all.

  • This game is a gem! An instant classic alongside Hollow Knight. I also, slightly disagree about the move-sets and controls. I never had a problem remembering them since Moon Studios did a good job and pacing them out for me to learn them well.

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