Olija stars Lord Faraday, leader of a struggling fishing town who gets shipwrecked during an expedition. He awakens alone in Terraphage, a collection of islands corrupted by an ancient evil and house to a foreign civilization governed by the mystical Woman Olija. Who is Olija, what is this malevolent force, and how does Faraday rescue his team and return home? Addressing those enticing concerns is a blast, since Olija looks good and plays better, making it one of the year’s first pleasant surprises.
Static pictures of Olija (noticable “ooo-lee-ah”) do not do the discussion any favors. It has an easy, pixelated look, but it’s backed by smooth animation that stimulates classics like Prince of Persia and Another World. The video game also has design for days thanks to its remarkable cutscenes (anticipate frequent cuts to black), foreboding soundtrack, and surprising gore. The unfamiliar, subtitled language includes to that cinematic quality, though my favorite moments are communicated nonverbally. One excellent scene involves providing a rose to a maiden without her knowing, resulting in an adorable interaction that does not require a single word to be said.
Below its simple-looking appearance, Olija is a gratifying action game. Gamers can unleash multi-hit combos, launch enemies air-borne, manage them a bit, and send them flying into walls– and it feels great. A magic harpoon acts as your primary weapon, and can impale opponents from afar, permitting you to then warp towards them. Teleporting in the face of air-borne dangers feels slick, as does recalling the harpoon to strike opponents on the return journey. You likewise have a collection of subweapons, such as the fast and combo-focused rapier or the effective shotgun. Best of all, subweapons can be switched on the fly, implying you can combine attacks and change methods.
Unique hats act as your sole form of equipment. You craft these items yourself, and each hat bestows a special perk, such as firing dagger-like feathers while dodging, siphoning health on kills (my favorite), or the capability to spin the harpoon like a buzzsaw. These abilities are mostly satisfying and can absolutely assist, but they’re also not make-or-break assists. You’re bound to one hat per mission, however I seldom felt as though particular headwear was required for any task. While that allows flexibility, it also makes hats feel somewhat irrelevant. They do make Faraday look pretty snazzy, though.
Levels include several paths and, rather oddly, no dungeon maps. Though I didn’t get turned around often, there are bigger, tougher-to-track areas where a map would alleviate exploration. I had a good time exploring Olija’s world. Platforming feels good, and the environmental puzzles are smart. For example, properly navigating giant mouths that warp (read: spit) Faraday around the map. Unique sections, such as an entirely stealth-focused area and a thrilling escape sequence, keep expedition fresh. Also, I never ever got tired of tossing the harpoon off-screen, locking onto something, then warping to find a secret collectible or captive crewmate. Generally, you’re trying to find secrets to open a big, end-of-level door, which typically causes an amusing boss fight. While some fights feature massive fights against grotesque monstrosities, individually battles with human opponents change things up with a more intimate, strategic focus that requires reading behavior instead of just attacking full blast.
In between islands you construct up Oaktide, a run-down port that serves as your online. Rescued crewmates return here, and the more you find, the livelier and more jubilant the port becomes, which in itself is a benefit. Gamers can open a potion store to permanently increase the health bar, dine at a soup kitchen area to restore vigor, and pay a sea captain to search for additional treasures. I’m a fan of this sort of base-building function, and while Olija’s variation is far from the inmost example of it, it is still gratifying. The only downside is that once you totally upgrade your health and get every hat (which isn’t hard to do) the cash and ornaments you continue to collect efficiently ended up being useless.
Olija isn’t a long game; it took me a little over four hours to complete even after collecting the majority of its collectibles. However it packs a great deal of great things in that timeframe and never ever breaks its welcome. With tight gameplay, fun exploration, and an appealing environment, Faraday’s devastating voyage turns into a rewarding exploration.
Released at Fri, 05 Feb 2021 19:55:00 +0000