Ori you ready for this?
So, you’ve just finished playing Ori and the Will of the Wisps. You’ve dashed, swam, flown, and plummeted through one of the most beautiful and satisfying Metroidvania platformers ever made, and now you’re looking for more games like it, with equally brilliant gameplay, stunning visuals, and gripping story.
Or you just clicked on this list because your bored and Great British Bake Off doesn’t start for another 15 minutes…
Either way, I got you, buddy.
I’m going to show you guys some of my favourite games like Ori and the Blind Forest & Will of the Wisps that, I hope, will fill that hole left by the latest title in the series. Whether they’re alike in style, tone, or quality, these games should keep you entertained, enthralled, and entranced.
|Initial Release Date||November 2016 (Windows), February 2018 (Nintendo Switch), April 2018 (PS4, Xbox One)|
|Platform||Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch|
So, I’m going to kick us off this list of games like Ori and the Blind FOrest with a personal favourite of mine. It’s wonderful, it’s heartwarming, and it’s one of the most underappreciated games of all time.
It’s Owlboy, baby.
This is a Metroidvania from 2016 that absolutely blew me away the first time I played it, which is actually appropriate for a game about flying. It took D-Pad 9 years to make this game, and you can see every single second of work on display.
The pixel art is stunningly beautiful, the animation is top-notch, the gameplay is inventive, satisfying, and you can throw your best friend into a wall as much as you like!
But really, It’s the story that always makes me want to come back to this game. The writing is equal parts witty, endearing, thought-provoking, and genuinely very touching. There are very few games out there that have made me laugh, and cry as much as Owlboy has.
Usually at the same time too, which is even more impressive.
If you haven’t played this already, I highly recommend you check it out. Don’t look it up, don’t spoil anything for yourself, just play the game.
Although, feel free to look up “Boguins” if you want a new favourite thing in the world.
|Initial Release Date||April 2013 (PS3, PS Vita), August 2013 (Windows), |
July 2014 (PS4, Wii U, Xbox), October 2018 (Nintendo Switch)
|Platform||Windows, OS X , Linux, PS3 & PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch|
|Developer||DrinkBox Studios, Brokenrul.es (Wii U)|
|Publisher||DrinkBox Studios, Activision (Xbox 360)|
Another criminally underrated gem is the power-punching, rope-ramming, skeleton-slamming fiesta that is Guacamelee.
Really, this is just a game that ticks all the boxes and provides everything a good Metroidvania should provide.
Fluid movement? Yup.
Wonderful visuals? Yup.
A soundtrack that sounds like it was forged by a Mexican god of rhythm and Lucha? Si.
Everything Guacamelee tries to do, it does well. The wrestling type of fighting style not often seen in games like this actually works really well, and genuinely makes you feel like a macho wrestling champion, covered in enough baby oil to drown an actual baby.
Plus, I absolutely adore the art style. It’s like one massive celebration of Mexican culture. The Lucha’s, the folklore, the day of the dead. It all gives the game this wonderful energy that seems to make everything twice as engaging.
Also, goats. There are goats in this.
Not to mention, Guacamelee also got a kickass sequel that nearly completely recaptured the magic of the original, and raised the bar in a few ways too. For my money, the original is still the one to go for though, and I’d pick up the Super Turbo Championship edition if you haven’t already.
Just don’t blame me if you instantly fall in love with X’tabay.
- Our Top 10 of the Best Metroidvania Games - If you like backtracking, exploration and deep combat mechanics, take a look at our list of the best Metroidvania games.
7 Hollow Knight
|Initial Release Date||24 February, 2017 (Windows), June 2018 (Switch), September 2018 (PS4 & Xbox One)|
|Platform||Windows Microsoft, Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch|
Yeah, I know, you saw this coming. Every list of games like Ori and the Blind Forest or Will of the Wisps also lists Hollow Knight. But know what, I saw it coming, that you saw this coming. So in a way, we saw each other coming!
… I probably shouldn’t phrase it like that.
Well anyway, you all know why Hollow Knight is on this list. It’s basically the pinnacle of beautiful, entertaining, and emotional Metroidvanias.
It has a gigantic array of bosses and enemies, each more unique than the last. It tells a very interesting story, using both it’s memorable characters and detailed environments. Its hand-drawn art style fits it’s bleak yet hopeful tone perfectly.
Basically, this shit’s a slam dunk.
It’s a game that you can really tell had a lot of love put into it, and was clearly a passion project for Team Cherry. It’s the kind of experience where just when you think the game has run out of ways to impress you, it pulls something completely unexpected out of its pocket and beats you over the head with it.
Just like my dad used to do with his Looney Toons keychain.
And of course, we have the sequel to look forward to, so if there was ever a time to fall back in love with this game, I’d say it’s now.
6 Rain World
|Initial Release Date||March 28, 2017|
|Platform||Playstation 4, Windows, Switch|
|Publisher||Adult Swim Games|
At first glance, Rain World looks like it could actually be a pixelated port of Ori. I mean, there are only so many games out there where you play as an adorable but weird white thing, exploring a harsh but weirdly hopeful world in a Metroidvania platformer.
Oh, sorry. I think the new Tetris was actually like that too. My bad.
But really, Rain World is more like Ori and The Will of the Wisps if instead of having beautiful and deadly weapons to dispose of any enemies that come your way, you have trash.
That’s not an insult, by the way. You actually use trash.
Probably the biggest difference between the two games is how Rain World handles difficulty. It’s actually just as much a survival game as it is a platformer, and it does a great job of making you feel small and helpless in an imposing and frightening world.
You’re just trying to eat, sleep, and avoid being murdered by creepy crawlies until you find your parents.
It’s like the feeling of being lost in the supermarket as a kid amplified by ten.
But even though the game can be brutal at times, it’s still a compelling and absorbing experience that I personally think is worth a look. Also, the white thing is called Slugcat.
So there’s that, too.
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5 Yoku’s Island Express
|Initial Release Date||May 29, 2018|
|Platform||Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4, Xbox One|
Not all games like Ori and the Blind Forest or Will of the Wisps explore the same themes. With number 5 on our list we go from rubble and rain to blue skies and sunshine in Yoku’s Island Express. I mean, this game is so happy the only raindrops you’ll find here are the ones falling from your eyes when you cry over how cute this shit is!
This is kind of a weird game, but it’s one that I respect immensely for going out of its way to try something new and absolutely nailing it. Seriously, huge shout out to the absolute mad lad who thought to themselves “Hey, you know what would go really well with a Metroidvania game about exploration?”
And butter my boomer, they were 100% right.
Progressing through the game by getting past these unique pinball sections is actually a really fun idea, and they execute it perfectly. It just goes to show that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with building your game around an old idea, and long as you give it a new twist and make it entertaining.
Not to mention, the visuals are absolutely sublime. The whole game has this hand-painted art style that literally looks spectacular everywhere you go. Whether it’s a flowery field, snowy mountain, or even a muddy underground lair, Yoku’s Island Express is always a total delight to look at.
Good job Team 17. I forgive you for Yooka Laylee.
|Initial Release Date||February 18, 2014|
|Platform||Microsoft Windows, Playstation 3 & 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One|
|Developer||Double Helix Games & Capcom Osaka Studio|
Strider 2014 was a reimagining of the absolutely awesome and criminally overlooked 1989 game, Strider. And now, ironically, it’s this one that’s criminally overlooked even though it’s even more awesome.
Maybe we’ll get a new one in a few years that people will love for 15 minutes before forgetting about it again.
But much like Ori, Strider has some of the most fluid and satisfying movement you’ve ever seen in a game. You dash, jump, slice, flip, wall climb, dash again, ceiling climb, slice again, slice again, slice again.
And then you beat the game. Good job.
But even though it’s not the longest game out there, it’s still an incredibly rewarding and satisfying game. Dispatching all the different enemy soldiers and robots as fast as you can with your sword, ninja stars, and badass flowy red cape feels incredible, and it’s fun enough to keep me coming back to this game.
It may not have as much in common with Ori as some of the others on this list, but trust me, if you like Metroidvanias with smooth movement, satisfying combat, and all the ninja husbando you could ever want, this is for you.
3 Steam World Dig 2
|Initial Release Date||September 2017|
|Platform||Nintendo Switch, Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Vita, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox One, Google Stadia|
|Developer||Image & Form|
|Publisher||Image & Form|
This is a game that I feel like quite a few people overlook because they wrongly believe that It’s “Just about digging.” But that’s really not the case at all.
SteamWorld Dig 2 is exploring. It’s adventuring. It’s fighting. It’s platforming. It’s…
Ok yes, a lot of it is digging.
But trust me, that’s not a bad thing. This is a game that has a lot more to offer than just what you see on the surface. You dig past a section of dirt to reveal a secret room that contains a genuinely tough platforming challenge, where you have to avoid arrows, or hook along ceilings, or jetpack over lava.
+100 Points for including a jetpack, by the way. Makes every game better.
It’s the kind of game that likes to surprise you, and personally I really appreciate that. Plus, I know this is kind of a weird thing to praise, but this game has some of the most beautiful lighting effects I’ve ever seen in a game.
The bright burning glow of the lava, the soft fluorescent spores, even just the lasers the robot dudes shoot out. They all look incredibly polished, and really shine through the otherwise dim underground.
Also this game has cowboy robots, so obviously I couldn’t leave it out. Obviously.
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2 Rayman Legends
|Initial Release Date||2013 for PC, 2014 for PS4 & Xbox, 2017 Nintendo Switch|
|Platform||Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Playstation Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows|
Now we’re getting into the games that aren’t really Metroidvanias but still have enough in common with Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and are similar enough in quality, that I feel like they deserve to be on this list.
Speaking of which, Rayman Legends is a goddamn diamond.
This might just be the single most energetic platformer game ever made. The fast swift movement, combined with the perfect momentum, and wonderfully designed levels that are practically begging to be sped run, make this a completely unforgettable experience.
I mean, you barrel through a level to the beat of Barracuda, for crying out loud.
How are you not playing this at this very moment?
It’s just one of those games that you can tell the developers had a lot of fun making. There’s energy and excitement bursting out of every corner of this game, and it’s genuinely one of the most fun platformers ever made.
Not to mention you can unlock basically all of Rayman Origins in this game too, and there’s the Kung Foot mini-game that I put way too many hours into back in the day.
Plus, the gorgeous cartoony art style and incredibly swift animation make this game a total joy to look at, and really exemplifies the polish that was put into this. Thank you for this gem, Ubisoft.
Now for the love of God, stop screwing around with the Rabbids, and MAKE ANOTHER ONE!
|Initial Release Date||January 525, 2018|
|Platform||Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch|
|Developer||Matt Makes Games|
|Publisher||Matt Makes Games|
I had a conversation with my friend about Celeste the other day. It went like this.
Me: I love Celeste
Him: Ugh, that game gets way too much praise and hype. People really need to stop giving it so much attention. There are better games out there.
Me: Have you actually played it?
Anyway, he’s dead now.
But the point is he, like some others out there, was under the impression that Celeste is overrated, but personally I think that’s about as far from the truth as it gets. This game has some of the best level design, smartest platforming challenges, and surprisingly deep stories that I’ve ever seen in a platformer.
And it has more in common with Ori than you might think. Both of their stories take a backseat to gameplay, and yet still manage to be very moving. Both games have incredibly tight and well made platforming mechanics. And both games just generally thrive in everything they set out to do.
Oh, and their soundtracks both give me boners.
Anyway, Celeste is absolutely incredible, and if you haven’t played it yet you definitely should. You’ll love the gameplay, adore the story, and probably absolutely despise the B and C sides, but hey, you’re not alone.
You may have been reunited with your friends, but that doesn’t mean your adventure should end. There are still many games like Ori and the Blind Forest and Will of the Wisps that have beautiful worlds to explore and awesome mechanics. I hope you’ll find these games worthy to fill up the hole in your heart. Let us know if you tried any of these games or what game should have been on the list!
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