Ori and the Blind Forest

Moon Studios, Microsoft Studios

Windows, Xbox One

A lot has been said about the art direction in Ori and the Blind Forest, and for good reason. From the opening cinematic, guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye, there's a beauty draped across the game that permeates even its darkest moments. As Ori, you explore a fantastical open-world forest that you're tasked with restoring in this 2-dimensional platform adventure that's a fine-art send-up of past 8- and 16-bit platformers, complete with frustrating jumps over pits full of spikes. Thankfully, game controls have come a long way, so Ori's challenge involves well-developed puzzles requiring creative use of his powers and the interactive environments. Of course, it wouldn't be a platformer without endless deaths while attempting to overcome these puzzles, but Ori's save system—powered by resources collected during Ori's travels—allows for strategic save points. If used wisely, these save points turn tricky traps and puzzles from annoying frustrations into fun challenges. With an engaging story and an open map that doesn't hold your hand from Point A to Point B, Ori will delight fans of the genre and make fans of a whole new generation.