Olija is, at its easiest, an motion-platformer with a harpoon that helps you to grapple as much as different areas. In case you played the beautifully dynamic Flinthook – otherwise you’ve got got archaic Zelda‘s Hookshot – then you undoubtedly’ll recognise the mechanic: shoot hook, scramble to hook, repeat. The harpoon can (and can serene) furthermore be archaic as a weapon, alongside a host of secondary weapons that you liberate as the game progresses.
The enemies you are going to be slaying can be found in about a different types: slimy things with gaping jaws that largely exist to be batted out of the formula; human-formed enemies with bows and swords; and bosses, who contain different powers to whittle your health down faster than it is advisable to well perchance well perchance furthermore sigh “name me Ishmael”.
Olija’s predominant persona is Faraday, a one who lost the entirety in a shipwreck and finds himself marooned on this limbo-like island, helped by a mysterious sailor and a weirdo who is bigger than comfy to promote hats to you. Upon discovering a (per chance magical?) harpoon, he appears to evoke a curse that has gods and monsters alike chasing after him. One day, he meets the Girl Olija, and finds himself entranced by her, but she is whisked away by her attendants and guards, and Faraday finds he desires to gaze her again – no subject the cost.
Most of that fable, however, was realized thru the reasonably about a trailers and the game’s internet inform. Olija’s fable is a minute no longer easy to note whereas playing – or no longer it is obscured by poetic dialogue and fleshy cutscenes. Pixel animation is no longer consistently the finest to decipher, in particular at a resolution this low, and even extra so when played on handheld mode.
Olija’s dazzling fashion is every its ideal asset and its largest weakness. Despite the fact that the pixelated graphics bid minute in the formula of ingredient, the color palette and the animation are larger than sufficient to raise thru most of the story and the apprehension with out being too exclaim – which makes it even extra creepy. Then again, the enemies are all identical colours, identical styles, and identical sizes, making it if truth be told no longer easy to distinguish between the categories. In an motion game, there’s on the total a “brute” of some model that you take to must clutch down first, since they deal basically the most ruin, but once they’re all livid orange pixel blobs, or no longer it is a minute extra of a crapshoot.
Moreover, the objects and unlockables are shut to-very unlikely to plot shut, infrequently. One thing could perchance well clearly be a necklace, but one other is handiest clearly a tune field attributable to there’s literally tune popping out of it. It would not hugely subject that it is advisable to well perchance well perchance furthermore’t reasonably parse things, but it does if truth be told feel like you are watching a movie with out your glasses on. The dazzling is undoubtedly a substitute, and a mettlesome one at that, but it would not consistently pay off.
There are about a redundancies in the get, too. The money you get from breaking packing containers and slaying enemies will also be spent on health upgrades and hats, but you will rapid assemble that you’ve got got bought them all no longer that some distance into the fable. The hats it is advisable to well perchance well perchance furthermore bewitch come up with minute upgrades, just like the flexibility to assemble health whereas you hit an enemy, but one of the most most hats’ abilities if truth be told feel a minute too particular to be of powerful use, and there are handiest a handful of them to take grasp of from, anyway. Getting better health is slightly a disaster since or no longer it is restricted completely to discovering healing objects in ranges or, better, a magic pool to drink from. There’s not any agency for the player to come to a resolution when to heal, making some fights extra sophisticated than they want to be.
Peaceable, there’s lots to be impressed with in the formula Olija chooses to repeat its fable. There are cases when it sounds like watching that unnerving sea-madness movie, The Lighthouse, in the formula the dialogue appears to be, the abrupt cuts to black, or the enforced strolling sections that plot tension and drama (even in the occasion that they’re annoyingly late). The total characters seem both a minute bit unhinged, or entirely soulless, resigned to their depressing destiny. The tune is booming, uncommon, and unsettling, with the occasional raspy notify whispering Olija to ship shivers down your spine. Generally, it sounds just like the sense of mood is prioritised over making the fable straightforward to note – but hey, The Lighthouse did the same thing. It comes with the territory.
The platforming, powerful like Flinthook, is splendidly hastily and dynamic, with diverse secrets and tactics to search out whereas you know the plot the world works. Extra mechanics, just like the flexibility to raise an electrical charge contained in the harpoon, will also be fiddly to get appropriate, but there’s on the total no longer powerful of a penalty for having to are attempting again. The strive in opposition to is enjoyable sufficient, with secondary weapons at the side of a rapier, a gun, and a crossbow, all of which alternate up fights in attention-grabbing ways. In a while in the game, it gets if truth be told puzzley, and whereas the puzzles are very gentle in yell, they’re consuming and spirited however.
Most of the ranges terminate in a boss strive in opposition to. There are powers and beings on these islands who attain no longer accept as true with Faraday having the harpoon, for quite diverse reasons, and they’re going to are attempting to assassinate you. The boss get is correctly different, but for the reason that strive in opposition to abilities are so restricted – or no longer it is reasonably a minute game by formula of unlocks – it could per chance perchance well perchance rapid get repetitive and insensible. Faraday is no longer if truth be told built for doing colossal ruin, so the boss battles on the total encompass reasonably about a dodging, and getting a minute hit in the assign it is advisable to well perchance well perchance furthermore. The boss arenas, powerful just like the comfort of the ranges, are extraordinarily broad but no longer very colossal, making it sophisticated to get powerful motion in. Peaceable, the boss battles will also be slightly enjoyable – they appropriate could perchance well perchance furthermore very smartly be extra enjoyable with extra alternate choices.
In some ways, Olija is extraordinarily tight and smartly-designed. Or no longer it is a game with a particular, minute scope, and the restricted collection of weapons, ranges, hats, and enemy types are all a share of that. Or no longer it is miles no longer bloated, and or no longer it is miles no longer over-compensating – it knows what it desires to be, and it achieves it in about a hours of game time. It can perchance well perchance be pointless to desire for extra when its total get desires to be compact. Peaceable, there are moments the assign its get would not reasonably contain the influence it per chance hopes for. Since the harpoon is highly effective, enjoyable, and downright frosty, the hats and the secondary weapons are at possibility of if truth be told feel reasonably like being offered hastily food for dinner must you appropriate had wagyu purple meat for lunch.
Olija is a piratical adventure that genuinely, if truth be told would be aware of atmosphere. From its bombastic tune, which echoes equally pirate-themed Return of the Obra Dinn, to its arthouse-cinema-fashion surprising cuts to black, Olija is per chance basically the most cinematically dramatic indie game we now contain viewed in reasonably some time.