Blind / Low Vision Game Review – Ori and the Will of the Wisps

The platform challenges and beautiful gameplay return in Ori and the Will of the Wisps. This is our Blind / Low Vision accessibility review.
Game Accessibility Nexus

Review copy provided by Microsoft.

Introduction

The long-awaited sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest has finally arrived. The previous game had great platformer action, puzzle-solving and in many ways it was very accessible. With those precedents, I will analyze Ori and the Will of the Wisps for a rundown of its accessibility for Lov Vision gamers from my personal experience.

Settings

Graphics options include Resolution, Fullscreen on / off, Motion Blur, V-Sync, Brightness and Contrast.

In Graphics we can change the Resolution, Fullscreen on / off, Motion Blur, V-Sync, Brightness and Contrast. I always disable Motion Blur to remove this effect, as this helps me focus my sight. I feel that this game is darker than its predecessor so I had to increase the brightness and slightly increase the contrast to be able to see better.

Settings menu with options for Sound Effects and Music Volume, Analog Stick Deadzone, Vibration intensity slider, Damage Values, Map Trail and Language.

In Settings we have Sound Effects and Music Volume sliders, Analog Stick Deadzone, Vibration intensity slider, Damage Values, Map Trail and Language. The most interesting setting and the one that has more impact on my experience is the Map Trail that allows me to see the route I recently took. When I’m trying to reach a specific location or search for an item, the Map trail prevents me from repeating areas that I’m already sure won’t take me to the destination I want.

Gameplay

Map screen displaying the visited zones, Ori's location and the current objective location.

I can see almost everything on the map. I need to use the magnifier to find new quests or when I’m having trouble finding the right path but other than that I rarely need to use the magnifier. I really like the big circle showing the current objective location. This allows me to know where I have to go as soon as I open the map. I feel free when this information is shown to me so clearly. Even when there are multiple quests it is very easy to choose or know where to go.

We can filter the icons that are shown on the map. We can switch between All, Quests, Warp Spots where we can save the game and restore all health and energy bars and show only collectibles. This helps a lot to hide unnecessary information at any time. When your vision is blurred and there are many icons, we end up not being able to distinguish some icons from each other and this filter solves this problem. The most negative part of the map is the text of each icon, the text is very small and impossible to read.

The Spirit Shards screen with bright icons for equipped and available shards in different intensities.

The Spirit Shards menu is very easy to navigate. Turning to the right / left will go through all the rows in order, avoiding getting lost easily while using the magnifier to read the description of each Shard on the right. Knowing which of the Shards is currently applied at the top is also easy to see. When applying a Shard it becomes greyish and the available Shards become brighter.

Ori in a sunset scene with the text "We shall always remember the day" text on screen.

As in the first game, Ori and the Will of the Wisps has its own fictional language. It is not possible to read or understand the story during cutscenes, I was not able to read it once. The same happens when talking to some NPCs. Sometimes I have to press a key to change the line and read with a magnifier, but other times the text goes on without needing any action from the player. Because of that, most of the story is lost.

The game presents new mechanics to access certain places. Sometimes we have to throw a ball to activate a platform to reach another platform. I never had any difficulty in performing these actions because all the objects that we can interact with are highlighted.

Ori shooting a light arrow.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review the game is darker than the first game. This was partially resolved by increasing brightness and contrast but still seeing the thorns is more difficult. However, I ended up getting more used to the shapes of the thorns and I manage to avoid them better. In some parts, they are very easy to see when they have enough light around.

This difficulty would be drastically reduced if the thorns had more contrast with proper lighting around them.

The audio is excellent! I cab easily know if I have enemies on the left or right of the screen. Also, the sound of each enemy is very distinct, making it easier to find them visually by knowing what I am trying to see. Like in the previous game, all attacks are predictable through the sound they make before attacking. Thanks to that I know when to dodge even before they try to hit me.

There are certain parts of the game where the sound is the only way to know what to do, for example when I have to activate a lever. Passing the lever has an audio cue that tells me that I can interact with an object. Without this audio cue, I would probably spend hours trying to figure out what I should do. Any item, NPC or object has this audio cue which helps a lot.

Conclusions

Overall Ori and the Will of the Wisps is quite accessible. The controls are very responsive and this helps when fixing a poorly measured jump or avoiding an attack, for example by using a double jump to correct the mistake.

Although the game is darker than the previous Ori, it doesn’t differ much. Some thorns are too dark and less visible but it still has vibrant colors and great visual and sound prominence around the world. 

The Map Trail just added something more to the game, it’s excellent. The map is accessible and we can change the filters of what is shown as it is very useful to press LS on the controller and switch between Ori and the selected objective.

Despite not understanding most of the story and feeling frustrated about being hit by thorns all the time, I manage to do everything in the game and certainly reach the end.

Blind / Low Vision Game Review - Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Overall Score - 7.2

7.2