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Saturday, April 17, 2021

‘Olija’ Is an Indie Platformer Stuffed With Love, Loss, and Harpoons

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There have been additionally a number of moments within the sport the place a scripted sequence had me falling by means of a damaged platform, solely to seek out that shifting ahead required me to backtrack to the place that platform had been magically repaired. As in just about any sport, this sort of backtracking is needlessly tedious. Harpooning round rapidly from floating eyeball to floating eyeball is rarely actually required for the principle story—it’s for a number of tougher, non-compulsory sailor rescue rooms—but it surely feels awkward when you must do it, and utilizing the analog stick to vary instructions on the Nintendo Swap—Olija is obtainable on Swap, Xbox One/Sequence X, Ps 4/5, and for Home windows on the Steam Retailer—Professional Controller feels imprecise. I discovered myself having to modify to the D-Pad for these sequences. Celeste, with its tight, simple controls, this isn’t.

Later within the sport, Faraday will get a sword that has its personal teleportation properties, and you’ll arrange two transportation factors à la Portal. Sadly, this solely comes close to the tip of the sport. I might have cherished to see extra puzzles that utilized each the sword and the harpoon. You additionally purchase two ranged weapons within the type of a shotgun and a bow, however their ammunition requires crafting. I discovered them to be extraneous and quite ineffective when matched with the enemy sorts that the sport throws at you.

Lastly, there are a handful of boss fights, however they every really feel distinctive and are a pleasant fruits to their phases. The second-to-last one, particularly, has you climbing a tower whereas dodging the boss’ sword thrusts, and discovering angles to shock him with a wise warp or good harpoon throw. It combines all the pieces that’s enjoyable about utilizing the harpoon, and lets the participant determine how they need to method and defeat the boss. General, you’re ready for a boss to point out his weak spot—generally after launching commonplace Rottenwoods at you—after which going to city on it together with your harpoon. They by no means really feel low cost, but additionally finish rapidly. I favored that I may actually fly round in open areas with the harpoon in these, however I couldn’t assist marvel if the bosses additionally felt extra cathartic as a result of the sport’s common encounters are so easy.

As a complete, Olija is on the better aspect, and I discovered myself solely actually dying due to the aforementioned imprecision with the trickier airborne harpoon throwing components. I died in all probability 4 instances, and I by no means felt caught, although one puzzle within the sport had me scratching my head (in a great way.) You’ll discover that you just lose well being very slowly outdoors of pitfalls, and also you gained’t really feel overpowered by enemies. Somewhat, you’re compelled to maintain shifting ahead. The degrees themselves—you’ll sail to completely different to remoted ranges in an overworld after leaving the house base—are petite. Nevertheless, provided that the sport has no map, and it could be irritating to attempt to keep in mind all of the completely different paths within the ranges, it’s doubtless finest loved in a number of devoted sittings.

Olija can be fairly quick, lasting about 4 hours, however every little bit of the sport feels condensed to a nice morsel of high quality, and also you’ll by no means really feel like the sport’s run out of steam. Having mentioned that, there isn’t a lot selection to the sport’s fight, neither is there any kind of scoring system, variable issue, or New Sport + and, as it is vitally linear, it’s unlikely you’ll return to play it once more, until you’re tempted to observe a few of the sport’s extra beguiling story moments.

Olija is a truncated however memorable expertise, one which’s price a glance from any gamer who desires to be swept away on a seafaring journey. It isn’t a trailblazing new entry within the platformer style, however its particulars have a sure magic that makes it really feel better than the sum of its components. At 15 {dollars}, it’s an absolute catch.

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