Blind / Low Vision Game Review – Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest is a great platform game with an emotional story at its core, wrapped up in beautiful visuals and music. This is our Blind / Low Vision accessibility review.
Ori and the Blind Forest Cover

Introduction

Hello, my name is Victor and I am a gamer with degenerative myopia since I was born. To give some context I had to wear glasses when I was 2 years and as of today, I have lost more than 90% of my vision. I am not able to read any text for more than 10 years without using the windows magnifier at 700% to read in all games and more recently the narrator has become my favorite accessibility tool. This is my feedback on Ori and the Blind Forest from a low vision perspective.

The game has few options. We can change the resolution, activate or deactivate the full-screen mode, sound effect volume, music volume, Vibration intensity slider, V-sync, Language, Damage Numbers, Motion Blur, Brightness and Contrast.

All options in the game such as Resolution, vibration and volume sliders, Damage Numbers, Brightness and Contrast

None of these options have a big impact on my experience. In this case, the music volume is almost at the standard. Music doesn’t get in the way of gameplay at any time. Damage Numbers are practically useless to me because I can’t see how much damage I’m doing to targets due to the text size. As is my habit, I disable Motion Blur to make the graphics sharper. The most useful option for me is Contrast but because the game is very colorful I just needed to increase it a little.

As soon as the campaign starts, we realize that the characters speak in a fictional language so the dialogues only make sense through the subtitles. These captions appear in different areas of the screen and I was never able to read them because I didn’t have enough time to use the magnifier to read me.

Ori holding on to a branch, he looks tired, with captions saying - When cries were met with silence

But it’s not all bad when it comes to reading what the characters say. It is possible to read without problems when the spirit tells us something because the text remains on the screen until you press a button. I use the magnifier zoom to read and then press the key to move to the next line.

The Spirit talking with Ori saying - The heart of the Ginso Tree once kept the Element of Waters safe but now it's corrupted, all foul and decayed

The goal in Ori sometimes seems more complicated than it really is. Above all, you need to explore the world. Find the map of the area you are in, find the keys to open the next gate, pick up skills from the trees that will allow you to access new areas and / or have faster access to areas previously discovered and their hidden items.

The Ability tree is accessible enough as I zoom in on the text and move it with the left analog stick on the controller. The text is easy to read as much as how many skill points we have to spend. Sometimes I get just a bit confused about the position of the next icon because of the swirling design.

The Ability tree presenting two available points to spend. On the left, the skills and on the right the ability description and the requirements of each skill

The map can be confusing at first, but I ended up understanding it perfectly. You have the upper text indicating your goal and a bright circle indicating where you need to go. You can press X to switch between where Ori is and the objective to follow. On the map there are colored and non-colored areas. The map is colored when we take the map item that makes it visible. Non-colored areas are undiscovered places. So the first objective is always to find the map of the new area which makes it easier to memorize the place. 

After assigning skill points to be able to see the health / energy components we can see them on the map and I didn’t have many difficulties in seeing their position on the map.

The map. On the top center it says SUNKEN GLADES, completed percentage and the Objective description. On the top right shows the objective circle

The colorful and highly contrasted visuals through lighting and color differentiation make Ori and the Blind Forest a unique experience! Sometimes I’m so distracted in the exploration that I end up in a totally different place, sometimes I go back to the beginning but I always know where I am. Even to me, each place looks so different from each other.

In addition to all the qualities I have already mentioned, the audio is also fantastic. There are sound cues in everything I can remember. There is a sound cue when I get close to collectible energy, when you touch the save point, differentiation between an action that can be performed or not. For example, when we obtain the keys to open the gates and if a key is missing, the sound changes to indicate that a key is missing when you’re trying to open it. It is possible to distinguish all enemies present in the game through the sound. This helps to understand what to expect next and I can hear the sound of attacks from all enemies before they reach me.

One of the most useful tools in the game is the ability to save the game at any time using a bit of energy. This allows you to overcome more difficult obstacles and save the game in more critical areas.

Final Thoughts

Although Ori and the Blind Forest is a very accessible game for me, it is still challenging. There are times when I needed a break, especially when we have to escape places that are being destroyed or we are being chased and I don’t have enough time to figure out what I have have to do, but nothing is as satisfying as when we finally make it! The most negative part I found is that it is impossible to understand part of the story because I can’t read the subtitles.

Visuals, sound cues, contrast, vibrant colors and the ability to save at any time make Ori and the Blind Forest a memorable experience.

Blind / Low Vision Game Review – Ori and the Blind Forest

OVERALL SCORE - 8.5

8.5